Foragers, Food, and Sustainability

Loam and Arrow Homestead

Written by: loamandarrow

May 14, 2024

You can officially call me a crazy chicken lady. It won’t hurt my feelings one bit. 😉 We are adding a few purebred babies to the mix, so we shall see how this turns out. Praying we have minimal Roos hatch, but that is wishful thinking for sure. I joke about how many chickens we have, but I promise, in all seriousness, it’s all for good reason. #1- I LOVE being in FULL CONTROL over one form of food for our family. The source of our hens, what they eat, how often they pasture (which is now every day from around 8 am to dusk), how happy they are, etc. #2 – I really do love learning good livestock husbandry. It’s a skill and an important one. Too many of us rely on the grocery store and leave these skills for someone else. Chicken husbandry isn’t that difficult, but it takes time and effort for sure. It’s not glamorous, but it’s rewarding knowing that I have a life-keeping, life-giving, and life-saving skill that feeds my family. And chickens are so funny to watch…our little dinosaurs make me laugh. #3 – We are on a little over 5.5 acres, so the weeds (aka medicinal plants; that’s another post for another day), bugs, ticks, etc, all need to be kept in balance. We have employed the best little “Loam and Arrow Lawn Crew” to help us with this project. We give them lots of space to roam, feed them well, lots of fresh water daily and they give us their labor in return. Oh and loads of poo, no doubt! It needs to be dealt with daily when it ends up on the steps and porch, and not where it can easily be added to the compost, but that’s okay. I can do hard things. 🤣 Just a note: (For us) No amount of money from eating egg sales will ever be able to outweigh the cost of feed, supplements, bedding, feeders, waterers, coop additions or repairs, saddles, injury meds and supplies, treats, etc. I’m always adding new babies to the flock because it takes 6-8 months for a hen to grow out to laying age, then only really has 2-3 years of good egg production, minus times of molting and broodiness, and the slowing down at winter time. Minus more if we lose any to predators. So, it’s taking me some time to figure out which breeds are best to have in a mixed flock and for what reasons. Chickens are at least $5 each and upwards to $100+ depending on the breed, with only a few years at best to produce. So those cheap eggs at the store that come from caged high-producing hens that sit or stand in one spot their entire lives? They don’t even come close to the quality of eggs coming from pastured chickens. (I feel another post brewing). So, please. Seek out local eggs and support your farmers or backyard homesteaders. Or if you want to stick with storebought, please pick up the pastured eggs when you can. And at the very least, the free range. It seems like there is only one reason to consider when choosing your ideal chicken, and that would be for high production of eggs. But I can attest, that other reasons should be considered. Temperament, feed-to-egg ratio based on body weight, good foragers versus poor foragers, flighty or docile, high production versus poor production, egg size, egg color for us that love a pretty egg basket, cold hardy or heat tolerant, critical, threatened and heritage breeds and whether or not we want to assist in successful and responsible breeding of those breeds that need help staying around. Maybe one day we will figure out the formula to make a little extra, but for now, that’s not the case. Our goal is to be able to feed our family as many eggs as we need, cover the cost of feeding the flock, and create a happy home for them and us. 💕 Baby steps for sure.

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Did you know? Currently, all proceeds from our egg and poultry sales go directly back to the homestead to assist in...