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May possibly buy a mini farm next year and would love some advice.

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This isn't exactly an hs question, but I know quite a few of you ladies have farms, and those do have direct hs benefits.  :)

We're currently wrapping up the last of the updates to our home.  We've been talking for years about moving where we would have five or more acres, and it seems like a much better & easier option now that both of our daughters are homeschooled.  It would be so nice to have a huge garden, our own animals, and participate in 4H.

Sorry this is so broad a question, but what should we think of?  We'd love to have two or more wool-bearing animals (we've been 'spinning' our own yarn with a drop spindle).  Initially we were thinking of sheep but llamas are incredibly soft and seem brighter too. 

Can chickens be kept in a coop with a big fenced yard area?  My SIL's are loose, but I'd like to keep the areas by the trampoline & play set clean.  Do you have to have a rooster?

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!

by on Oct. 28, 2013 at 8:38 PM
Replies (31-40):
TidewaterClan
by Kate on Oct. 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM
That's inspiring! I'll definitely do research & am hoping to find some local groups to physically talk to; it's great conversing with everyone here though. :)

We've made our own soy candles for years, lol. They make fantastic inexpensive presents for family. We've done the glycerin soaps but haven't done the old-fashioned kind. It's wonderful thinking of all the freedoms & possibilities some acreage would give us. :)


Quoting LuvmyAiden:

There are SO many resources out there to help you. Google organic gardeing, chicken raising, goat milking, whatever and you will find blogs that offer some great advice. Making your own candles and soap is super easy. I actually am in the beginning stages of my own little 14 acre farm and I am IN LOVE with all the possibilities and resources. Self sustainability is my end goal. Feeding myself and paying the bills with a you pick garden/farmers market. The lessons my kids are already learning is immeasurable!

kirbymom
by Sonja on Oct. 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM
1 mom liked this
Thanks.
We found, for us at least, that the cochins were the friendliest to handle. Turkens were not too bad either. They were a bit weird looking, lol, but were okay to handle for the kids' sake. Blue is right about the rooster issue. We found that the only way to cure that was by trimming the beaks back a little bit and by trimming down their shanks. Just like you would a cat or dog. Roosters can no longer be Demanding if you do these things. You can have one rooster who is in charge. Not more than that.


Quoting TidewaterClan:

That's automatically high up so the coyotes won't be into it (immediately anyhow!).  

I hope you guys have a coop again sometime.  It sounds like everyone really loved it.

So what kind of chicken was the friendliest & easiest for the kids to hold, etc?

Quoting kirbymom:Yeah, the coop was a great idea. We had it sitting on 6 barrels that were half buried in sand as we lived in the desert and we used the little bathroom as a sort of incubator for when the chicks hatched. The chickens could be inside out of the rain or be outside in the sun, whichever they wanted. We had Bard Rocks, Rhode Island Reds just to name a couple. It was so interesting learning all about raising chickens. I would love to raise chickens again. Ahhh - I am so envious at the moment. lol


bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Oct. 30, 2013 at 2:01 PM
1 mom liked this

 They are a lot like deer in rut!  Yes, we do butcher our own.  DH made some kill cones that make it easier, IMO.  You're right fowl are different, but if you can do rabbits, you can do chickens.  IMO the hardest part of butchering is getting over the fact that it was alive and now it's not.  Once you've got that, the rest is easy.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

We were already trying to figure out how to sneak that llama home the other day but he was just too tall!

Roosters sound like deer during rut! Do you butcher your own? I've gone rabbit hunting & cleaned those. Fowl are different I know.


Quoting bluerooffarm:

 Be warned when you meet the incredibly adorable animals you will want totake them home with you!  :-)


If you have a group of roosters, they will be violent.  If you just have one, he can be sweet.  They just seem to have to fight with each other.  Makes it much easier to kill them!


Quoting TidewaterClan:


That is a fantastic plan of action.  He'll get a great sense of business, and be able to take pride in his work too.  I'll bet he is extremely excited!  That's a great responsibility.  Good idea on the budget sheet; we'll set up one plus have some fun (hopefully in person) meeting people & animals over the winter too.


Oh!  I think my girls might just be ok with homegrown chicken dinner if we do have any roosters that are like yours! 


 


Quoting bluerooffarm:


 Awe!  Yeah we bought the farm when my oldest was maybe 9-10 months old, so it's all they've known.  I think the research project is a great idea!  When my oldest decided that he want to "do" the chickens and the eggs next year, we had him do a budget sheet with extra feed costs, cost of the peeps, electricity for the brooder.  Then come up with a fair price for the eggs.  I get first crack at them because I'll be his investor.  And then he'll slowly buy me out of the business.  He's very excited!  But it had the added benefit of showing him that butchering the males will make him more money.  Of course it helps that male chickens are very violent.  And he'll show them at the fair too!  :-)


 

 

TidewaterClan
by Kate on Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM
Thanks for that info! One of my SILs roosters was extremely aggressive. I don't want my girls attacked & hurt by one.

Those turkens look unique! The chicken breeds website gives them great reviews for being calm & tamed easily. That's the temperament I'd like us to start with if possible.


Quoting kirbymom:

Thanks.

We found, for us at least, that the cochins were the friendliest to handle. Turkens were not too bad either. They were a bit weird looking, lol, but were okay to handle for the kids' sake. Blue is right about the rooster issue. We found that the only way to cure that was by trimming the beaks back a little bit and by trimming down their shanks. Just like you would a cat or dog. Roosters can no longer be Demanding if you do these things. You can have one rooster who is in charge. Not more than that.





Quoting TidewaterClan:

That's automatically high up so the coyotes won't be into it (immediately anyhow!).  

I hope you guys have a coop again sometime.  It sounds like everyone really loved it.

So what kind of chicken was the friendliest & easiest for the kids to hold, etc?

Quoting kirbymom:Yeah, the coop was a great idea. We had it sitting on 6 barrels that were half buried in sand as we lived in the desert and we used the little bathroom as a sort of incubator for when the chicks hatched. The chickens could be inside out of the rain or be outside in the sun, whichever they wanted. We had Bard Rocks, Rhode Island Reds just to name a couple. It was so interesting learning all about raising chickens. I would love to raise chickens again. Ahhh - I am so envious at the moment. lol



TidewaterClan
by Kate on Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:59 PM
Probably also why it's good not to name the roosters Snuggles or Mr. Giggles! With the rabbits I try not to think about it & just focus on the task. I know a family who pays a butcher about $10 to do their chickens, but at that point krogers grocery is cheaper!

Quoting bluerooffarm:

 They are a lot like deer in rut!  Yes, we do butcher our own.  DH made some kill cones that make it easier, IMO.  You're right fowl are different, but if you can do rabbits, you can do chickens.  IMO the hardest part of butchering is getting over the fact that it was alive and now it's not.  Once you've got that, the rest is easy.


Quoting TidewaterClan:

We were already trying to figure out how to sneak that llama home the other day but he was just too tall!

Roosters sound like deer during rut! Do you butcher your own? I've gone rabbit hunting & cleaned those. Fowl are different I know.



Quoting bluerooffarm:


 Be warned when you meet the incredibly adorable animals you will want totake them home with you!  :-)



If you have a group of roosters, they will be violent.  If you just have one, he can be sweet.  They just seem to have to fight with each other.  Makes it much easier to kill them!



Quoting TidewaterClan:



That is a fantastic plan of action.  He'll get a great sense of business, and be able to take pride in his work too.  I'll bet he is extremely excited!  That's a great responsibility.  Good idea on the budget sheet; we'll set up one plus have some fun (hopefully in person) meeting people & animals over the winter too.



Oh!  I think my girls might just be ok with homegrown chicken dinner if we do have any roosters that are like yours! 



 



Quoting bluerooffarm:



 Awe!  Yeah we bought the farm when my oldest was maybe 9-10 months old, so it's all they've known.  I think the research project is a great idea!  When my oldest decided that he want to "do" the chickens and the eggs next year, we had him do a budget sheet with extra feed costs, cost of the peeps, electricity for the brooder.  Then come up with a fair price for the eggs.  I get first crack at them because I'll be his investor.  And then he'll slowly buy me out of the business.  He's very excited!  But it had the added benefit of showing him that butchering the males will make him more money.  Of course it helps that male chickens are very violent.  And he'll show them at the fair too!  :-)



 


 

kirbymom
by Sonja on Oct. 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM
1 mom liked this
Your welcome. :)
Yeah, when you trim back their beaks and their shanks, it seems to make them more calm. Kind of like neutering a dog or cat.
After doing that, we also crooed to them whenever we would feed them. The chickens seemed to like it and would respond quicker and even come when we called to check them out. It sure was a little easier to catch the ones we were raising for meat at the table. Have you ever seen a chucken plucked? Oh my but that sure is an experience! lol

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Thanks for that info! One of my SILs roosters was extremely aggressive. I don't want my girls attacked & hurt by one.

Those turkens look unique! The chicken breeds website gives them great reviews for being calm & tamed easily. That's the temperament I'd like us to start with if possible.


Quoting kirbymom:Thanks.
We found, for us at least, that the cochins were the friendliest to handle. Turkens were not too bad either. They were a bit weird looking, lol, but were okay to handle for the kids' sake. Blue is right about the rooster issue. We found that the only way to cure that was by trimming the beaks back a little bit and by trimming down their shanks. Just like you would a cat or dog. Roosters can no longer be Demanding if you do these things. You can have one rooster who is in charge. Not more than that.


Quoting TidewaterClan:

That's automatically high up so the coyotes won't be into it (immediately anyhow!).  

I hope you guys have a coop again sometime.  It sounds like everyone really loved it.

So what kind of chicken was the friendliest & easiest for the kids to hold, etc?

Quoting kirbymom:Yeah, the coop was a great idea. We had it sitting on 6 barrels that were half buried in sand as we lived in the desert and we used the little bathroom as a sort of incubator for when the chicks hatched. The chickens could be inside out of the rain or be outside in the sun, whichever they wanted. We had Bard Rocks, Rhode Island Reds just to name a couple. It was so interesting learning all about raising chickens. I would love to raise chickens again. Ahhh - I am so envious at the moment. lol




bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Oct. 30, 2013 at 6:41 PM
1 mom liked this

 :-) Exactly!  LOL

As for the chickens, we had done grouse and wild turkey before.  If you make the cut right and stick your hand up into the cavity far enough to reach the top Y of the lungs, you can pull nearly everything out at once.  We did not do well the first few times, but by now I've gotten pretty good at it.  Then you can either skin them (they dry out when you cook them a bit) or you can douse them for about 30 seconds into a BIG pot of boiling water and rip all the feathers out.  It can get pretty...um....macabre. But if you get the whole family involved it can go well.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

Probably also why it's good not to name the roosters Snuggles or Mr. Giggles! With the rabbits I try not to think about it & just focus on the task. I know a family who pays a butcher about $10 to do their chickens, but at that point krogers grocery is cheaper!

Quoting bluerooffarm:

 They are a lot like deer in rut!  Yes, we do butcher our own.  DH made some kill cones that make it easier, IMO.  You're right fowl are different, but if you can do rabbits, you can do chickens.  IMO the hardest part of butchering is getting over the fact that it was alive and now it's not.  Once you've got that, the rest is easy.


Quoting TidewaterClan:

We were already trying to figure out how to sneak that llama home the other day but he was just too tall!

Roosters sound like deer during rut! Do you butcher your own? I've gone rabbit hunting & cleaned those. Fowl are different I know.



Quoting bluerooffarm:


 Be warned when you meet the incredibly adorable animals you will want totake them home with you!  :-)



If you have a group of roosters, they will be violent.  If you just have one, he can be sweet.  They just seem to have to fight with each other.  Makes it much easier to kill them!



Quoting TidewaterClan:



That is a fantastic plan of action.  He'll get a great sense of business, and be able to take pride in his work too.  I'll bet he is extremely excited!  That's a great responsibility.  Good idea on the budget sheet; we'll set up one plus have some fun (hopefully in person) meeting people & animals over the winter too.



Oh!  I think my girls might just be ok with homegrown chicken dinner if we do have any roosters that are like yours! 



 



Quoting bluerooffarm:



 Awe!  Yeah we bought the farm when my oldest was maybe 9-10 months old, so it's all they've known.  I think the research project is a great idea!  When my oldest decided that he want to "do" the chickens and the eggs next year, we had him do a budget sheet with extra feed costs, cost of the peeps, electricity for the brooder.  Then come up with a fair price for the eggs.  I get first crack at them because I'll be his investor.  And then he'll slowly buy me out of the business.  He's very excited!  But it had the added benefit of showing him that butchering the males will make him more money.  Of course it helps that male chickens are very violent.  And he'll show them at the fair too!  :-)



 


 

 

TidewaterClan
by Kate on Oct. 30, 2013 at 8:23 PM
1 mom liked this

That sounds sweet calling them to you.

I've never had the pleasure of watching a live plucking.  : |  Sure looking forward to that part.  Cleaning the rabbits isn't too bad since the (keeping this non-gruesome I hope!) outer layer is one-stop shopping so to speak.

Quoting kirbymom:

Your welcome. :)
Yeah, when you trim back their beaks and their shanks, it seems to make them more calm. Kind of like neutering a dog or cat.
After doing that, we also crooed to them whenever we would feed them. The chickens seemed to like it and would respond quicker and even come when we called to check them out. It sure was a little easier to catch the ones we were raising for meat at the table. Have you ever seen a chucken plucked? Oh my but that sure is an experience! lol
TidewaterClan
by Kate on Oct. 30, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Thanks - that's something to look forward to!   How long does it take (roughly) to do the plucking?

Quoting bluerooffarm:

 :-) Exactly!  LOL

As for the chickens, we had done grouse and wild turkey before.  If you make the cut right and stick your hand up into the cavity far enough to reach the top Y of the lungs, you can pull nearly everything out at once.  We did not do well the first few times, but by now I've gotten pretty good at it.  Then you can either skin them (they dry out when you cook them a bit) or you can douse them for about 30 seconds into a BIG pot of boiling water and rip all the feathers out.  It can get pretty...um....macabre. But if you get the whole family involved it can go well.

Boobah
by Nikki :) on Oct. 30, 2013 at 8:54 PM
1 mom liked this
When I went to an alpaca farm earlier this month, she said that the llamas aren't really fiber animals because their fur is much more coarse than sheep or alpacas. They do use a llama as protection for their alpacas though. Like a guard dog, kind of.
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