Category: Animals

Pick The Best Day For Hatching Eggs

Hatched Chick

I’m a great believer in agricultural traditions and folk wisdom. That’s because much of what I learned about homesteading was passed onto me by the two generations of garden farmers that came before me. Heeding their advice enabled much success and fewer homesteading failures. One bit of advice that was given to me by those…

The Castration Of Bull Calves – The How & Why

Dairy Bull Calf Destined For The Freezer

Castration is any procedure that results in a male animal losing the function of the testes. When a bull is castrated he is known as a “steer”. Under normal circumstances calves raised for beef will be castrated not too long after their testicles descend into the scrotal sac. Sometimes a beef producer will wait to…

What You Need To Know About Dexter Cattle

Dexter Cattle

During the last 20 years or so there’s been an increased interest in smaller cattle for homesteads. The most popular breed of little cattle at present in the U.S. is Dexter cattle. Dexter cattle are a minor breed and do have a place on many small farms and homesteads. As a former Dexter breeder and…

Roosters – The Sacred Bird of January

A Dark Brahma Rooster

Did you know that the month of January, and the first day of every month during the year is associated with roosters? Well it’s true and I’ll tell you why. January is named for the ancient Etruscan god Janus. Janus/Jana was an androgynous, mythical creator sun-god and was considered to be the keeper of the…

Goat or Cow? The Right Homestead Dairy Animal For Your Family

Alpine Nanny Goat

So you are ready for a homestead dairy animal but don’t know which animal to choose. Should it be a dairy goat or a dairy cow? Here’s some practical advice to help you make the right decision. There’s A Difference My husband and I have a mixed dairy marriage. He’s a “goat person” and I’m…

An Easy Trick To Help Pick A Calm Cow

Low head Whorl

Selecting young cattle for future breeding is as much an art as it is a science. It’s a guessing game in regards to future temperament, productivity, milking ability and mothering. Temperament in cows is an important trait to keep in mind especially with a small herd. Temperament in many animals is hereditary. Good sound feet,…

Healthy Sheep Feet

Healthy Sheep Hoof

Elliot, my Border Cheviot ram has pretty good feet. His hooves haven’t been looked at in over a year and really don’t need too much trimming. I live in a very wet climate and often to deal with soggy pastures. Over the years I’ve noticed over that sheep with black hooves tend to do better…

Black Badger Face Border Cheviot Lamb

Badger Face Border Cheviot Lamb

Spring has finally arrived here in western Pennsylvania! Daffodils are beginning to bloom and lambing season is finished. For the most part this year’s lambing season went smoothly. But there was one big surprise. An unusual Badger Face ewe lamb was born about 10 days ago. The ewe lamb is a twin out of two…

Dexter Cattle Flaw – Bad Feet

Typical Dexter Calf

The calf in the center of the photo below is a year old purebred Dexter steer. He has the typically overgrown “elf booties” feet that are a major flaw of the breed. Follow the red arrow in the picture and notice how his hooves are fluted, pointy and upturned. The steer calf has never been…