Homestead Journal 10/8/17

Had a GREAT week! So much progress made on cleaning up for winter. The weather was great this weekend and we had help on the homestead. Squeezed in some time for a nice walk around

Had a GREAT week! So much progress made on cleaning up for winter. The weather was great this weekend and we had help on the homestead. Squeezed in some time for a nice walk around the property. Thank you Kevin for all of your help this weekend.


Pipers 10 kits are all alive and well. They have come out of the nesting box this week with great enthusiasm. When they started jumping out, they were jumping out of the middle of the box and looked like little flying squirrels coming out. Margie kindled 6 kits, looks like two will be white or light colored and four will be dark. We moved Roxanne’s four kits to their grow out cage and bred Roxanne with Ralph. It was also a processing week for us so we processed Michelle’s seven kits that we purchased with her. We are not sure what breed of rabbit she was bred with so we are hoping the meat is good even though they were small rabbits.


There hasn’t been much updating on the chickens lately but there is a lot to update on this week. We started the week with processing 13 laying hens and 3 roosters. We still need to process  6 leghorns and 5 meat chickens before winter. The reason we waited to process the leghorns is because they are still producing fantastic eggs daily! The meat chickens that we need to process were not quite at weight yet so we are giving them a little more time to gain weight. Our neighbor let us borrow a chicken plucker that he purchased to process his birds. It was so nice to use and hopefully we will have a product review soon. We plan to use it one more time this year and then write a review. With all of those chickens we have 13 stewing  hens and 3 meat chickens in the freezer, for sale or for our own consumption.

These are the laying hens that we processed. They were pretty fatty and some of them were 3 years old. Will be used as stewing hens.

This week we were lucky to have help with the coop clean out. Every year before winter (and again in the spring) we pull all of the bedding out of the chicken coops and replace it with fresh bedding. In between our major clean outs we add pine chips as needed. We had to clean out two coops and a  large brooder this year.

All of the dirty bedding is used in our compost bins. We take garden trailer loads of the dirty bedding from the coop to the compost bins on the back side of the chicken shed.

Garden trailer full of dirty chicken bedding and our two favorite tools for this job. We use the scrapper to break up any tough pasty spots in the coop and use the scoop shovel to load it into the trailer.

The bedding that we had in the compost bins from last year is looking great! More to come on the compost.

Since we had an extra set hands for this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to move our chickens into their new permanent homes. After we decided that we were going to move some chickens, we came up with an order of how the birds should be moved. We moved the four barred rock that were in the brooder into kennels. While they were “locked up” we cleaned the brooder out and added fresh pine chips. Next we moved the 6 leghorns into the brooder area. Once the leghorns were all moved we banded the barred rock and added them into the laying side of the coop. It was also time to close down the chicken tractor for the season. All 19 hens and 1 rooster that were in the tractor this year moved into the laying side of the coop. Brian went into the tractor and grabbed chickens, Kori ran the coop door and Kevin was in charge of the kennel doors. We had a couple that tried to escape from us but we got them before they got to far. Once they were all captured and put in kennels we banded them and added them to the coop. The barred rock and tractor chickens will be good replacements for the laying hens that we culled earlier this week. My cousin got to catch his first chickens- its always fun your first time! He was pretty good at it but Brian was the chicken catching champ of the day. All of the chickens seem to be getting along well since they have been mixed together.

Mix of older laying hens , flock of four barred rock and the 20 tractor chickens.

One thing we did notice after they were moved was that the chickens that had been in the tractor did not go inside to roost at night. They all piled in the corner and slept outside. We figured that they were doing this because it is all they know. There was not a roost in the tractor for them to use. We are curious to see if this is something that they continue to do.

The tractor chickens huddled together in the corner of the coop.


We moved all of the compost that was started last year into the garden compost bin. After we cleaned out the chicken coops we started three compost bins with dirty chicken bedding. We have a lot more to add to the bins.

Three compost bins that we started this week. You can see the chickens spying on me over the top of the bins.
Finished compost that we moved to the garden.
We have two piles about this size that need to be added to the compost.

Managed to clean out seven garden beds this week. All weeds and plants are removed from those beds we just need to till in some compost and add straw to the top before winter. We still have 8 more beds to finish up before winter.

Cleaned out seven garden beds.

Harvested 12 ears of corn, 6 bell peppers, 5 zucchini, 8 habenaro, 5 serranos, 4 chili de arbol, 2 jalapenos and some cherry tomatoes.


Did running around to get all of the supplies that we needed for this weekend. Also started a batch of rabbits feet and rabbit furs. When Kevin showed up he brought his electric smoker and we smoked some ribs and bacon from the pig that we purchased earlier in the year. It was delicious! Electric smoker is our wish list. It is so great to have a good meal ready to eat when we were hungry after working.