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Abnormal Eggs

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Do you find funny looking eggs in your chicken coop or duck house  from time to time? Most research I have read says that  an occasional odd egg is nothing to worry about.

Some issues related to strange eggs. 

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Not enough Calcium-

This is easily remedied by adding crushed egg shells,  or a commercial calcium supplement to the Hen’s diet. Many people use a crushed oyster shell supplement which is sold in bags at  most feed stores.

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The wavy egg shells on these eggs was remedied by adding calcium to the chicken coop, free choice and apple cider vinegar to the water.

Stress –

  Do your Hens  have a stress free environment to lay their eggs? Giving your hens a box that is enclosed on at least three sides makes them more at ease. Some people have added curtains to the front of the next box for added privacy . My duck hens also like a dark spot but they prefer a secluded corner.

Age of the Hen- 

an occasional odd egg at the beginning of  the hens laying can be expected. And on the flip side of this, an older hen may also lay a strange looking egg.

Unless you have a hen laying a strange looking egg every day, odd eggs are not a big concern. Using a properly formulated laying ration,  plenty of clean water, and a calcium source fed free choice ( to chickens ), goes a long way to giving your hens a long productive egg laying life. (note-  I don’t feed my ducks a free choice calcium supplement because they rarely have an issue with the duck eggs  and I use a good balanced duck ration.)

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 Coloring- 

Egg coloring is applied last as the egg travels down the oviduct. I was surprised one day to find this dark green egg in the duck house. It turned out to be the only time but it sure was a beautiful dark olive green.

 

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So You Want To Be A Homesteader… Part 1 in a Series

 

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You’ve thought about it for awhile. It’s an awesome idea. Quitting the daily grind of a job working for someone else and learning to live off of the land. Enjoying a life consisting of cooking from scratch, raising your own food, making do and reusing what you have along with picture perfect livestock in the yard. Adventure awaits at the start of each new day.

But wait! Where do you start ? How does someone go from a life of convenience food and modern amenities to a do it yourself lifestyle? While I am certain I don’t have the answers to everything that a new homesteader can encounter,  I do have some thoughts to share from this side of the fence.

Have you sought out advice from others who have chosen to homestead? Having a neighbor or friend or relative that you feel is being successful is a great place to start. But, what if you come from a long line of urban dwellers?

Lucky for you, there is much information available in the form of hard copy books, blogs, internet publications and magazines and You Tube videos on almost every topic you can think of. My experience is that homesteaders are more than happy to help share what has worked for them.

My advice is to begin building an in home library shelf of books on homesteading life. Reach out to people you see as successful in this area either in person or on line and ask questions. Don’t worry about asking a dumb question. Those are just the questions that don’t get asked! Go to your local feed and garden store and see wthey had have to offer. Many offer classes, demonstrations and seminars for little or no money.

In the next few weeks, I will be writing more on this topic and getting into more detail on each specific step in the process. Feel free to tell me in the comments below, anything specific you would like me to cover in this series. 

 




Simple Saturdays December 21, 2013

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 Welcome!

What is Simple Saturdays Blog Hop?

Simply put, it?s a link-up for each of us to share the various ways that we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Every Saturday this Blog Hop will be brought to you by a group of wonderful gals & guys committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.

Come join us, submit YOUR Simply Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around and visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How’To’s! Remember to “LIKE” your favorites!

This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

Homestead Bloggers Network

Heather @ The Homesteading Hippy

Heather @ Green Eggs and Goats

Krystyna @ Spring Mountain Living

Ariana @ Truth Peace Love

Andrea @ It Takes Time

Lesa @ Better Hens and Gardens

Teri @ Homestead Honey

Blake @ Daddykirbs

Meredith @ Imagineacres

Janet @ Timber Creek Farmer

Kat @ Simply Living Simply

Kay @ Green Organic Mamas

 

How Can I Be a Guest Co-host?

Guest Co-hosts are selected by your peers. When people go to submit a post or check out the Blog Hop they have the option to “LIKE” the entries. The post with the most “LIKES” is next weeks Guest Co-host!

If your selected as a Guest Co-Host, don’t forget to grab your button and tell the world! (just copy/save)

simple saturdays guest

 

Congratulations to the Guest Co-Host of the week:

Taylor Made Ranch

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Hope For the Best, Prepare For The Worst

Your post had the most votes for the week!

What Can I Post?

Anything and everything related to a more Simple way of life OR Self Reliance….

This may include topics such as:

Homesteading, Prepping, Gardening, Cooking/recipes/food, Livestock of all varieties, Off-grid, Natural Living, Wellness/wholeness and Healthcare, Herbal, DIY & MYO!

*Make sure and include either a text link or the blog hop button below (copy/save) back to the Blog Hop. You could also include the following button in your sidebar of your site if you like:

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop
 

 (Copy/Paste and insert in your sidebar)

 

How Can I Be a Featured Blogger?

By linking up! Our featured blogger is chosen each week at random by our Co-hosts…and we hope to have YOU as our next featured blogger!

If you are selected as “Featured”, make sure and grab your button (just copy/paste):

simple saturdays featured button

Please note: By linking to this Blog Hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include 1 photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way.

 

Congratulations to our Featured Blogger:

The Free Range Life

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Best Dairy Goat Breed for the Small Farm

The Homesteading Hippy likes this post because “I live in a small area, and this helped us decided on goat breeds to try again.” And it could help you too…make sure and check it out!

 

Let the blogging begin…

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Winter Animal Care Prepartions

 

 


I am taking part in a posting series related to the topic of “Homesteading in the Winter.”

Each Thursday there will be a new post on a different issue associated with the needs and unique challenges of living on a homestead (big or small, urban or rural) during the winter. I am a teaming up with several other bloggers to bring you this series.

Today’s topic is “Cold Weather Animal Care.” The participating blogs for this week include:

The Homesteading Hippy

Timber Creek Farm

House Barn Farm

Whistle Pig Hollow

The Not-So-Modern Housewife

Fresh Eggs Daily

Homegrown on the Hill

Schneider Peeps

Blue Yurt Farms

Five Little Homesteaders

 

 The Browning Homestead

After reading my post, please take a few minutes to visit these other blogs and learn other tips and methods for taking care of animals during the winter season.

 

In our area winter preparations include preparing for any and all eventualities. Mid Atlantic weather is unpredictable at best. We have had early snow storms, mid winter flooding from  rain, and fluctuating temperatures. Setting up our animal housing for varying conditions  helps us be ready for winter. 

Since we raise and care for a wide variety of animals on our farm, we spend a large part of each day taking care of the animals needs. The needs don’t necessarily change that much from one season to another, but how we go about providing those needs can change. The need for clean water, fresh feed, forage, and shelter remain the same. But during a freak heavy snow storm, how we go about tending to these needs will change.

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In the chicken pen and coop, we start by cleaning out the coop. Performing a deep cleaning  before cold weather helps us begin a deep litter formation before the cold weather hits. Keeping the coop floor free of dampness and wet spots lets the manure and litter work together to keep the coop smelling fresh. After this is accomplished, we will add dry straw and litter as needed but usually will not perform another deep, complete clean out until early spring. For more on coop cleaning and deep litter method see  my post on Keeping Your Chicken Coop Smelling Fresh.

We check water founts, feed bowls and gates and doors. I recommend using the rubber feed bowls for water during the winter. If the water in the bowl freezes overnight, a simple twist or turning the bowl over and stepping on it will release the ice cube so you can refill the bowl. Having fresh water available at all times is important in the winter just as in the summer. If you have electric available, there are water heaters that can be used with metal water founts. Also, plastic water founts are available with a built in water heater. 

Check the perimeter of the coop building for areas where rodents may have chewed their way into the coop. Repair these spots promptly, preferably with cement and wire. You don’t want to be providing food and warm housing for a large family of rodents all winter.

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During our latest coop cleaning, we completely emptied the coop and checked the floor for openings. We found a few that mice had been using to enter the coop, so cement was used to patch the perimeter of the floor.

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Goats normally do not like wet ground or wet weather. Make sure that their shelter is in good repair for the winter months so they have a good shelter ready. Have extra empty  buckets ready for mornings when the water is frozen solid and you need to refill a fresh bucket. Again, the rubber buckets are easier to remove ice from, than a plastic bucket. We have to occasionally haul water from the house in the winter because the water at the barn freezes up. We gather up some one gallon jugs to use on these mornings and keep them  available. Some mornings I carry as much as 12 gallons of water to the goats and chickens in the morning or evening. 

 

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The cows and pigs have run-in type sheds for shelter. Our preparation for them involves repairing any roof issues or broken boards and making sure the straw bedding is dry. We use submersible water tank heaters for the cows and pigs so making sure the electricity is hooked up properly is part of our winter prep. 

 

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before cleanup, discarded hay and tools piled up by the coop. Other debris around the area such as tarps, old buckets and cages were providing hiding space to rodents.

Another note about rodents. Cleaning up any clutter from the warm weather months will help keep rodents from setting up home on your farm or back yard. Miscellaneous clutter of cages, tarps, fence boards etc, gives rodents a place to hide from predators and winter weather. Neatly and properly store excess farm stuff away from your animal buildings. 

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 A little time spent during the pleasant fall weather can help you breeze through winter weather this year.

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After clean up around the coop

 

 

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Micah’s Story

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Micah is our four year old whether that we had the chance to bottle feed from birth. Micah was abandoned by his momma, Lilly. I guess she just didn’t have a maternal bone in her body. Lilly  had a great mom , but for some reason, when it was her turn to be a mom, she was not at all into it. She rejected Micah from the moment of birth. Walked away and would not look back. We tried all the tricks to change the scenario. But Lilly would not nurse her kid or even let him near her. 

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This is what a momma goat bonding with her babies should look like. Zoe was interested and attentive. Both Polly and Pongo were allowed to nurse immediately after she cleaned them up.

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Lilly would hunch up to prevent Micah from nursing. If we held her still she would let him nurse for a few sucks until she could wiggle free from our hold.

 

 

 

Since three other momma goats gave birth the same day or so, we tried to have Micah adopted by one of them but they were happy with things the way they were. So Micah became a bottle baby. And lived at our house with the dogs. I still think he believes  he is a dog.

Micah hanging out with Mack.  He fit right in.

Micah hanging out with Mack. He fit right in.

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We milked Lilly when we could, so he did get colostrum and some milk from her. But then we just fed him goat milk from the organic food store. It’s a good thing he was cute because that stuff was pricey! Micah thrived on his bottle feedings and after a couple of weeks he rejoined the herd and began making friends with the other kids. 

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Four years later, Micah is still our little sweet heart. He loves attention and is so gentle about taking food. 

 And he’s still making funny faces.

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 Since he is so tame, Micah also gets to go places like schools. He was invited to kiss a principal at an elementary school when the children met a reading goal. And he was a spokesman for a local farm animal  rescue that was invited to talk to the students about the rescue. Micah and some of his stall mates have also played the part of sheep in the nativity pageant. Pygora goats grow fleece much like sheep, making them look a lot like sheep in the middle of winter.

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Lilly,(aka Micah’s mom), Polly, Micah, and Pongo

 

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