Getting Started With Homestead Living
You’ve finally talked your family into starting a homestead, moving out in the country and building a new life for yourself so you can start growing a garden and raising chickens, making soap with the milk from your pet goat. Doing all the things you’ve been dreaming about while enjoying the fresh air and living a simpler life with your family. It’s going to be Great!
Where do you begin? Especially if you have no clue how to live on a homestead.
Well a good starting point would be to look at the end. Meaning, what is it that you really want from living on a homestead? What do you Really want the most? Where do you want to live? What are some of your goals?
So many questions that it would be wise to sit in a quiet place with paper and figure out your “End Game” start making a wish list of things you want the most. Imagine if you will, what you would love your homestead to look like finished.
Will it have farm animals like cows and horses? Will it have goats? Or will it be small and have just chickens and a big garden?
Dreaming of the finished homestead will help you decide what it is you really want to buy and where.
If you want a big garden then you’ll need some of the following;
• Good soil for growing crops
• Plenty of sunshine
• Well drained soil
• Big enough land for the garden
Maybe you want to have cows or horses on the homestead? You need;
• A Barn
• Big enough pasture for animals to graze
• A good supply of water
That’s why it’s important to give some thought of how you want your homestead to end up like, so you can plan ahead. Make sure you have enough land available for cattle to graze, water and hay for feeding.
You don’t want to buy land and a house but figure out later that you can’t even grow a garden, because it’s too shady and rocky soil.
The best advice is to start small. Don’t get in over your head with a big homestead, if you have no idea how to run one. But if you start small adding new features each year. Then your success rate and confidence level will increase over time.
For instance, if don’t know anything about growing a garden. Then just start with one plant rather than a full-fledged garden. You’re more likely to not get overwhelmed and give up half way through the growing season.
Same goes for getting animals for your homestead. Start small if you have no experience with farm animals. Buying a few chickens is a good start, you can learn the ropes and gain some benefits with getting eggs to eat. Then later on you can buy a couple goats or sheep, before moving up to owning a cow.
If you’re going to have several animals, you might want to check to see if there is a local vet that come out to the farm and look at all the animals at one time, twice a year checkup and worming are essential to a healthy herd.
Ways To Save Money
One way, homesteaders save money in the winter is to burn wood to heat their home. Either buying wood from a local seller or clearing dead and dropped wood from their wooded areas. This would be a good thing to add to your wish list if you’re looking to make the homestead pay for itself.
Look for a farm that has a few acres of timber.
Speaking of timber, have a professional look at the land you want to purchase and see if you can timber that land. Some families have actually paid the whole land off after purchase by selling off a few of the biggest trees and thinning the wooded areas.
If nothing else, you can save yourself quite a bit of money on heating cost, by burning wood in a woodstove. Many garages and workshops can be heated this way, enabling you to be able to work outdoors in the winter time with some shelter.
A garage comes in handy for many things in a family. Like fixing up a tractor when it’s raining or getting out of the house and hiding from the kids for a while LOL.
Homestead Baby Chicks Care 101
Chickens are fun farm animal to start with for any newbie homesteader. They are small enough that children can help out with the care of them. Making chickens the ideal first animal to raise on the homestead for a fun profitable hobby that the whole family will enjoy.
Here’s some basic tips to get you started.
Chickens can be purchased at any feed store almost year-round. If you’ve ever gone in these places to buy feed for your animals, you’ll notice the section where the baby chicks are, by the hanging lights over the galvanized water tanks.
Inside you see a cluster of fuzzy baby chicks zinging to and fro in the tank. There are many different to choose from, depending on the type of chicken you’re interested in for your homestead.
The choices include extra-large to the small bantam size chickens. It might be hard to tell the difference while they are little chicks, they all look a lot alike.
The store should have a poster of chickens on the wall and tags on the tanks so you can pick out the right chicken from the pictures.
What size chicken is the best?
Well that really depends on what you want to do with the chicken. If you’re just going to gather eggs for your family. Then you would want the larger egged chicken.
But if you want your kids to enjoy them too, then you might want a smaller chicken.
Bantam chickens are a smaller breed and are more popular for show quality chickens. So, if your kids want to show chickens at the fair with 4-H. You might want to get the smaller chickens first.
A popular breed is the Bantam Birchen Cochin usually black with white in color, they’re some of the sweetest chickens and look really cute with their puffy butts and feathered legs. Kids just love them. The eggs are a little smaller but still good size for eating.
Chickens that have colored eggs
There are several breeds of chickens that have different colored eggs ranging from a light green, brown and tan. The eggs all taste the same (not like store bought eggs) they just have a different color shell.
Here’s some examples of the most popular breeds with the egg color:
• Golden Laced Wyandotte -brown
• Road Island Red -brown
• Ameraucana -green
• Buff Orpington -tan
• Barred Rock- brown
• Bantam Cochin- smaller off-white egg
Baby Chick Care Tips
We ordered 13 chicks off of this site
When you bring home your baby chicks you can’t put them outside right away. They’ll need to be kept in the garage or basement until they get a little bit bigger. We kept ours in the hallway bathroom 🙂 Let me tell ya, my husband was NOT thrilled LOL.
They will need a light for heat, water, food bowl and some wood chips for the floor. Take a good look at the store display where you bought the chicks from. You’ll want that same environment for them, set up in your home. Since we didn’t order ours in a store I looked up some set ups Pinterest for ideas.
The food you need is called “chick starter” food and need to eat this to give them all the vitamins and minerals to grow up healthy. They need to eat this until they can be with the other chickens.
The food can be put in a flat lid of a plastic container like a shoe box size or one of those large round plastic coffee lids. They will give you quite a show when the chicks start scratching around and throwing food everywhere, looking for a worm, even as babies. It’s quite entertaining.
A water trough or tank is idea for baby chicks. If you are planning on raising new chicks each year, it might be a good investment. Otherwise you can keep them in a large plastic tub you can buy at Walmart. We ended up using a large dog cage.
It needs to be big enough that they can’t fly out of it. Chickens grow up fast and will fly out of the little tub very quickly. A small clear tub is perfect for when they just hatch out, but they will outgrow it soon.
Wood chips in the bottom of the container will do fine. You might need to put some kind of wire screen bent over the top, for when they get a little bigger, they will fly out.
A hanging water container would be perfect. But if you can’t do that then buy the cheap plastic waterer, but put it on a block, like a very flat rock or concrete stepping stone. You can get this at the same place you buy the chicks.
The block will keep the waterer from tipping over and chickens love to scratch around. They will dump it over or at the least scratch a bunch of chips in the water.
The mess will only last a few weeks and then when the weather is warm enough for them. You can safely move them outside. We had a party when the chicks were 5 weeks old so they went the garage with a heat lamp for 10 days first. Usually around 6 weeks old and when the temperature outside is at least 65 during the day and doesn’t get too cold at night for them they can go outside. We moved ours into Cluckingham palace and I was sooo worried the first night LOL.
We try to use mostly up cycled material.
We use this app identify some of the plants that we haven’t had before . “PICTURE THIS “ found in your App Store . The free version is perfect for getting started.