The Hearty Homestead


Raising Baby Chicks Bought from the Chicken Feed Store

The grass has finally turned green here in the Midwest. You can almost put those coveralls away until next winter.  We really can’t be sure about that until mid May around here! Another sure sign of spring is walking into your local Tractor Supply Company and hearing that faint chirping of those adorable baby chicks. I know you have been tempted to take a few of those sweet chicks home. So when it comes to raising baby chicks, what do you need and how does this all work?

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Winter Chicken Coop Preparation

Winterizing Fort Chicken

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Do I Need to Wash My Eggs?

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Raising Ducks

There are few things cuter in this world than baby ducklings. Over the years I’ve raised many breeds of ducks and as a whole they are a pleasure to have on the homestead.

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Fresh Recipes for Late Summer Bounty

Peak Eating; Late summer is a time of unparalleled garden bounty. Eat it up, and don’t forget to share the scraps with your hard-working flock!

Photo Credit: Tristan Pierce

From Florida all the way on up to the Yukon, gardens are delivering on promises made back in early spring: sun-warmed tomatoes, sweet corn, juicy watermelons, leafy greens, and so much more.

There’s a rule of thumb for great food and wine pairing: If it grows together, it goes together. But you could also say: Same harvest time? Tastes fine! Think: tomatoes and basil; watermelon and mint; corn and…well, corn and just about anything! But generally speaking, if it’s ready to come out of the garden at the same time, it’ll probably taste pretty good together at the table.

Here are a few of my go-to, fresh-from-the-garden recipes that I’ll be enjoying again and again and again until we’re into apple and pumpkin time. Speaking of, roasted apples and pumpkin – mmmm mm!  These are the sort of dishes to savour outside, and since the hens will most likely be giving you serious stink-eye from the run, remember to share!

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Pros, Cons and Facts About Raising Turkeys

If your homesteading situation is set up to where you have the ability to raise turkeys, I highly encourage that you do! Turkeys are amazing creatures, and though we began our Black Spanish turkey flock with the intention of filling our freezer each fall, I found that turkeys have wonderful personalities and make amazing pets as well.

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The Importance of Electrolytes for Calves

Learn all about electrolyte supplements and why and when you should give them to your calves.  

Raising calves is an enjoyable experience. But, it also requires attention to detail. Feeding an electrolyte supplement to stay ahead of health challenges should be a standard practice for bottle-fed calves.

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White Chocolate Strawberry Trifle - Recipe

Photo credit: Tristan Peirce

Spring Fling  It’s time again for that short-lived but passionate love affair with local strawberries.

Of spring’s fleeting culinary pleasures – asparagus, fiddleheads, morels, rhubarb – strawberries are perhaps the most ephemeral of them all. If, like me, you only eat local fresh strawberries when in season, then you know just how short and sweet the season is. And it’s not just the season that flies by, once picked we’ve got about 16 ½ minutes to get them home and into our mouths before they begin to liquefy. Best to eat as you pick, with a can of whipped cream in a holster, perhaps?

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The Values of Older Chickens

When chickens become older hard choices will need to be made as to their futures. Chickens begin to slow down egg production between 2-3 years of age. For some it’s an easy choice to cull older less productive birds. Either prepping them for the stew pot or turning them into homemade stalk. Others, elect to re-home them to other chicken enthusiasts. While both are valid options, my desired choice is to allow older chickens to simply retire here, on our farm and choose their new part-time jobs. 

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Raising Fiber Goats 101

Raising Fiber Goats 

If you own a cashmere sweater, you can thank a goat. When most people think of fiber animals the sheep is probably the first that comes to mind. And it’s true that with more than 1000 distinct sheep breeds worldwide, it’s easy to see how sheep dominate the world of fiber.

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