• Homestead Animals

    A Goat Birth Story

    The One Hour Homestead is happy to introduce our newest goat kid!  This adorable little doeling was born on May 8.  Although this was our fifth kidding, it was the first one I was able to watch–so exciting, nerve-wracking and just…amazing.  For details of the goat birth story read along below. I was expecting Marmalade to kid between days 145-150 of gestation.  She held out until the last minute.  I began checking on her every few hours when I was home and coming home for lunch to do mid-day checks once we reached this window of expected delivery.  Finally, when the big day came, I noticed some signs of labor…

  • photo of goat
    Homestead Animals

    Play the Guessing Game–When Will the Goat Kid?

    For mini goats, such as ours, kidding usually occurs between days 145-150 of gestation.  For Marmalade, this year’s dates are between May 3 and May 8.  Or, any time now. Signs a Doe is Getting Close to Kidding Her udder will fill up.  For my goats, this starts about a month before kidding.  Their udders slowly bag up, but a day or so before kidding, it seems to almost double in size Her tail ligaments relax.  Ligaments on either side of the doe’s tail head soften in preparation for easing the kids through the birthing canal.  In the day or so before birth, they seem to almost disappear.  These can…

  • photo of compost from deep litter
    Garden,  Homestead Animals

    Deep Litter Benefits

    This is the stuff gardeners dream about.  It can be elusive and expensive, but it is so rich, and I always want more.  Black gold.  Or you may know it as…compost.  There are many ways to make or procure compost, but one of the easiest is to collect the final product of a winter’s worth of deep litter from the animals in the barn and chicken coop. Managing animal waste is an issue to consider when adding animals to the homestead.  The small homesteader tries to minimize the amount of inputs to their farm in order to decrease cost, time and effort.  For example, each trip to the garden center…

  • photo of chicken in a wire cage
    Homestead Animals

    Broody Hen Fail–Breaking Broody

    If it looks she is in jail, well, that’s not too far off. The broody chicken was doing a good job for a week and a half of the three week incubation period. Locked up safely in the dog crate, she sat on the 10 eggs which were piled up toward the rear of the crate. It seemed that she would get up once or twice a day for just a few minutes, to eat, drink and relieve herself, but then she was right back to keeping those eggs warm. I was worrying a bit…temperatures were in the mid-20’s at night and only 30’s during the day. A bit of…

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    Homestead Animals

    Dealing with Dirty Eggs

    Mud season (also knows as spring in some areas) is in full swing in northeast Ohio.  In addition to dealing with muddy boots and shoes, we also have muddy eggs.  With the chickens continuing to insist on laying eggs in the barn rather than the nice nest boxes in their coop, they trek back and forth all day through the path they have worn, which is now…sticky, thick mud. The Bloom Most of us know that eggs are best left unwashed.  Just prior to being laid, the eggs are covered with a layer of protective bloom.  This coating seals the shell, keeping any harmful bacteria out.  Once wet, however, the…

  • Broody hen
    Homestead Animals

    Broody Hen–Countdown to Chicks

    We have another expectant mother at the One Hour Homestead! Mark your calendars for 21 days from now. A broody hen is sitting on a nest of eggs; in a few weeks we should have a clutch of fluffy little peeps. Our little farm has about 13 or so resident hens, of a variety of laying breeds. No rooster is required for the ladies to lay eggs, but without one they are not fertilized. Occasionally, a chicken will ‘go broody’. This most likely happens in spring or summer. The hen determines that she wants to hatch some chicks, then sets a nest. She lays a clutch of eggs, and sometimes…

  • Homestead Animals

    Countdown to Kidding: Preparing for Goat Kids

    I have lost track of time this spring. Maybe because it still feels like winter; snow is predicted for a couple of days next week. A check of the calendar noted, however, that the first goat kids are due in only five weeks!  How do I know this?  In December, my doe was bred.  Fortunately, I remembered to mark the calendar for the expected date of kidding.  Typically, a goat’s gestation is 150 days.  However, miniature goats typically deliver closer to day 145.  My does are 75% Nigerian Dwarf and 25% Lamancha, so I plan for the earlier delivery date.  Over the last two years, the does have delivered kids between day 144…

  • Homestead Animals

    Homestead Goats

    Originally, the plan was for a family cow.  I could visualize it so clearly when we finally found this property a few years ago…a lovely jersey cow would graze the green grassy areas.  We would fence in the pastures and rotate her through smaller paddocks.  There would be milk, butter and cheese! Then we moved in and I learned a little more about the land we live on.  I studied more about fencing and other needs of livestock.  And the more I learned, the further off in the distance the vision became.  Why?  What changed? Well, after living here for a few months, some issues with the soil and land…

  • Homestead Animals

    Homestead Ducks

    “Ducks are messy, loud and they smell.  Are you sure you want them?” This from man who posted an ad on Craigslist last summer advertising Indian Runner ducklings for sale.  Interesting sales technique. “I’ll take three; one of each color,” I replied.  The daughter and I had trekked to his small homestead and ogled the pens of various breeds of ducks, geese, and chickens, as well as his goats.  By the time we arrived back home with the new additions, I could verify that he was correct on two of three accounts. My interest in this new-to-me variety of poultry stemmed from a youtube video.  Ducks who keep the insects…