How to Raise Turkeys

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

Are you disgusted with factory farmed poultry?  Are you disappointed with a lack of choices for your holiday turkey?  Have you thought about just raising your own turkeys so you know they are humanely raised without antibiotics and steroids?  And maybe you could sell some of the extras as a side business?

 In this book, How to Raise Turkeys, you will learn how to raise turkeys for fun, as a hobby or even as a small business raising pastured turkeys with your other poultry.  In the book you will learn:

  • The many types of turkey species…there are many heritage breeds that need to re-established that our pioneer ancestors raised
  • What does it cost to start up with turkeys?
  • What do turkeys eat?
  • What about predators?
  • Raising the baby turkey—with the mother or in the brooder?
  • How much room do you need to raise a turkey?

There are many reasons to raise turkeys:  for their meat, eggs, as pets, for a business, for exhibition, and to promote the rare breeds.  Whatever your reasons, you need all the information you can get on how to raise them properly.  This ebook will provide you with the answers you need for raising turkeys from start to finish.

Click Here! for more information on How to Raise Turkeys

Woodworking 4Home Plans and Designs for Woodworking Projects

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

When you are running your homestead, whether it includes 40 acres or your urban backyard homestead, you are going to need a good set of plans and designs for projects around the home and your animals and garden. 

In most all the places we have lived, my husband and I have built barns, sheds, lots of fences, rabbit hutches, chicken houses, nesting boxes, raised beds for the garden, goat milking stands, hay feeders and countless more projects for the barnyard. 

Inside the home, we have made a pantry, shelves for the cellar (for all those beautiful jars of food!), book cases, a coffee table, wall decorations, flooring and more. 

What if you had a source for all the homesteading and home woodworking projects that you could access in one place without spending hundreds of dollars on books and magazines?   Well, the good folks at Woodworking 4Home have done just that.  Even if you are a complete beginner, the step by step plans are easy to follow and understand.

Here are just a few of the designs and plans from Woodworking 4Home that you could use for you homestead:  plans for carts, bee hives, cabin, book case, carport, birdhouse, chair, containers, drill press, fence, garden, cutting board, greenhouse, playhouse, planter, gun cabinet, lathe, kitchen projects, shed, rabbit hutch, chicken house, wind generator, farm shop and more than I can list!  I wish we had access to this when we started our homestead years ago!

If you would like to learn more information on Woodworking 4Home    Click Here!


Incredible Chickens: The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens at Home In Your Backyard!

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

Have you thought about raising your own chickens?  Fresh eggs from your own backyard chickens are healthier than factory farmed eggs from the supermarket.  When you let your chickens roam and eat bugs, grass and seeds these eggs are richer and nutrient dense.  Don’t believe it?  Crack open one store bought egg and one pastured egg.  The first thing you will notice is it takes a slightly harder “whack” to crack open the farm egg.  That’s because the shell is thicker to protect the embryo inside.  The 2nd thing you will notice is the deep orange color of the yolk compared to the pale yellow yolk of the store bought egg.  The 3rd thing you notice is the taste.  Ahhh, there’s no comparison!

Even if you’ve never raised chickens before, you can learn how.  They are easy to keep.   In fact, chickens and rabbits were the main producers of protein kept in backyards during World War II when food was rationed.  They are easy keepers, quiet (as long as you don’t have a rooster) and efficient producers for a self-reliant lifestyle. 

For more information on Incredible Chickens Click Here!

How to Build a Chicken Coop

©2010 Shanna Ohmes
Building your own chicken coop is easy and cheaper than buying a pre-made coop. With the easy plans and blueprints in this book, you will have your own chicken coop in no time. Be sure to build it before spring. Don’t make the mistake of getting all excited about buying chicks and not having their shelter ready for them. Fall and winter are good times to plan ahead and build the chicken coop.

Designs and plans included in the book cover how to construct a chicken house, chicken ark, barn, medium and large coops and the double-story ark coop. There are sizes to fit just about any backyard.

For more information on Building a Chicken Coop Click Here!


An Herbal Salve for Wounds on Chickens

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

Have you ever heard the term “hen-pecked”?  If you’ve ever been around a flock of chickens, you know what it means.  Chickens (and baby chicks too), are relentless in pecking at bugs, grubs and other insects.  But they also go after anything with blood, including another of their own kind!  Even if it is just a tiny spot of blood, one chick will peck at it, then another and another, and before you know it, that tiny wound can be a huge problem.

At the first sign of a wound on a chicken, it should be taken care of immediately by removing the chick from the flock.  The sight and smell of fresh blood, even from a small wound, will cause the other chicks to start pecking. 

Soon, the whole flock will be pecking on at the wound, making it bigger and the situation worse.   I have seen cases where the wound had enlarged down to the bone when it wasn’t treated early.   If the chick or hen is not removed from the flock and cared for until the feathers return, the flock will continue to peck.

After you’ve removed the chick, you need to clean the wound by rinsing it with fresh water.  Put the chick or hen in her own cage with fresh water and regular food.  Adding fresh dandelions, Lamb’s Quarters and crushed raw garlic to her feed will boost her immune system and fight infection.

Next, make up an herbal salve to apply to the wound.  You can make your own salve using olive oil and beeswax as a base.  Measurements aren’t really necessary, just mix up small batches that you can cover the wound with.  Add a pinch of yarrow powder or a few drops of yarrow essential oil to the oil mixture.  Then stir in a drop or 2 of lavender essential oil, until the salve is smooth.  You can apply this salve a few times a day until the feathers return. 

Remember, an open wound on a chicken is an invitation to not only cannibalism, but also infection.  It is better to prevent it, than to treat a more serious condition afterwards.

Here is a source for those herbs to use to make the herbal salve.

Herbs to Keep Backyard Chickens Healthy

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

Nutrition plays a large role in the health of young chicks and laying hens.  By setting up ways for your chickens to access a natural diet, whether it is a free-range of your backyard, or a portable coop, they will be healthier. 

You can also grow your own herbs or buy dried herbs to make teas to supplement their diet.  Chickens already love to forage, all you have to do is make sure they have access to the things they need!  Many of these are “weeds” you probably already discard from your garden.  They are actually very nutritious and even medicinal plants not only for your chickens, but for us too!

Herbs for nutrition:

Raw Garlic—Have this available year long for your chickens.  You can also mash it in their drinking water for not only the nutritional benefits, but also the anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties to prevent and curtail infections.  Have raw garlic available for newly hatched chicks, so they will learn to eat it at an early age.

Nettle—Urtica dioica—Nettle is rich in calcium, protein, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.  A wonderful all around herb.

Alfalfa—Medicago sativa—Rich in protein, amino acids, minerals and chlorophyll.  Make a tea from dried alfalfa to keep hens healthy for breeding and producing eggs.

Lamb’s Quarters—Chenopodium album—Rich in protein, calcium, vitamins A and C, B-complex and iron.  An all around herb for the digestive system.

Dandelion—Taraxacum officinale—Rich in protein, vitamins A,C,K,D, B-complex, iron, manganese, phosphorus and trace minerals.  Dandelion is a complete food for building the immune system.  Give dandelions freely to your young chicks and hens.  You can even make a tea and offer that free choice as well.

Organic apple cider vinegar—Mix with their water for a superb digestive tonic.

Herbs for the nest: 

Birds in the wild use medicinal herbs to line their nests.  The aromatic volatile oils have anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties.  You can imitate this natural process by applying a few handfuls of the fresh herbs to the nest before a hen goes broody.  Adding the herbs periodically during the spring and summer can help keep parasites at bay.

Peppermint, spearmint, catnip, oregano, wild bergamot, lavender, rosemary, sage, basil, thyme and fennel are aromatic herbs that freshen the nesting box.

Want your hen to be relaxed and calm?  Lavender and peppermint will relieve her stress while brooding.

Getting Started with Chickens—What You’ll Need

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

So, you are excited about raising chickens in your backyard.  You are ready for homegrown eggs, raising some of your own food and showing your children how to connect with where their food comes from.  So where do you start?

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • Start with day-old chicks.  You can order these in the spring through mail order from hatcheries.  The downside is most orders are a minimum of 25 chicks.  This way, the chicks keep each other warm en route.  If you don’t want that many, you can share your order with friends.  Or, you can go to farm-supply stores and order what you want.  You don’t need roosters, so only order females (pullets).
  • You need a brooder.  This is a box with a heat lamp to keep the chicks warm until they are old enough to be kept outside.
  • Bedding.  You can use pine shavings, dry leaves or straw.  Change it when it’s soiled.
  • Feeder and waterer.  Designed for chicks, keep these cleaned and filled.
  • Portable coop.  When nighttime temperatures stay above 50° F., the chicks can be moved out to their mini-coop.  This keeps them safe from dogs, cats, skunks, opossums, foxes and other predators that love an easy buffet.  You might be surprised that many of these predators do roam city streets at night.
  • Feed.  In the beginning you will probably start with chick starter feed.  As adults, they will need a “laying mash” available at your farm supply store.  Chickens love grass clippings, weeds, kitchen scraps and most veggies from the garden.
  • Crushed oyster shell.  Hens need grit to help them grind their food because they have no teeth.  Oyster shell also provides calcium and makes for stronger eggshells.
  • An appetite for eggs!  Your hens will start laying eggs when they are 24 weeks old.  One hen will lay 5-6 eggs a week.  In one week, with 4 hens, you can have about 2 dozen eggs.  Don’t worry, you will find plenty of ways to enjoy those eggs.  And if you share some with your neighbors, they will appreciate them and support your backyard chicken raising adventure.

7 Reasons Why You Should Raise Backyard Chickens

©2010 Shanna Ohmes

If you would like to be a part of the growing food revolution movement to eating real foods, then you have probably already learned how eggs are a part of a healthy diet. You may have also learned that how chickens are raised affects the nutrition of those eggs.

Did you know it’s simple to raise chickens in your own backyard? Why would you want to? Here are a few reasons why you should raise your own chickens.

• More nutritious for your family—a homegrown egg, from a hen that’s allowed to eat bugs, seeds, grass and other goodies from your yard and garden, has a deeper color than factory-eggs. This deep color indicates denser nutrition, and is rich in beta carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, folic acid and vitamin B-12.
• By raising your own hens, you’ll know they are humanely treated. You can feed them wholesome feed that’s free from antibiotics and growth hormones, most of which they will forage for themselves. In factory raised hens and meat birds, these additives are passed onto us through the eggs and meat, and the chickens are kept in cramped cages or close confinement indoors.
• You can preserve endangered breeds. These heritage breeds have been reduced in numbers because the commercial growers focus on the faster growing types.
• Chickens are small and can easily be raised in portable mini-coops which can be moved around your yard daily. This is good for your lawn and keeps the hens happy eating bugs, seeds and grass. Chickens also eat termites, grubs, fire ants, grasshoppers, fleas and flies.
• They are quiet and make good pets. It is the roosters that crow and make the most noise. Just 3-4 hens are quieter than most dogs. At most they squawk when they lay an egg and make small clucking sounds when scratching in the dirt. A hen will lay an infertile egg almost daily. The only reason to have a rooster is for fertile eggs to raise chicks. So, you really don’t need a rooster for egg production.
• There are many breeds to choose from: most are dual-purpose, which means they provide both meat and eggs. Some are very small and lay tiny eggs. Some lay brown or green eggs or even speckled eggs. Fancy breeds have topknots of feathers on their heads while others have feathery legs.
• Raising chickens with your children involves them in learning where their food comes from. Many children today think their food somehow comes from the back of the store. Now they can make that connection in how it gets to their plate.

Raising chickens in your backyard is easy and entertaining. We spent hours watching ours jumping up to peck the seeds from drooping mammoth sunflower heads. They were very comical.

When you keep chickens, you will discover the true meanings behind many of those old “chicken sayings” that your grandparents used to say. Like, “hen party”, “madder than a wet settin’ hen”, “hen-pecked”, “like a banty on a june bug”, and “rule the roost”.