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So first, do some studying, then, do some looking. Look at as many as you can.

Designing the Perfect Chicken Coop: 15 Tips in Detail

By seeing many live examples the difference between good and bad traits becomes obvious. The initial investment of large livestock is nothing compared to the maintenance, infrastructure needed, and potential health issues that might be undetectable without knowing what to look for or by getting proof of a clean bill of health by a veterinarian or validation with simple and affordable genetic testing.

Next, you need to know from where it came. Lurking in the DNA are both desirable and undesirable genes and you would surely want to know whether they are present or not. Seek out an experienced reputable Dexter breeder who understands the importance of accurate record keeping and registration, and who raises their cattle in a way that resonates with you. Some breeders love raising the very small Dexters as a hobby and some are passionate about preserving the rare ancient bloodlines within the Dexter breed. So if your main goal is a quiet Dexter to milk, look for a breeder who actually milks their Dexters.

If you want to show cattle, find a breeder who excels at that. An experienced reputable breeder takes pride in their Dexters genetics. Their calves are not from an accidental breeding with a herd mate who got castrated too late or some random convenient bull down the road.

Sires and dams were specifically chosen to bring the strengths of one to offset a weakness in the other and to provide other desired genetic traits resulting with each generation of offspring being an improvement from the previous one. And when you buy from a reputable Dexter breeder you are not just buying the animal, you are buying the breeder and their wealth of experience as well.

A reputable Dexter breeder loves their Dexters, and will do all they can to ensure that you do too by mentoring you if you are new to livestock, and being available to answer questions or offer advice long after your initial purchase. Red clover and Kentucky bluegrass are especially good grasses to have on the range.

For a flock of a dozen turkeys, plan to build a pen of roughly 75 feet square, or one-eighth acre. Make sure your fence is secure from coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and even bears—all of whom would love free-range turkey dinner. Woven wire fencing is a great choice, as is electrified poultry netting. Keep the pasture fresh by moving the portable roost to clean ground weekly. You can also rotate the location of feeders and waterers to prevent manure buildup. For a dozen turkeys, you'll need at least 2 gallons of water every day, so consider an automatic waterer connected to your outdoor water spigot.

A four-foot-long waterer will suffice for 12 birds. Many turkey farmers build a wooden range feeder with a little roof on top to hold the feed. A feeder that holds about pounds of feed is a good size for 12 turkeys, as by the time they near maturity they will each eat a pound of feed a day.

Learning how to prevent health problems before they arise—with clean pasture, movable roosts, and fresh, clean water and food—is the easiest way to handle raising turkeys. Still, sometimes things happen and you'll need to know how to take care of them. Give turkeys enough roosting space and pasture. Make sure to raise them separately from chickens.

Ensure your turkey house has good ventilation, and protect your turkeys from predators. If you're keeping turkeys for meat, the time will come to slaughter and process them.

Getting Started with Chickens: The Ultimate Guide - Abundant Permaculture

When they were 4 weeks old, I let them completely free range. I fed them organic commercial grains for the first eight weeks of their lives, then I allowed them to get all of their feed off of the land. When I butchered them, I was amazed: the chickens weighed more than previous grain fed batches I had done! Smaller operations are much easier to manage and you have much less to lose when you make mistakes.

You only have so many kitchen scraps, but kitchen scraps can be a significant part of a chickens diet if they have enough of them. Same goes for growing your own chicken vegetables or worms.


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He recalled with great humor that they pretty much survived off of the land on his pasture rotation system. Consideration 3: How much space do you have? One square foot is the minimum a chicken needs for indoor housing if it has access to adequate space outdoors during the day. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three square feet inside and three square feet outside per chicken. Are your neighbors cool? Take your neighbors into consideration when deciding how big your operation will be and what it will look like. Organized subdivisions and city limits can be especially vulnerable to laws forbidding you to raise your own chickens.

In the latter case, be absolutely sure you proceed with respect to your neighbors by keeping your operation clean and quiet. Now that we have a general idea of your goals for your chickens, you can start looking at who might fit the bill. Top 5 permaculture chickens: I recently sent out a survey listing my 12 favorite chicken breeds based on my permaculture criteria above.

Mini Farming

Out of responses here at the top 5 Permaculture Chickens, with percentage of respondents indicated, along with approximate number of eggs laid per week and pounds of meat produced. Cornish Crosses can easily dress out at more than six pounds in just eight weeks.

Complete Guide to Homestead Chickens

There are certainly some drawbacks to consider and some special tactics to incorporate before proceeding with this breed. The benefits of dual-purpose breeds: Do you want both eggs and meat? A straight run gets you half roosters and half hens. A good plan here is to figure how many layers you want.

Then order a straight run of That most likely get you around 12 layers and 12 roosters. In some situations, however, it may be better not to have a rooster. Remember hens only cluck, they never crow. I once had one rooster for 30 hens. He ended up having a few favorites and they looked terrible. I introduced more roosters and the added competition kept him more at bay.

Guide to Designing the Perfect Chicken Coop

Even non-experts can tell if a bird is bright eyed and active. Try the Sustainable Poultry Network for a reputable breeder near you. Craigslist can also be great way to find local sources. You can always go to the feed store and look on the message board or ask a manager if they know anyone who sells chicks. If you must, Tractor Supply Co. Go late in the spring and you might even get a great deal. Hatcheries are businesses that artificially hatch chickens and poultry for commercial purposes.