Hatching Eggs without an Incubator

In the last article, I talked about how we were able to incubate our 25-day-old duck eggs after their mother was killed, using only a heat pad and some elbow grease.  In this article, I will lay out the process that happened to transition them to our non working incubator shell and hatch successfully.

We incubated them for 10 days, caring for them four times per day, swapping out wet rags to keep the humidity level up.

Despite all odds, I heard peeping one night when I was giving them the last wet rag at bedtime.  Hallelujah!  The next day, there were three pipped eggs.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  Hatching, though, posed a new problem – how could they hatch layered under the weight of the rags and blanket?

Here is where our non working incubator came in handy.  It could easily be replicated with a styrofoam cooler or even a standard plastic cooler.  You just need a way to keep heat and moisture in, but with the ability to vent excess moisture out.

Continue reading “Hatching Eggs without an Incubator”

Incubating Eggs without an Incubator

eggs incubated on a heat padA raccoon killed my favorite duck hen the other day, leaving her 20+ day old eggs without a mother.  When we discovered it the next morning, the eggs were cold.  There was little hope, but there’s a saying in the farm world, “It’s not dead until it’s warm and dead.”  More than once, we’ve warmed up a lifeless body (think rabbits in particular) to find a miraculous recovery.

The problem with the eggs is that we have a non working incubator, something to do with a puppy and wires.  How could we keep the eggs going without it?  I’ve always been told you can’t, which means I needed to set out to prove someone wrong!

What we did have was a heat pad with a stay on function and a stubborn refusal to accept defeat.  As I write this, several ducklings are hatched and drying off with several more pipped and on the way.  We incubated them 10 days.  Here’s how we incubated eggs without an incubator. Continue reading “Incubating Eggs without an Incubator”

Garbage Can Chicken Feeder

We’ve been feeding whole grains to our chickens for 2-3 years now.  About a year and a half ago, we finally landed on the low maintenance, no waste chicken feeders we use today: garbage can chicken feeders.  This method allows us to feed one or two times per year and results in zero waste and grain throwing.

To get started, choose a container.  We had garbage cans on hand so used those.  We have made feeders in 5-gallon buckets and I’ve seen storage totes used as well; there are no set rules for the container type as long as it will hold up to the weight of the feed with holes drilled in it.  Because we fill ours up and then move them to the coop, we prefer garbage cans for ease of moving. Continue reading “Garbage Can Chicken Feeder”

Walk-in Rabbit Tractor on Wheels Design

We built this tractor back in 2011. I’ve since gone through multiple variations and unique tractors and this remains one of the best designs we’ve used. I originally published this on a Blogger blog but am collecting all of it into one post here on my website.

This part first published 3/28/11 and the rest followed over the next couple of weeks, current notes in italics:

It’s been a long-time goal of mine to raise meat rabbits on pasture. Working out the details has taken forever! There are so many things to consider with pastured rabbits because they’re so adept at escape. After hours and hours of looking at hundreds of chicken tractors, I think we’ve finally figured out how to make our own rabbit tractor.

I plan to start small with 2 does and a buck and since no one pastures rabbits I have no idea how much space to give them. I figured a good start would be 4’x12′. 4′ wide will fit between our planned raised garden beds. We’re going to move the pen every day or as needed to make sure they have plenty of fresh grass. Continue reading “Walk-in Rabbit Tractor on Wheels Design”

Building a Zero Cost, Post-Free Pallet Fence

Pallets are hands-down one of the most versatile and important no-cost homesteader supplies. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever use them, if you happen upon a stash of them at a store for free, you owe it to all of your soon-to-be jealous fellow homesteaders across the world to bring those pallets home.  From instant patches in existing fences to building entire lines with only pallets and elbow grease, pallets make the easiest and quickest fence to put up.

My husband lived and worked out of state for a year and a half while I had three (now four) small children and a small farm to take care of alone.  I remember how much I appreciated being able to use pallets then.  I could put up a single line by myself while the baby napped.  (I originally wrote about our pallet fence back in 2012 on my old blog, but in an effort to consolidate info and remove myself from Google’s clutches, I am rewriting those articles here and ditching the Blogger blog.) Continue reading “Building a Zero Cost, Post-Free Pallet Fence”