What are the best laying hens? The answer will vary, depending on your needs. First, ask yourself some basic questions: What is your purpose for getting chickens? Do you primarily want a good source of eggs? If so, how many eggs do you want in a week? What egg color do you want? Will your chickens be more like pets than working livestock? Do you want a dual purpose breed so that you get a little meat? [Read more…]
Sniffly, sneezy, achy? Surrounded by respiratory ailments of one kind or another? Never fear, help is on the way! This time of year it seems that almost everyone is sick, but there are simple ways to reduce the risk of illness in your household and speed healing if you do get sick. Here are 10 tips for natural flu prevention and treatment. [Read more…]
The spirit of Vincent Van Gogh visited my squash patch! Lest you think I have been sniffing the catnip, look at this squash! When we found this, we gazed at it in wonder. The intricate pattern is definitely not random. Did my artistic son sneak into the garden and prank me with this complex artwork? The vibrantly colored red Kuri squash looks as if someone took a teeny tiny woodburning tool and painstakingly etched a wonderful pattern just into the outer skin of the fruit, leaving the inner layer of the hull intact. When we found a second one, we knew this was not a prank. We posted a photo and a wise Common Sense Home reader told us that this was caused by a disease, the papaya ringspot virus, also known as papaya mosaic virus.
Say WHAT?! What is that and what is it doing in my Northeast Wisconsin garden? (We certainly don't have papayas nearby.) I had to do some research, which I'll share here with you. [Read more…]
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the pile of interesting scraps on the other side of the road, of course! Commercial producers feed a highly controlled diet to their birds, and there are good reasons for that. Backyard hobbyists and homesteaders love to give treats to their girls. We'll talk about what to feed chickens and what not to feed chickens to keep your flock happy and healthy. [Read more…]
Holistic Goat Care delivers what the subtitle promises– “A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Healthy Animals, Preventing Common Ailments, and Troubleshooting Problems”. The chapters take you from understanding goat behavior to a breakdown of health problems, divided out according to the body system affected. Gianaclis Caldwell intersperses technical information with personal stories of successful goat operations, which keeps the book from becoming just a bunch of formulas. She freely shares her own successes and failures. [Read more…]