Mount Sunapee Homestead

Laying ladies, roosters or meat birds, we love our poultry! Share and share alike on this clucky blog!

The Spring Homestead Checklist

Spring Homestead Checklist

The Spring Homestead Checklist Some folks may wonder exactly what we homesteaders are doing when the snow is still on the ground to the time the summer sun shines bright overhead.  Well, take a peak at our seasonal chores below.  Of course, fellow homesteaders may have more or less tasks depending on their holdings.   For those looking to start homesteading, check out the Homesteading 101 post for more chores by seasons! Livestock Order any piglets or poults from farmers or feed stores by late winter/early spring. Prepare brooders check heat lamps from last year review poult care check cage wires to keep mice out if brooder will be in garage or barn Pick up chicks/poults, lambs, piglets, etc Assist with livestock birthing (if not ordering) Check any pasture fences to prevent escapes Install electric fences and train livestock to fence Garden Ensure seeds are ordered by late winter/early spring Start seeds indoors according to packaging Purchase any started plants in late spring to transfer to garden Till the garden when ground thaws  Plant cold-loving varieties (e.g. spinach, chards) Begin to harden off seedlings Prune any fruit trees before budding occurs Bees Prepare hives to install any new bee colonies…
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Back in business…eggcellent.

It’s been a long,  lazy winter for our hens.   Really.   They’ve been lazy.   Like 2 eggs a day from 30 birds lazy.  However,  with the longer days and warmer weather, we’re seeing a little return on that feed investment.  So,  if you need eggs,  we may actually have some for sale now!  Yum!  To check availability,  Facebook us or email!

Chickens in the Winter (What’s Normal for Egg Layers?)

Chickens in the Winter

Chickens in Winter (What’s Normal for Egg Layers?)   You water them.  You feed them.  You lovingly adorn their nest boxes with fresh bedding.   They are happy chickens. Then why, oh why, do the 30 little darlings only manage to lay 2 eggs!? In a word: biology.  It may surprise chicken lovers and homesteaders alike that, after the first year, chickens take a break.  I think of it more as a strike.   In any case, it’s good for a chicken keeper to understand what’s normal for laying hens during the winter months. Chicken Age The first year and a half with chickens is great.  You raise up the little cuties to full-fledged egg laying hen status in the first 5 or 6 months after they hatch.  Then, you get a whole year of wonderful egg production!   Most folks tend to acquire their chicks in the spring.  That means their chickens starting laying in the fall.  This is the height of their production and it lasts straight through winter! For the first year.   By the next fall (when the chickens are a year and a half old), they go on strike.  They cease to lay.  They get lazy.  There’s…
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Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead

Homesteading 101

  Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead So you want to start a homestead?  CONGRATULATIONS!  Homesteading can be a very rewarding lifestyle (or even hobby) for anyone looking to feel a little more independent.  Not sure if homesteading is for you?  Keep reading, because, my friends, homesteading can be so many things.  It’s all up to you to decide what your homestead will look like – that’s part of the fun! What is homesteading? Homesteading is a very broad term applied to anyone with a DIY, self-sustaining attitude.  Although homesteaders can range from full-scale self-subsistence live-off-the-land type farming all the way to people who want to make their own soap, most of us fall somewhere in between!  Homesteading can include any or all of the below activities (and many more that I’m forgetting): gardening canning the harvest soap making raising chickens for eggs raising livestock for meat beekeeping boiling sap for maple syrup home cooking with homemade ingredients (such as vanilla extract or yogurt) Simply put: homesteading is making as much as you can yourself with ingredients you source/make yourself. Why Homestead? Take a look on the internet and you’ll find hundreds of blogs related to homesteading (my…
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How to Keep Chickens in the Winter Without Electricity – The Insulated Waterer

How to Keep Chickens in the Winter Without Electricity – The Insulated Waterer

The Problem with Keeping Chickens in Winter Here at the Homestead, we are working to upgrade our circa 1800’s barn.  Although we will have electricity for this year (happy dance!), I thought it worth reposting how we kept our chickens in the winter and prevented it from freezing without electricity.  At the time, given our freezing and sub-zero winters here in New Hampshire, our only option would have been slogging (buckets in tow) up to The Barn twice daily to chip ice out and replenish (we work off-site during the week). Not fun. Luckily, necessity is the mother of invention. Building an insulated chicken waterer/drinker Building on the year before’s DIY insulated waterer model, which lasted through only the work day, we purchased a larger waterer (6+ gallons), insulated, insulated and insulated some more. We can happily say this sucker keeps water warm for over 24 hours in 0 degree weather! One less trip to the barn a day! So, how can you do it? It’ll take a couple hours and some supplies, but for those of us without electricity, liquid water in winter is nothing short of a miracle! Here’s what you’ll need: • Duct tape • 4’ x…
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Chickens and Pinless Peepers – Too Peep or Not to Peep?

Pinless Peepers and Chickens

Our journey to Pinless Peepers.   We love our eggs.  And, we love our chickens that lay them.  But, they don’t always love each other. Those who raise chickens know that as much joy, fun and function they can provide, they can also dish out equal parts of frustration, fury and challenge. Chicken behavior – not always nice.   Chickens are, by nature, prone to pecking.  It ain’t called a pecking order for nothing.  Pecking can lead to feather loss, blood loss, general discontent and, sometimes, death.  Besides having really scrappy looking birds, you wind up with a behavior that spreads.  Not good for egg production, let alone maintaining a healthy flock.   Chicken Pecking – the Why.