Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Pets are a common thing in many households, they bring a lot of joy and a lot of laughs. Some of us here at NDiN also have some more “unusual” pets as well.


Here at Chiot’s Run we have all kinds of pets. We have 3 indoor cats and 1 dog (the namesake of our gardens). We also have an outdoor feral cat that adopted us, and she has a kitten as well. Mr Chiots and I both work from home so we love having pets around the house. They provide a lot of entertainment and keep us sane! All of our pets have found us through the years, they’ve all be rescued from the pound or they showed up on our doorstep.

Growing up in South America, I always had pets that tended to be more on the exotic side; armadillos, monkeys, snakes, parrots, love birds, etc. I think we got it from my dad, who grew up with all kinds of weird pets as well.

Of course we had our normal pets as well, dogs, cats and guinea pigs.

Mr Chiots and I only have 1 (or should I say thousands of unusual pets). We have two beehives in our backyard.

I’d love to have chickens as well, which aren’t really that unusual nowadays. I’d also love to have a pig and maybe a few goats someday. Those will have to wait until we have more space.


Jennifer here! While I may not have a monkey or a camel I’ve always adored animals of all kinds. Growing up I was fortunate to have the chance to help raise orphaned squirrels and raccoons. When I grew up and moved out on my own I took advantage of my freedom and went wild. (Pun totally intended)

Between my roommates and I we raised an albino python, a couple of ferrets, and a 6 foot iguana.

Now that I’m a bit older my taste in animal companions leans toward the more manageable…

…or do they?

This year we started raising heritage breed chickens for eggs.


curious chicks

We’ve also got a few adopted fuzzball types hanging around: Sassafras, Boo, and Kenya.


reach out and touch me


Finally we’ve got a lot of critters that don’t make very good pets:


but at least they let us pet them!


I’m hoping one day that we’ll have a few milking goats (one of the fainting variety), a couple of llamas, and a few sheep. That will take a bit of convincing and a lot of fencing!


Pets and family members…a line easily blurred here at the inadvertent farmer!

Most of our mammals came from the local animal shelter or were given to us be exasperated owners.

Our foul we purposely keep for their eggs and slug eating abilities!

None bring more laughs and more headaches than Gizmo the camel.  We also keep llamas, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and hubby keeps bees.

I cannot imagine life without pets…and in my case LOTS of them!

So what kind of unusual pets do you have, or would you like to have?

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We have been producing and selling eggs for the last five years.  Our flock is made up of a mix of old fashion and cross bred production hens.  We have maintained a flock of 25 birds of various ages.  We have also collected some data on productivity and cost using different feeding strategies. 

The charts below are based on our 25 hen flock, locally produced conventional chicken feed ($12.00 for 50 lbs.), and three different feeding strategies. 

First we tried full feed for a year.  We fed 1/4 lb of chicken feed, half layer mash and half scratch grain.  The hens had access to the pasture, but didn’t need to forage for any of their food.  This method produced the most eggs.  It was also the most expensive.  Eggs sell for $2.00 per dozen in our community (you can find them for less if you are willing to drive a bit.)  Using full feed we were able to produce eggs for less than $2.00 per dozen about half of the weeks in the year.  We probably broke even, but certainly didn’t make any money.  (We use recycled egg cartons.  People are happy to donate them.  Buying new egg cartons is rather expensive.  Even if you buy them by the  thousand they end up being around $0.25 each.  That adds a big cost to egg production.)

Our second experiment was 1/2 feed for a year.  We fed 1/8 lb of chicken feed and expected the hens to forage out in the pasture for the rest.  We rotated them behind the goats and cows.  They ate lots of greens, bugs, and did a good job cleaning up the pasture.  Egg production fell of quite a bit when the weather got cold, but they kept producing at at least 50%.  Using this method our production costs stayed well below the selling price.  We made a profit of at least $0.50 per dozen on all the eggs we sold.  In the peak production time it was closer to $1.00 per dozen profit. 

Our last test was to feed them nothing.  We ran this test for a year too.  (we did give them kitchen scraps, but we have done that with the other two tests, so it didn’t change anything.  This was the least productive and the lowest cause.  I was supprised how productive they were in the warm season.  Very close to what we got on half feed.  When it got cold and dark they really dropped off.  We let them have complete access to the animal pastures, the gardens, and the yard.  The only other negative I noticed from this method was the mess.  They can take apart a flower garden or a lawn in pretty short order, and they will as they look for food.  Even though this method had the best production cost, we will not do it again.  Having a third of the year where there are very few eggs is a good way to lose customers.  It was also pretty hard on the gardens, the lawn, and my nerves.



We will be continuing our production flock this year.  We’ll use our half feed/rotational grazing method.  It is a lot of work, but we got the most out of it, both financially and in pasture improvements.  We will be experimenting with adding light into the coop this next winter (not easy when you move the coop every few days and it can be as far as 600 fee to the nearest electrical outlet.)  That should help keep our winter production up a bit.  We will also be trying some grain production to see if we can economically grow our own feed.

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Mr Chiots and I don’t have children, so our “homesteading kids” are our nieces & nephew. I went out to the farm where they keep their chickens with them and they were super excited to show me around.

Our little nephew is like most boys, he loves playing in the dirt, so gardening is a fine hobby for him.


As most of you know I have a whole passel of children and I will say that I think without a doubt raising them in the country, around animals, the garden, and nature is just about the best gift I could give them…and myself!

They are great help in the garden…


They feed the animals…

Out of mama’s tea cup…ewwww!

They are pros at checking the fences…

And picking their own breakfast…

They help haul hay!

And even make bread!

Yes homesteading kids work hard and play hard!

And sometimes…just sometimes…they even kiss the camel! 

At least the weird big ones do!

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