Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why We Raise American Dominiques



Been thinking about getting chickens? Are you struggling to pick a breed for your small homestead or mini farm?



At first, I was drawn to the history and heritage of the Dominique--it is the oldest American breed and an endangered breed. But I later learned of all of the Dominique's wonderful and practical qualities and am convinced it is the ideal homestead bird.

Below are my top reasons for why we chose to stick with the American Dominique as the chicken breed for our family.

1. They are dual-purpose birds (good for meat or eggs)

2. They are excellent, dependable layers




3. They are INCREDIBLE foragers and very independent, also quite curious



4. They are very hardy, and seem to do just fine in cold harsh weather




5. They don't go broody too often, but will go broody when you want them to with the right factors in place.


6. They are good mothers and successful at raising chicks by themselves



7. Due to their inquisitive nature, they will usually try any type of new treat or leftover I give them to supplement their diet




8. We have not had any major problems with disease in our flock due to their hardiness



9. All of our Dominique roosters have been respectful, good protectors and providers, and have never been aggressive towards us. 




So there you have it. Yes, I am biased towards these birds :) If you do already raise Dominiques we have a great and active Facebook group page that you should definitely check out! 




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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring is Coming!




It's always exciting to me to see the first harbingers of Spring. After months of winter, even though I do love the snow, those early warm sunny days tease and remind me of how wonderful North Carolina Springs are.


Some of the first signs here are the blooming of the daffodils, or as some people down here call them, the "buttercups," and tops of tulips pushing through the ground. In our yard, the Hellebores are in bloom!







In the vegetable garden, tiny seedlings are sprouting while colder weather lettuces, collards, cabbages, kale, and onions are growing stronger and bigger before harvest.






Last year's pullets have all begun laying now, and we are getting armfuls of eggs each day! Perhaps later this spring we will let another hen go broody and hatch a clutch of chicks.



Inside the house I've stripped winter's decor and added some lighter Spring touches to enjoy and remind us of the season we are in.






I like for us to reflect the season in our diet too. We will be eating in-season vegetables such as cold-weather greens, asparagus, spinach, and the like. Traditionally we should be eating what we "put up" and preserved last summer (if only I had done more to preserve our harvest). This year I'm determined to be more motivated since I'm not carrying the weight of two babies around anymore. Of course, those babies now keep me extremely busy in other ways!

Because of all the extra time that goes into caring for the twins, we will not be raising turkeys this year :(  I'm really trying to simplify and do a good job with my top priorities in homesteading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle before delving into too many new pursuits. I must master the big things first!


Happy Spring,







Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Diapering Station



June and Georgia LOVE (usually) getting their diaper changed. I like to make it a fun time while they are up more at my eye level and they always have a ball kicking, smiling big and "talking" on the changing pad.



 I've been encouraged to share my diapering station and system that we have for the babies. It's very simple really, and what makes it so nice is that everything is within reach and easily accessible.


I have our changing pad on top of a dresser, the top drawer of which holds wipes and the diaper creams/ointments.





Above the changing pad hanging on the wall are two decorative baskets that hold diapers. When these get almost empty, I refill them with diapers that are stashed just to the right of the dresser against the wall. We keep other supplies here too for easy access within reach.


My mom got these colorful rattles and hung them from the baskets so the babies would have something to look at that makes noise while getting their diaper changed. They LOVE this- they know these rattles are there and always look up in wonder and smile big when I move them to make noise.


The sweet little lambs are also really soft rattles that we tied onto the baskets. We will get these down soon for them to play with.



I have the hamper placed right beside the left of the dresser on the floor so that when I'm changing clothes (located in the dresser drawers below) I can just toss the dirty ones down into the hamper without having to move or take my eyes off whichever baby I'm changing.





The diaper pail is placed on the wall below the window to the right of the changing station so that it too can be easily accessed without having to move or take my hands off the baby.



We originally intended to go with cloth diapers once the girls were big enough to begin wearing them (into size 1 diapers). However, this plan has not panned out--I confess, disposables are just too convenient at this point and honestly, I'm not sure the extra time spent having to wash loads of cloth diapers each week is worth it when you have twins to care for! Now if we had a cloth diaper service, I'd do cloth diapers in a heartbeat.

What about you? Do you have a special place or system for diapering that you would recommend?



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