Hunting or Store-Bought Meat: Ethical Dilemma

Deer hunting in Maine is an artform for some, a science for others—but for most of us die-hard Maine folks it’s a tradition. For me, it’s about environmental ethics and food choices. My father never brought me out hunting. Maybe he figured it was a boys thing, or maybe he never thought to ask. Either way I’ve never shot a deer and have put a lot of time into trying this fall. Why do I hunt? That’s a complex answer. The truth is I was once against hunting, until I earned more about our food system. It comes down to {read more}

treating chicken lice with DE diatomacious earth

How to Treat Chicken Lice & Preventative Care Tips

This article will explain the best methods for how to treat chicken lice for beginners. This is my firsthand experience. For starters, poultry or “chicken lice” are specialist parasites and evolve to be very good at feeding on their specific host species—but aren’t able to live on other species. So chicken lice can’t live on people, and the lice that kids commonly get in grade school can’t be shared with their beloved chickens. Lice are common on many animals, and domesticated poultry have around 50 species of lice. They are all soft-bodied, pale-colored, flattened-bodied insects. These tiny soft-bodied insects have mouthparts used specifically to chew on feathers {read more}

bobcat game cam maine

What to do when predators threaten your livestock

Over the past month we have lost seven animals. What to do when predators threaten your livestock is not a simple answer. We have a bobcat infiltrating our coop and hutch fortress. There is other food, it’s not the depth of winter. This big kitty is growing fat on our duck and chicken. Here in photos below you can see the lure of a half-eaten chicken we found (sadly still alive) last week at dawn that we used as bait to get it on a game camera. We were shocked to see it was a bobcat, not a fox raiding our birds. {read more}

pekin american breese can chcikens and ducks live together?

Can chickens and ducks live together?

Have you had chickens for a while and you’d like to add a duck or two but don’t want to build another house or worry about them fighting? Can chickens and ducks live together? Rest assured, they CAN! In early spring I found two free purebred Pekin male ducks (called Drakes) and put them in a pen sharing a fence with my three breeding Cayuga ducks. This seemed organized, ducks next to ducks, right? Big mistake. Sometimes I just have to learn the hard way. Geese honked brain shatteringly high-pitched warnings—they obviously knew more than I did about ducks. The {read more}

Our Mountaintop Homestead in Maine

After several attempts to reconcile with my husband I made the choice to leave. I returned to a prior relationship that I’d ended in a last ditch attempt to make my marriage work for my toddler’s sake. We went in search of a new homestead for children and critters and to start a new, fresh life together. Not knowing what we were really looking for, we ended up looking at this huge mountaintop homestead in Maine under an hour from where I grew up—and falling under its spell. Being a nerdy, modern homesteader with kids: I googled the best schools by judgement of their STEM standards and {read more}

Duckling Brooder Tips: Water & Feeder Designs

By: Amanda Jo Emerson Ducklings are messy and have the following list of obstacles for the hobbiest breeder or backyard poultry fancier to overcome to successfully brood them as clean and healthy as possible. Let’s look over these facts of duckling sloppiness in order to hash out duckling brooder tips to banish brooder blues in your home. Ducklings . . . love water. splash, nuzzle and quickly empty water sources into bedding. create a mat of mucky semi-solid poo everywhere. freak out easy and run over water dishes, feeders and each other. FACT: water + mushy poops + warm, humid box = {read more}

Planning a Garden for Maine’s Climate

The featured photograph at the top is of my grandparents’ farm in Winterport, Maine. They are at the very heart of my love for raising animals and growing plants. This is a work in progress and will be updated as the seasons come and go like tides in Maine forever morphing seasonal landscape. Below is an outline for planning a complete working homestead garden for Maine’s climate. Each centered header breaks the seasons down. Under each season are mini-sections with best practices, common tasks, projects and tips in each section. For me, planning a garden for Maine’s climate never starts or ends—it is a cycle. But this post has to {read more}

Raising Chickens

Incubating Chicken Eggs for Beginners

Want to hatch your own chickens but aren’t sure how to begin incubating chicken eggs? This was me a few years ago and I’ve learned a lot since hatching four batches of chickens. In This Article: Marking eggs Purchasing and setting up equipment Turning eggs daily Candling and development marking Preparing for hatch day Brooder box essentials Purchasing and Setting up Equipment Get a quality incubator Start it two-days prior Mark them on each side Keep them moist Turn eggs daily Mark either side Buy a REAL incubator for incubating chicken eggs, not one of those cheap plastic dome things. I use {read more}

Raising Chickens

Raising Chickens: Laying, Breeding, Hatching Prep

Hen Maturity and Mating Hens usually begin laying eggs between 18 to 22 weeks old which means raising chickens for half a year before you even get any eggs. At about 8 months hens reach thier optimal egg output of  6-7 days a week depending on health and daylight. Hens will stay at or near this level of egg production for a few years when kept happy and healthy. When collecting eggs from your own, or a friend’s coop, with incubating chicken eggs as your main goal, wait until hens have been laying for several weeks. Only collect eggs that are of an average size. Often when {read more}

Manual Egg Turner: inside incubator

Manual Egg Turner: 30 min. DIY Project

Winter Project: Manual Egg Turner Tool is by Mandy Pelletier Find eight plastic coat hangers and two wire hangers. Grab a wire cutter and some light rust-proof wire. This is literally all you need to make a manual egg turner to fit a Hover-Bator brand square styrofoam incubator. Why did I invent this? I was spending about 15 minutes a day to turn my eggs 3 times a day (this is once more than recommended, but it leaves the overnight period on an opposite side one night to the next). Now it takes a second to reach in, pull over the turner and {read more}