The Art of Aging Gracefully on the Homestead-Mother Earth News

We are in the current issue of Mother Earth News!

My latest contribution to the current issue of Mother Earth News has hit the news stand. This magazine for those of you who might not know it; is a guide to living wisely while being self-sufficient on the homestead or farm.

The article is titled Aging Gracefully on the Homestead. This is a piece about the challenges of senior homesteading; a topic we know a little something about.


Although I pitched an ongoing column geared to senior homesteading they opted for a one time “how-to” article. Perhaps they know more about the age of their readership than I do! My contribution was four photographs (out of the eight published) and a part of the text.

Double click on this PDF and I believe that the article will open up. aging-gracefully-1

Homesteading is hard work, and Gene and I are not getting any younger. I doubt anyone will argue with that. There are definitely multiple challenges to continuing to do the physical work required by homesteading as one gets older.

We moved to the Small House Big Sky Homestead fifteen years ago. We started out getting as much done as we could and added additional outdoor projects like the chicken complex and the water containment system each summer. And worked on the house during the winter months. This was a good thing we got a lot done in those early years since even then we weren’t spring chickens. (We were 50 and 55 years old.)

Eventually we got the major items on our to-do list knocked down. Every year we try to accomplish a project or two more outside during the nice weather and a few more small indoor project in the house during the indoor winter months.

Now that we are 65 and 72, our age and our health is beginning to be a real consideration. Fortunately, I started thinking about this several years ago. I asked myself what will I do and how will we manage when it becomes more difficult to do the work we need to do?

This past season I hired hourly help in the garden and yard. We found a local young girl of fourteen who is strong and looking to make some money for school clothes. It’s not a perfect system as Olivia is only available on Sunday afternoons because she runs cross county and runs her daily miles every school night, but we have managed to make it work. And this past winter when Gene had his hernia operation we hired a local small business in the short-term to plow our driveway and another local boy to run the snow blower to clear our paths.The total cash out of pocket during Gene’s recovery was less than $100.00.

Some homesteaders find an apprentice or a farm worker and offer room and board in exchange for work. Others turn a spare bedroom or cabin into an Air B&B for extra cash income on the homestead.

Obviously, there is more than one way to make this work but this is what is woring for us.

The moral of this story is to plan ahead about how you might make your elder years’ on the homestead work for you and how you can turn your homestead into a property that will sustain you when you are older.

I hope to convince the editors at MEN that a monthly column written by me with interviews of senior homesteaders who ARE making it work will be both inspirtional and informative.

To help support this idea please send your letters/e-mails to:Rebecca Martin>

As always, thank you for following and if you are aging homesteaders and want to share tips with me about how you have made senior homesteading work for you, please contact me. I am always looking for new ideas on how you in the hometead trenches are making it work!

Small House Big Sky Homesteader, Donna

Front Loader Pedestal Makeover

As many of you know front loaders washing machines and dryers require quite a bit of bending downing to load and unload them and that is why they sell these very expensive platform pedestals for them. When I bought my units over 10 years ago these matching pedestals cost $300.00 each. I have no idea what they cost now.

A friend of mine had mold in her old front loading washing machine and got rid of it. She bought a new top loader washer and dryer. I was lucky enough to inherit her old pedestal. I saw this as an opportunity to not have to bend quite so far down to remove my clothes from the dryer. And she saw this as an opportunity to save this piece from the landfill. Another win-win!

After maneuvering the pedestal into place and I realized that it stuck out quite a bit further that both machines did before. The power coated metal pedestal didn’t look as smooth as I would have like so I set my thinking cap on for a way to camouflage it.


Part of the wood base cut and screwed into place waiting to be painted. We also built and slid a top piece on to cover the metal base as well. 

When a not-so-pretty but highly functional pedestal base came our way for FREE we decided to take advantage of the windfall. Once it was in the my laundry room I then had to figure out a way to camouflage the unattractive metal. One day I was looking at our fireplace and realized the mantle cover up-piece was the exact answer I was seeking. All we had to do was build a kind of cabinet cover piece of wood, paint it and slip it over the offending pedestal and ta da, we now have a DYI pedestal cover!

Gene purchased the pine wood while in town one Monday and a friend helped us to cut it to size on his portable table saw one day when he came to Sunday dinner. I served Frank grilled salmon and chicken along with a fancy tossed salad…can you hear that refrain “I work for food!”

washer-and-dryer-from-angle-and-rugI primed the raw wood using Zinsser sealer and primer and then painted the frame pieces in a Benjamin More white semi-gloss trim paint to make it blend in nicely with the white washer and dryer. I had contemplated staining it in the maple wood tones to match my laundry room cabinets but I also realized that color matching pine with a maple finish was a time-consuming project I did not want to get involved in at that time.

I admit that the tight fitting appliancedwere a real pistol to get into the snug space between the existing two cabinets but with the help of our two friends and lot of jiggling we managed it. When I had my cupboards layout designed the kitchen designer asked me if I planned on having a pedestal installed and I said then, I did not. I wanted them of course but the added expense was pretty hard to justify.

I could however justify the expense of my commercial-size top-loading washing machine because prior to buying it I had been driving the 10 miles into town (and back) at least once a month to wash our bed quilt. Iwas alsomaking that drive  more often to wash seasonal items like my husband’s heavy hunting coats and outside work clothes. That drive, my time, plus the extra $10-$15.00 cash spent at the laundromat eeach month basically paid for the move up from the standard size machine to the commercial at home size washer.


Anna our RIR photo bombs the photograph of the washer and dryer before we added the pedestal.

I love my front loading machines and have been very, very happy with them. I know from reading on-line articles that there was a class action suit on these machines due to mold that developed in the rubber seal located just inside the door. But I have been very careful from the beginning to carefully wipe out all of the moisture in the rubber seal after every wash and then to leave the door open to dry out thoroughly overnight. With this small extra effort, I’ve never had an issue of mold in my machine.

That small extra effort paid off big.

Small House Big Sky Homestead, Donna

Decorating the Yard for Halloween

We took a few minutes this week to make our pole barn driveway a bit more welcoming for friends and family. We put out our painted scarecrow to give our yard a bid of seasonal piazza.

Scarecrow pumpkin stnes maybe

This guy always gives me a boost!

Pole rn bed with scaecrow entire

This is the flower bed at our driveway that greets our visitors.

I love to decorate for the season but this year I have been so busy that it has just not happened. A few colorful mum’s, a vintage rusty wheel barrel and our scarecrow will be it for this year.

Pumpkins and white aster like USE


VERT Mum white at crab apple bed USE

VERT close

Fall House front blue sky

Our small house under a big sky…

Small House Homesteader, Donna

A Cup Half Full and a Belief in Miracles

Gene and I had “The Talk” yesterday. Fall is a time of intensive labor on our homestead; what we call “The Fall Rush.” So much has to be done in a short amount of time, the stress builds and tempers flare. We are working hard to beat the first flakes of snow and the big freeze that is soon to arrive on our SW Michigan property.

Vegetable Garden July 25.15

Our vegetable garden at its peak this past July.

While we do struggle with the massive amounts of work to keep up our homestead and gardens here, I shared with Gene how blessed and fortunate I believe we are.

We are in fact truly privileged. We have health insurance coverage, we have a warm, comfortable and safe home, we own two, paid off vehicles and while none of these belongings are new or fancy, I have made the choice to look at our life like a glass half full and feel the bounty not the scarcity.

Meadow boarder gorgeous USE

The meadow edge is the perfect habitat for butterfly’s, dragonflies and birds.

I remember vividly when 18 years ago we met at ages 45 and 50, both divorced and he was in massive debt. We had nothing between us except my small, 75-year-old Fairview city home. With only our mid-life energy, a dream and a drive to rebuild our lives together we set a goal to retire here and to build a more sustainable life together.

Goldy side view on star use

One of our four rescued Cochin Bantams.

With the tools of a strict budget, books, the Internet and nothing but the hard work from our own four hands we now own a productive 5-acres, a nicely fixed up older home, food gardens, chickens and a debt-free retirement. Neither of us had high paying jobs, divorce support or an inheritance – just a solid plan, a belief in the abundance of the Universe and our trust that miracles can happen and one did.

Apples egg chives todays harvest

Today’s homestead gatherings’ apples, chives and a Rhode Island Red egg!

I am grateful for every sunrise, every tomato and apple and every day of good health. We are not just counting our years…we are making our years count.

4 275 gallon totes

Our water collection and storage system irrigates our property.

Here a piece written by Permaculture expert, Ben Faulk…it says what I would like to articulate today but cannot.

VER frame horse trought sunfloers interesting USE

The chicken coop, run (in progress) and water trough from the vegetable garden.

“Perhaps it’s good when something you expect doesn’t happen because it enables you to appreciate all the other things you might have missed. And as long as we’re sufficiently fed, what’s life about anyway? Certainly, for me anyway, NOT simply more physical yields. This makes me think of Fukuoka’s dictum that “the ultimate goal of farming is not the cultivation of crops but the perfection of human beings.” I don’t like the word “perfect” but with each passing year I find myself agreeing with him more about a lot of things. In permaculture we say “Obtain a Yield.” Hmmm. Sounds a bit colonial for permaculture. And “A” yield? Singular? Color, shade, aroma, beauty, companionship, pollen, soil, nesting habitat, oxygen. All these things and many more have already been yields of these trees and they’re just getting started. At some point a tree’s yield in fruit or nut or wood becomes a bonus, not it’s core value. We need to eat, to be sure. But yields are subtle and myriad. “Get a Yield?” Sure. But perhaps we should say instead “Don’t forget to notice all the yields.”

Our Small House homestead yields are more than just tasty organic food and eggs, our yields also include a safe, warm home, a healthy organic environment of plentiful oxygen provided by majestic White Oak trees, their leaves and the blessings of flowers, sunshine, clean air and human happiness.

Small House homesteader, Donna

The Joys and the Struggles of Homesteading

Gene and I have been homesteaders now for 15 years. I can say without a doubt from our in-depth, first-hand experience; homesteading brings both tremendous joys and struggles. This is a definitely a life-style choice that is not for the faint of heart.

Fully flowered mailbox July great USE

Our homesteads mailbox in summer.

There is often a thick vein of “romance” running through the many practical needs associated with homesteading. People think most often of the being their own boss; the freedom of no more 9 to 5 grind, sleeping in everyday and no commute or punching the clock to make it to work in the morning.

Barn front and long side NICE

Another summer view of our pole barn, gravel drive way and barn garden.

The prevalent view is that homesteading is about “simple living” but there is nothing remotely simple or romantic about homesteading. The hard truth is, homesteading, like farming, has never been easy.

Not a simple life; there is a seasonal rhythm and an order to this life that I love.

Fall House front blue sky

A November view of the homestead after the White Oak leaves have fallen.

We work harder here than we ever did in our city jobs. This is hard physical labor that causes our joints and our muscles to hurt as well as our feet. We rise earlier and work later. We earn no paid vacation, no insurance or traditional benefits and yet, for now, I cannot see us doing anything else.

Because we are aging, I know that in the near future we will turn the stewardship of this place over to another family. I pray that is a young couple who desire to homestead and who value the accomplishments we have made here during our tenure. It is my hope that their youth and skills can take our home and property to the next level. There is room to building a sturdy shed and fencing in the empty meadow which would be perfect for miniature goats. There is land for more fruit trees too and more home-grown food.

Long view of garden and barn

Side view of our fenced in vegetable garden and raspberry patch/chicken run.

We have experienced multiple challenges while living here. We had the serious challenge of flooding that killed our original fruit orchard, removed our soil from the vegetable gardens and took its toll on our belongings. But no matter what life or the weather throws at us life on the homestead goes on.

We have had several unplanned set-backs and jaw-dropping expenses like the failing septic and drain field just three months after we moved in. Or the stressful and unplanned $10,000 flood extension assessment that forced us to leave retirement and take minimum wage city jobs for the years it took us to earn the cash we needed.

Injuries too are always a fear because then I know then we could not manage the daily or seasonal work. At our advancing age surgery and illness are always in the back of our minds. We have to bring in the harvest in spite of being laid up and no matter what happens to us, there are animals to feed and we have to get the work done.


Flood water surrounded the Small House.



Flooding on the gravel road behind our property.

Unless you are wealthy and can pay hired help, homesteading is in reality a long 12-hour day with very few days off to play. Homesteading can be lonely, isolating and means never-ending work. Homesteading is also a labor of love that takes strength, stamina, perseverance and guts. We have learned there is a feeling of pride in our capacity for survival even through the hardest of times.

Chicken Run from barn USE

Our chicken coop and run in dryer more recent days.

Then why did we choose this life?

Meadow light color

The beauty of our meadow edge.

On the flip side of the struggle, there is being the master of your own fate and the joys that brings. No office job can satisfy in the same way the growing of your own wholesome food or managing your land in positive ways. These are satisfactions that do not have to translate into money.

There is a great fulfillment in starting with basically nothing but the land and making something of that. We get to work outside, with our hands, to watch the birds, the trees and the sky as the seasons change. There is a daily beauty in a  life of non-monetary abundance that is hard to put into words.

Bench set up with milk NICE

We choose homesteading because we wanted to have more control over the food we eat. We wanted outdoors work, to create with our hands and to keep chickens and large dogs. Gene wanted to blacksmith and I wanted create works of art from the handmade paper that I fashioned from the plants I grew. I wanted to live a life of conservation, to be more sustainable and provide a first-hand example to my children and grandchildren that they might not otherwise see I this modern and material world.

omfrey close chicken run in rear

The bottom line is that in homesteading you learn new skills and you learn to rely on your wits and your own grit and no one but you are responsible for your success or your failure.

I hear from many people who tell me this is what they want to have. Knowing the hardships… is this still the life for you?

Small House homesteader, Donna

Monday on the Homestead


White flowers at coner of porch

These white aster like blooms really draw in the bees.

Monday as you recall is our super busy on-the-road day. And this Monday was no different; with yoga, lunch with yoga friends, groceries, errands, a doctors appointment followed by PT for my foot.

I’m sharing some recent homestead photographs today for your enjoyment.

Back of house and chairs USE

The back view of our home and home garden beds.

grasswalkway and blooms flowers USE

Meadow light color

Two views of our August meadow.

VER frame horse trought sunfloers interesting USE


Gene working on the portable forge.

VEET inside forge

The inside of the White Oak Forge with the vintage anvil, forge and tools.

Rhodies gawly four month old USE

Ilsa is the only Rhodie we can tell apart from the others due to her dark feathers.

Rhodie head close up

One of the three unnamed Rhode Island Red triplets. I can’t tell them apart long enough to actually name them!

Snowball and ffreckels eating USE

Cochin buddies.

Two black Cochins USE

Cochin/Phoenix mix.

Have a great Monday!

Small House homesteader, Donna


Picking and Processing Peaches

One of the best things about living in SW Michigan is the wonderful fruit grown here. We have orchards filled with fruit and in every direction you look. Blueberries, cherries, sweet and tart, luscious peaches, apples of every variety – yum!

Peaches low in orchard USE FIRST

Sweet tasting peaches are the real reward of today’s peach picking event.

Since our peach trees are not producing yet we go to a local orchard and pick peaches nearly every year. Today we drove to and picked a bushel of Red Havens. Red Haven peaches were developed by Liberty Hyde Bailey just 17 miles from where we live in nearby South Haven, MI. They are the perfect peach for our weather, soil and USDA Zone.

Two trees in the orchard

Autumn clouds and a brisk wind made the picking perfect!

In less than 20 minutes we picked a bushel and headed home to process the first half of them that were ripe s and ready. Because pantry space is limited for us, I always freeze our peaches. Hubby and I tag team; I peel and cut and he adds the coconut sugar, lemon juice and seals the bags using our Food Saver.

Peaches in trees USE

Red Haven peaches are perfect!

Freezing Peaches:

4 cups peaches

1 Tablespoons lemon juice

½ to ¾ cup sugar

Ziplock bag or Food Saver after squeezing out excess air

Zip and freeze

Gene peches USE

Hubby picking in the orchard.

We are going to eat like kings this winter!

Small House homesteader, Donna





Hot and Muggy on the Homestead- July 13-20 Photo Diary

LOVE THIS flag and catmint bedIt’s been a hot and muggy week in SW Michigan. I’ve been under the weather this week with a painful bacterial infection so have done what needs to be done around the homestead and left the rest. We are also getting ready for our guests arrival.

VERT pick daylilies and brick bed interesting view USE

Studio sidgarden NICE

The homesteads flowers are at their peak right now – so lovely.

Sunflower straight on

Three sisters sunflower close

The Rhodies are going in and out of their new coop this week. last night three out of four of them went in when it was time to go to bed, leaving just one for me to catch and put in.

Rubeckis bed close

Snowball puzzled look

I picked and we ate our first Provider green beans, snow peas and yellow sweet peppers from that garden.

Rubeckis bed closeVERT pool shack garden USE


Traingle fruit trees BEST view

ROR on her soapbox USE

path from woods side

Eating and posing USETHIS ONE

I hope you enjoy some of the photographs from this week.

Small House homesteader Donna


Kicking off July 4th Week on the Homestead

Today marks the beginning of our July 4th holiday weekend.

Some of our dear friends are in town from Chicago and Gene took their house guests fishing on a small inland lake near us. One guest is a 15-year-old grandson from the city and the other a man who emigrated from Cuba to New York three years ago. They are fishing for pan fish; bluegills, small mouth bass and the like. Gene is a catch and release kind of man due to his environmental belief’s that tells him to put them back in for another days fishing.

Gene is probably the only man in the state, beside an actual licensed fishing guide, that can outfit four men on a moment’s notice but he did.

Fishing Expedition 4 some

 The motley crew fishermen dressed.

I stayed home to finish todays chicken coop painting and then I started cooking our main meal for the day. My actual big project for the day is to finally do a deep clean on our three season porch. Because this room is unheated it acts like a magnet for cobwebs, buds and dirt, especially living off of a gravel road. Even the heavy-duty fabric chairs are thick with road dust so everything from the ceiling down to the floor gets a good solid vacuum. Even the vinyl vertical blinds have to be washed of dirt and mold spots. It’s been a cold and wet spring and summer thus far in SW Michigan so the mold has grown in this unheated room. Then later on this week Gene will wash the floor to ceiling windows.

Threesome fishermen

No fish….but muscles galore.

We have been working really hard for months to get our garden planted, our big yard in shape and house cleanup because July is the beginning of our guest arriving for the summer. A girlfriend will be coming out later on this weekend to pick herbs for drying and making tinctures. Our granddaughter arrives on Sunday for a few days stay. Another friend arrives from Oregon and I promised to help her pack up her home here and lift furniture and pack it in a U-Haul. Then the third week of this month our grown daughter from NC comes for an extended stay. So everything we have been trying to accomplish since the snow melted in March has been leading up to this month.

I also began to soak the beans for the big crock pot of “Blacksmith Baked Beans” I am taking to our family reunion on Sunday. I will cook them tomorrow; put the mixed into the crock pot to cook on low so that the molasses and BBQ sauces gets soaked clear through. Yum! I have included the recipe below.

Cast Iron pan with rice USE

The rice casserole with sweet potatoes in our cast iron dutch oven.

Today I am cooking the following for dinner;

  • Baking organic sweet potatoes
  • Baking my favorite baked brown and wild rice with kale casserole
  • Steamed green beans
  • And of course a big tossed salad using some of the early greens from the garden
  • Compare equal portions of brown and white rice and you’ll find that brown rice has fewer calories and more nutrition. I use all organic ingredients.
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 1 cup cabbage, minced and saluted 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1½ cups long grain brown rice 1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth 2¼ cups water
  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 green pepper (or pepper color of choice)
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash or sweet potato
  • 1 cup (or 4 medium sized) sliced organic Bella mushrooms
  • Cooking Method:
  • 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • 2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Then add the minced garlic, chopped cabbage, green peppers and cook while stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • 3. Add the rice and cook stirring occasionally until the grains turn translucent around the edges.
  • 4. Add the broth and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir the rice so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. If you are using a 10-inch Dutch oven or smaller, cover the rice, place it in the oven, and cook until the rice is tender. This should take about 45 to 50 minutes. If you are using a larger pot, transfer the rice mixture to a suitable-size casserole and cover tightly before placing it in the oven. (Larger Dutch ovens will cook the rice too fast and create too many problems.)
  • I like to add my 4 mushrooms to the top of the casserole for looks.
  • 5. When the rice is fully cooked, remove it from the oven. Gently fluff the rice with a fork, and set it aside for about five minutes before serving
  • Casserole with top USE

The kale rice casserole in its baking dish on its way into the oven.

Blacksmith Baked Beans:

  • The original recipe called for any 5, 15 ½ oz. cans of beans, drained. I used 4 to 5 cups of these dry beans; pinto, navy, black beans and great northern beans; soaked, rinsed and cooked.
  • Put beans in a crock pot and mix in the following ingredients;
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBS prepared mustard
  • 6 slices crumbled bacon (I use ¾ cup of soy bacon bits)
  • 1 large onion chopped and sautéed
  • 1 clove garlic minced (I use 3 TBS of crushed garlic from Sam’s’ Club)
  • ¾ cup KC’s BBQ sauce (my secret ingredient!) (Look for a sauce with catsup as the first ingredient not corn syrup- as that syrup is a bad, bad thing for your health.)
  • 1 ½ lb. smoked kibassa or sausage
  • Mix up and cook until done. This recipe has a bit of zing to it due to the garlic and the BBQ sauce
  • Pan of sweet poatoes USE

Oven baked organic sweet potatoes…so simple, so delicious!

I hope you enjoy a great holiday weekend too!

Small house homesteader, and cook Donna

Call Me The Chicken Keeper Renegade

I’ve been researching broody hen pros and cons, and white it might be the “common” thing to do I have found no scientific studies that have proven to me why a broody hen must be broken of her broodieness.

Three Amigoes in nest box

I am interested on this topic because I have three Cochins bantams all gone “serial broody”all at once. (From what I read broodiness is genetic and some breed i.e. Cochins are known for being a broody breed.) After weeks of having my hens penned up in the dog kennel nothing has changed in their broodiness. Even the hens that “appeared” to be broken were back to being broody again in a week or so.

Goldie in pen  Dog kennel used as pen to break a broody hen.

The current practice is to take a broody hen and play her in a dog kennel or a chicken wire box for a week or two until she is “broken” of her hormones. Some also advocate plunging the hen in a pan of cool water to cool her down to end the hormonal cycle. The goal, I am told is to make them uncomfortable enough to want to go back to the and or to cool the off enough that they also head back to a normal schedule. Quite frankly both of those “options” sound inhumane to me.

Goldie closer USE

Goldy was broody when I was in Oregon for two weeks. My husband was in charge.

We do have one dog kennel that is being use right now as the temporary nighttime sleeping quarters of our newest four RIR pullets until their new coop in completed.

Crate on dest bath sandbox USE

The current sleeping pen of our four Rhode Island Red pullets.

I keep wondering just why everyone is so intent on breaking a broody hen? I can understand the chicken keeper whose livelihood depends on selling eggs wanting their chickens to lay (and of course we know that a broody hen does are not laying.) But really why is going broody such a terrible thing for a chicken? I find no scientific studies describing any ill effects in health for a broody hen except losing weight.

I remove my broody hens from the nest box three times a day to eat, dust, poop and drink. Knowing they are physically okay, why is it that I am “commanded” to break them from their broodiness?

I am a natural chicken keeper. This means I let nature take its course when ever possible , boost my hens immunity with herbs and garlic and it does not feel right to me to force the from being broody by breaking them in the manner described above. I feel the same way about training my dog with love rather than through the pain of a shock collar. It may be the common course of action to “break a broody,” but my instincts are telling me that it is not humane.

My one Cochin momma went broody, laid her eggs and brooded them. She mothered those chicks for over 5 months without suffering any ill effects. Yes, she lost weight, but I fed her well and she rebounded well.

I know what it is like to be a victim on ones hormones and to have one’s life not be in one’s own control Maybe I am a softy. But as a healer this breaking process does not feel like the best course of action to take as long as my hens are not in a life-threatening position.

Goldy side view on star use

Goldy taking some sun on a warm day.

Some say that they get out of condition when they brood? Out of condition for what? Yes, they lose some weight when brooding, I get that. But it’s June and my hens have five months to get back into shape before winter arrives.

My broody hens are around nine months old and are in very healthy shape having received organic feed, fresh crushed garlic and immune system building herbs since they were two weeks old. They have never had mites or any other illness. They are young and healthy with natural hormones.

Freckles and Sweet pea in the nesting box

How many chickens does it take to heat up a nest box?

Maybe the breakers just don’t want to feed a hen that is not producing. Again I can understand that position as my hens are also egg layers but they are also my pets. I don’t plan to cull them when they stop laying, I’ll let them live out their natural lives in a gentle retirement as a reward for a job well done.

After all isn’t that what all women (humans to chickens) want, need and deserve?

Stay tuned for the end of this story….as the song says, I could be wrong, but I could be right…

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna