backyard chickens Archives · Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois
We to a big leap of faith, quit our jobs are moved to the the heart of the Shawnee National Forest to follow our dreams of self sufficiency and to make a go of living off the land… Can we help you feed your family?
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backyard chickens

We have hatching…

Over the last three weeks we've been monitoring the humidity and temperature of our homemade "Coolerbator" egg incubator. My last post was about counting our chickens before they'd hatched.. So far, our 15 mail order chicks have arrived and are thriving. Today our incubated eggs are cheeping & beginning to hatch! The eggs have been on lockdown since friday because hatch day was supposed to be nearing but secretly in the back of our mind we hadn't been counting on much to result...

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Tales from the backyard flock: Are they cooked or do they have chicks in them?

For the last week, maybe two, we have had significantly fewer eggs each day from our six laying hens. Initially I thought that the hens that were not laying had nutritional imbalances since they’ve been eating chicks starter food (against our wishes). We’ve recently integrated our baby chicks to our adult flock, our Rhode Island Reds much prefer eating chick starter it seems. Chick starter has a high protein content and adult birds shouldn’t be eating it but I’m not standing out there and shooing the hens away from the chick feed, three times a day, right now… so those stinking hens are gorging themselves. 

Also, my new chicks are integrating to the main flock right now and we are preparing to move in just a few days so our chicken coop situation is in transition. I also figured the stress of the transition was possibly impacting the egg output from the hens.

Today there was quite a squawk fest out of the chicken coop and my girls anxiously ran out to collect the eggs. However, there were no eggs to be found. So we went about our garden and backyard chores. I opened the compost bin to get some fresh compost for one of the plants and I left it open for the chickens to scratch around in since were getting ready to move and we have no intention of taking cooking compost with us. I had the compost bin open earlier in the week for the same reason but husbands who work outside the homestead (he has just 3 work days left!) miss lots of strategic decision making and close the compost bin back up thinking they are being helpful.

Anyway, after a while we went back inside had some cold water ate breakfast and we heard the chickens squawking again. We went out to try to collect eggs and once again there were none to be found.

They always say if you’re missing eggs, go on an egg hunt.

Introducing new chicks to your existing flock or “And then there were two, flocks.”

You may have caught the news in passing here or over on Nathan’s blog. We grew our flock of chickens this spring.

“We ended up bringing home a dozen chicks: 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 White Leghorns, 2 Black Sex Link, 3 Amberlinks, and 3 Golden Laced Wyandottes. That will certainly grow our flock of 3 Araucanas and 3 Rhode Island Reds and hopefully really step up our waning egg production this year. Or, we’ll end up with a freezer full of roosters by the end of the summer…”

We got a screaming deal and added 12 chicks to our menagerie of homestead animals for next to nothing cost wise! If you want to know the details click the link above and read all about it on Nathan’s blog.

We are kind of “counting our eggs before they hatch” in terms of planning for space for all the chickens right now, our fingers are crossed that this house sells ASAP. Our existing flock of six plus the 12 new chicks brings us 18 chickens! Plus we just got 6 turkeys. Things might start getting real crowded with 24 birds if we don’t get out of here in the next few months…

When your backyard flock grows. From chicken rearing to turkeys!

We were out of chick starter so a trip to the local farm supply store was on the agenda for the day. When visiting the farm supply store we have to visit the baby chick area if the kids are with us because kids LOVE to see baby birds and rabbits (even though the backyard is already full of them). Did I mention that we got 12 additional baby chicks at the start of this spring? We did! They were on rebate at our local store, we got 10 for free. Can't pass up free chicks! But we didn't just get them because they were free...

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Keeping chickens & eating them: Thoughts on our first experience processing

It's a cold and gloomy day here, we are in the upper 50's this afternoon and the vibe is very lazy. Everly has been watching childrens movies on the couch today, specifically snow related holiday ones. She knows the seasons are changing and is excitedly dreaming of lots of snow this winter. I've been spending some much needed time on my own blog's todo list between caring for the girls and the home. On days like today an effortless, home-cooked, nourishing meal is best. So, I've got one of our roosters in the soup pot in prep for Everly's favorite dinner, chicken and dumplings. Remember my blog post about Helga Crowing back in September? We always knew we needed to learn the art of chicken processing, for the sake of self sufficiency, homesteading and respect for the life cycle/...

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Then Helga Crowed…

It was a nice sleepy morning, the outdoor temperature was cool enough to leave the windows open and the AC off. The days have been getting shorter and the mornings sleepier plus the baby sort of slept through the night snuggled in our bed with us. As the sun began to rise the sound "cawwwwwr" made it's way in the bedroom window, it was jarring. I laid there bkinking the sleep from my eyes and instincually checking to see if the noise had roused the sleeping baby. I hear Nathan quitly making his way out the door to investigate the sound, I hear the deck gate open and close. By the second "acawwwwwr" it hit me. This sound that is similar to a small animal dying is our chickens. At first I was wondering if a...

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