Our first ducklings this year!

Earlier this week I was very discouraged about how my nests were doing. There has been more light-and noise pollution in our neighborhood and it had an impact on the way my animals behaved. I was worried more than one broody duck/chicken had abandoned her nest. Sorry about the shaky footage, but those are my…

New additions!

Last week I went shopping for some new Belgian hare breeding does. I couldn’t find any private sellers who had mature does available, so I went to the ‘konijnenmarkt’ in Mol, which is a small town on the Belgian/Dutch border. The market is over 100 years old and sells all sorts of small livestock; rabbits,…

Stormy weather and baby animals

The weather is still quite stormy, has been for about two weeks, and it’s keeping me from doing much outside. Despite this, granny duck, has decided to try to start a nest again. I am collecting duck eggs for her to sit on but keeping her nest clean and free from chicken eggs is proving…

Spring update

I knew that the gorgeous February weather would mean we’d get punished in March or April. And I was right. The winds are so strong here that it’s not possible to really do anything outside. We have greenhouses where we can work if it rains or snows, but with strong winds they feel like rattling…

Species we’d love to have living near us

To me, homesteading isn’t primarily about farming. Homesteading is about making use out of the many resources your environment offers. So, grow your vegetables, chop firewood and raise chickens. You are human and you know you feel better in a natural environment. Helping life go on, regenerating the soil, and stewarding the spot where God…

The problem with modern versions of heritage breeds

When I began focusing more on the poultry I kept, one of the first breeds I fell in love with was the Orpington. Gorgeous, big, fluffy chickens who were described to me as excellent layers of large eggs, great mother hens and they come in tons of fun colors! I’ve owned buff Orpingtons, partridge, silver-laced…

Keeping animals hydrated in winter

Last week, we finally saw our first snow. It seems as if winter has been arriving consistently later and later than it used to. I hope that trend isn’t real or at least reverses soon, because I don’t want the spring season to be any shorter than it already is. I’m looking forward to starting…

Plans for small livestock 2019

2018 was a great year for duck nests and raising chickens. The drought took a toll on the terrain, most of the grass hasn’t been able to regrow. I will need to make sure there are less animals to put pressure on the terrain. I have been slowly but surely butchering ducks and chickens since…

Visiting wildlife

One of the great things about having a big backyard or living on a farm-type location are the visitors you get. We live nearby a small, protected nature reserve, so we get a lot of interesting wildlife-visitors. In a densely populated setting, these deer are some of the largest wild animals that will appear. They…

New breeding rabbit!

I’ll confess something right here… I only have one group of livestock that pays for itself, plus earns me money. This money gets eaten quickly by animals I can’t sell or raise as efficiently. These fantastic animals who bring in some money for feed and vet bills are my Belgian hare rabbits. Jup, the skinny…

Keeping egg production up

Every chicken owner knows that egg production takes a nosedive when the days get short in fall. There is an egg season just like there is a cucumber, apple or tomato season. Most people who keep chickens to avoid buying eggs in the supermarket will prepare for this by either freezing eggs, pickling boiled eggs…

Raising rabbits: developing breeding stock

Rabbits are perhaps the cheapest, easiest and cleanest source of protein on a homestead, in an urban garden or on a small farm. Getting started with them isn’t always as easy as you’d want it. The importance of good breeding stock is impossible to overstate. In this post I’ll confess to some of the issues…

Beekeeping: I’m ready!

The most exciting new project I started in 2018 is certainly beekeeping! I have been fascinated by the life inside a hive, the life-cycle of these creatures and their habitat. Since October 2017 I have been taking classes with a local beekeepers’ association, and I have been getting my kit together. I made a hive…

Introducing: Muscovy ducks

Muscovy (or Barbary) ducks are perhaps most common type of domestic duck that you will find in Dutch and Belgian gardens. Since I was very small my family has often had Muscovy ducks, which we bred for meat and eggs. Several years ago, we decided to keep less animals in the garden, so ducks needed…

Introducing: runner ducks

Ducks are an important part of the Lowland Homestead. Where chickens prefer their living space to be dry, ducks thrive on the humid, cooler weather conditions that are so common in the Netherlands. The breed we know as the runner duck, is originally an Indonesian breed and is well adapted to life around rice paddies….