(8/14/11) I finally got my own ten acres where I can build my "Kingdom" of self sufficiency! My Paradise lies within an island of pines that surround our house way back in a field. The property came with its original large Chicken House with a concrete floor. I somehow was able to move all my truck cap coups to the new place, but many lie waiting to be resurrected.We have been here for over six months now and I am still recovering from giving birth to my daughter and many months of inactivity!
I've been keeping chickens since 2006. I have experimented with many types of chicken housing, having to outwit raccoons and other predators along the way. I have endured many a sad morning of finding dead bodies strewn about. But I don't give up easily, I learn from it. Most always it was my fault and not entirely the raccoons, though they seem like wasteful and blood thirsty killers. I like tractor-pens because you don't have to clean anything, you just move them. I have many types of tractor pens, even ones made of electrical conduit, light and durable, yet slightly harder to make. I really enjoy designing and building coops, especially when I can re-purpose materials in a thrifty manner. I have several coops and sheds made from free truck caps.
I currently am torn over keeping too many breeds of chickens, including Buckeyes, Welsummers, Blue Copper Marans, and Speckled Sussex. I now have bantam silver laced wyandottes, and working on obtaining Vorwerk bantams. I have at one point or another also kept Old English Game Bantams, Black Australorps, bobwhites quails, Coturnix quails, SL Wyandottes, Easter Eggers, and Silkies. I would prefer to not have so many chickens (breeds) because it gets expensive to feed them now days. This year I started working with turkeys, and while I very much enjoy their draconic look and enjoyable sounds, I am still trying to figure them out..... I also got some ducks this year, 4 Black East Indies. They make me laugh a lot but I don't like that they are so scared of me. I'd like to try some Silver Appleyard Ducks (bantams?) and some Chinese Geese maybe next year (2012).
Last year we started raising meat rabbits (New Zealands and Rex) rather unsuccessfully. This year hasn't been much better in the way of success but at least I'm learning more about rabbits, and produced 2 litters to maturity.... We have a very large completely enclosed dog kennel which we keep our rabbit cages in to keep prying raccoon hands out of the cages. We also have a few rabbit tractor pens.
I began my apple/nectarine/pear orchard and transplanted over 20 types of plants from my old place, including many medicinals. I am working on expanding my raised bed section of the garden (complete with tree nursery) and will eventually re-install my 220 gallon rain-water catch system. There are so manny things I want to do. I still have yet to reclaim my status of goat ownership and begin my dream of having alpacas!
Coop made from a free extended truck cap. It got kind of beat up in the move and doesn't look so GREAT anymore, but is still very functional.
I've always desired animals in my life, but with 'livestock' animals have learned not to get as attached as I could, especially having the intend of consumption. My passion for snakes began over a decade ago, and I still keep a variety of them in homemade tileboard enclosures. I do, however, focus more on temperate and small species these days. I have my longtime feline family of 5 and my faithful sidekick sheltie mix dog. In 2009 I began yet another new hobby working with honeybees and have made lots of beginner mistakes with my first hive. I have learned some valuable things (though not nearly enough) and I now have an actual bee yard.