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You've decided its time to add some chickens to your homestead but where to start there are so many choices?

homestead chickens
homestead chickens

Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to narrow down the list.

There's a couple of things to consider when picking the ideal chickens for your homestead or backyard.

  1. The size of your family. For me, there's 7.
  2. How many eggs you use. We use eggs but it varies greatly. Some months we can use several dozen others we never crack an egg.
  3. The color of eggs and using the birds for meat. We prefer brown eggs and plan to use any extras for meat.

Now that we have those answered let's take a look at some of the chicken breeds.  Mind you there are tons of breeds this is just the ones that are more common and readily available.

Rhode Island Reds- lay roughly 200-280 brown eggs per year. They are considered a dual purpose breed but on the lighter side.

Wyandottes- lay roughly 180-260 brown eggs per year. Dual purpose birds.

Orpingtons- lay roughly 200-280 brown eggs per year. Dual purpose birds.

Speckled Sussex- lay roughly 180-240 brown eggs per year. Dual purpose birds. On the heavier side.

Polish- lay roughly 150 white eggs per year.

Leghorns- lay roughly 300 white eggs per year. Very flighty birds.

Easter Eggers - lay roughly 200-280 colored eggs per year. Kids love the variety of colors.

polish chicken
polish chicken

For my family, I think we are gonna go with the Speckled Sussex.  They are moderate layers and have decent grown weights. Plus they'll add a splash of color to our homestead. Our favorite hatchery is Hoover's Hatchery out of Iowa, I plan on ordering our new chickens this spring.

What breed have you decided on? Maybe its one I didn't mention I'd love to read your comments.

 

 

Chickens

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gardening season
end of season

 

With winter fast approaching and the days getting shorter its time to tidy up after a busy summer of gardening.

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5 Things to do at the end of garden seasonClick To Tweet

These five things will have you all ready for next year if you spend a little time cleaning up this fall.

  1. Remove all plants from the garden.  I like to give the leftover plants to the pigs or chickens so that I'm not wasting anything. Plus they love the treat.
  2. Rake up the leaves and add to your compost pile or start one.  My compost pile didn't do so well last year but it's a great way to add organic matter to your garden.  I'll be working on improving my compost this fall.
  3. Put away garden tools. This is a perfect time to also inspect the handles and replace them. Along with checking for broken water hoses and sprinklers. No need to store something that needs replacing.
  4. Amend soil. Till up the soil and add any amendments to improve your soil quality for next season. I try to stick with all natural fertilizer like fish based.
  5. Check and store canning equipment. I like to give my canners a good scrubbing and oil the seals before I store them.
Compost pile
Compost pile

What's left on your list to do before winter sets in?  Let me know in the comments I'd love to hear.

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Getting more bang from your harvest
Apple uses on the homestead
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Here in the hills of Missouri apple harvest is in full swing.   I headed out to our local orchard and ended up coming home with THREE bushels of gorgeous Johnna golds. These were the best apples I’ve ever eaten. One might wonder what in the world I would do with all those apples.

Between five kids and Hubs, they can go quickly around here but I was lucky enough to get some canned up for winter.

With my trusty apple peeler, I set to work up these apples. This peeler is a lifesaver for me it not only peels it cores and slices the apples!

Apple peeler
Lifesaver

Did I mention this bad boy can peel potatoes too!

I don't like to waste anything and getting more return from my investment makes me happy. With this round of apples, I was able to make applesauce, apple butter, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar.

Applesauce and butter take the same first steps peel and core the apples but save those peels and cores cause we don't waste a thing.  They go into a crockpot or big stock pot with a tad of water set to low cover and stirring occasionally.

While you're waiting on the apples to cook take the peels and cores and place them in a mason jar. Have I mentioned my jar addiction? Its bad but I love them. Cover the waste with water preferably well or spring water. The chemicals in some city water hinder the fermenting process. You can add a quarter cup of sugar to jump-start the fermenting but I normally just let the apples do their thing. Now, this is important cover the jars with a coffee filter and secure in place with a ring. This keeps those pesky fruit flies outta the stuff but they will be drawn to where it's stored. Stick the jars someplace dark and warm, I put mine in the back of a low cabinet we only use for overflow. Let them sit for two weeks at least then strain out all the peels and cores place in a clean mason jar seal with a regular lid there you have apple cider vinegar! I must stress you can not can with this vinegar as the acidity isn't guaranteed.

I must stress you can not can with this vinegar as the acidity isn't guaranteed.

homemade apple cider vinegar

Now back to the apples we were cooking once fork tender they are ready for sauce and butter. I use the recipes found in Balls canning books or on their website. All that glorious juice left over in the bottom of the pot gets canned or frozen for juice or maybe even some adult drinks!

There you have it one bunch of apples made Three products to stock your homestead pantry!