Preparing for Spring on the Homestead

You might be interested in my article 20 Warning Signs You’re a Seed Junkie.

Coming Soon ~Spring on The Homestead

Spring seems so far away with all the snow and ice outside my window. It’s 16 F but the sun is shining and my flock is braving the cold to soak up some rays today. I think they’re looking forward to spring too. Technically, spring starts in less than a month and there are so many things that need to be done. So I really can’t just sit and daydream about soft breezes and green leaves.

Maybe just one more variety of lettuce...then I'll stop.

Maybe just one more variety of lettuce…then I’ll stop.

Gearing Up for Gardening

I went through all of my leftover seed packets this winter and made a shopping list. The orders came in and are all organized. This week I plan to clean up my seed starting area in the basement, purchase a new timer for the lights, and jot down the dates I need to start seeds on my calendar. I’ll need to start my onions from seed soon, and leeks too. Last year I shared an in depth post on How to Start Seedlings Indoors, in case you need a free refresher.

When the snow melts, I’ve got quite a mess to clean up in the garden. Last fall was so busy I never got the garden cleaned up and ready for winter. So that will be a big part of my late winter and early spring chores. I’m hoping to move all of the composted manure into the garden too. Whew…I’m getting tired just thinking about it!

My young tom turkeys are strutting their stuff!

I plan to raise more turkeys for meat this year.

 

Turkey & Duck Tractors

I’m hoping to have turkeys and ducks for meat this year and I’ll need new enclosures for them. They will need a higher protein feed than the layers and I’d like to try something I read about on this blog…The Valhalla Project. It looks like a pretty simple way to construct extra enclosures for the meat animals for summer. I’ll update you later this year on that project.

Turkey eggs for hatching!

Turkey eggs for hatching!

 

Firing Up the Incubators ~ Again!

Well, this doesn’t just happen in the spring around our homestead. I’ve hatched in autumn and winter too. In fact, I have 14 fuzzballs bopping around a brooder box in the guest room as I write. But now the hatching frenzy starts in earnest! I have a dozen turkey eggs that are going in the incubator today, with more to follow as the turkey hens continue to lay. I don’t know if these eggs are fertile, my breeding trio is untested. So I ordered a few broad breasted turkeys, just to be on the safe side.

I’ll probably hatch more chicks and ducklings this spring too. I’d like to have ducks for the freezer this summer and my laying hens are getting a little bit geriatric…so they’ll need to be replaced before long. If you are considering adding some baby poultry this spring, here are the basics for hatching and brooding chicks successfully.

Young Cornish X chicken.

Young Cornish X chicken.

 

Ordering Ducklings & Chicks

With all the action going on in our incubators, you might be wondering why on earth I would need to order any day old poultry. Well, I probably don’t need to order any. However, I want to order some meat chicks and I’m adding Khaki Campbells ducks to our flock this year too. I’ve read such great things about their egg production that I really want to try them out. They aren’t very good for meat, so I’ll keep some Pekins for meat production.

The ducklings will arrive on March 11th and my next order will be due the same day, if I order through our local feed store. So I have a little time to plan ahead and think about what other breeds of poultry I might want to add to our flock this year. This is a rather dangerous timeline…it gives me time to drool over all the descriptions of chicken breeds!

Planning ahead for spring is the best part of winter on my homestead! What plans are you ‘hatching’ for spring? Will you hatch or order chicks or other poultry? Do you plan to have a garden this year? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

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