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We want to welcome you to Stinnett Family Farms (SFF)!

We are a
small family owned and operated farm located in South Arkansas.
I am Travis, and my wife is Crystal. We have three beautiful
children Jordan, Katie, and Levi. We operate our own homestead
complete with a farm stand coming soon!!
This program is designed to help as you learn from our experience
as well as our mistakes in the process of starting your very own
homesteading journey.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit back as you read through the You
Can Homestead Series

Copyright 2013 by Stinnett Family Farms All rights

reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be
reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the
express written permission of the publisher except for the
use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing, 2013
ISBN 0-9000000-0-0
Stinnett Publishing
Sparkman, AR 71763

Table Of Contents
Chapter 1 Intro To Poultry 7
Chapter 2 Chickens
Chapter 3 Turkeys


Chapter 4 Ducks


Chapter 5 Quail


Chapter 6 Pheasant
Chapter 7 Geese


Chapter 1
Introduction To The World Of Poultry
As far back as the pioneer days people have been
raising self-sustainable flock of poultry. In the days of
our ancestors that was the only choice they had. It is
our personal goal to take our homestead back to the
self-sustainability of the pioneer days with most of
the comforts of today. For instance, we hope to Live
completely off our land eventually and also have our
homestead be our only source of income. Now dont
get me wrong, it is A LOT of hard work and
determination on the path to selfsustainability, but I
promise you will save tons of money, your family will
be healthier and happier, and who doesnt want to
work for themselves? (More to come in later issues!!)
The first question you should ask yourself is What
type of poultry do I want to raise? As I said earlier,
we are currently raising chickens, turkeys, ducks, and
quail. We also want to add pheasant, and geese.
Next, you need to decide the purpose for raising the
breeds you have selected. We raise the breeds we
have on our homestead for several reasons. We eat
the meat from all of the breeds we raise. As for the
eggs, We eat chicken and quail eggs and probably
will pheasant as well. Everything else we hatch to
raise to either replenish our flock of breeders (more
on that later) or raise to harvest age for the freezer.

In this book we will guide you through the process of

starting and maintaining your homestead poultry.

Chapter 2:
Homestead Chickens
Probably the most popular poultry breed on
any homestead would have to be the chicken.
Chickens are great for both meat and egg
In this chapter we will teach you all about
CHICKENS!!! Everything from buying your first
chicken to housing to harvesting the meat. We
want to help you with every step of
establishing a flock of happy healthy chickens
on your homestead.
How Many Chickens Do I Need?
We have done lots of figuring between my wife
and I about how many chickens to keep in our
flock. We have come to the conclusion you
should have about 2 hens per family member.
Our family of 5 has 10 hens giving
approximately 8 eggs per day. That is 56 eggs
per week. We plan to hatch and raise 60 birds
for year for meat and the rest of the eggs we
will either consume or sale to offset feed costs.
We also hatch a few extra chicks for local sales
also to offset our feed cost.

So, for a family of 4 you will need 8 laying

hens. Next you need to decide if you want to
hatch any of the eggs. The reason I say this is
because if you only plan to have chickens for
eggs only you dont need a rooster. Chickens
will lay eggs without a rooster you just want be
able to hatch any.
Getting Started
Next you must decide where to keep your
chickens. You need to have your coop and run
ready before you ever bring your chickens
home. A coop can pretty much be anything
that keeps your chickens safe and warm
especially at night while they are roosting. If
you do a search on Google you will see some of
the most creative uses for things you may even
have laying around the yard.
Once you have your coop you need to add a
run. If you plan to free range your chickens you
dont necessarily have to have a run, but you
MUST have a coop. For our small flock we build
a 4 foot by 8 foot coop with nest boxes and
roosts. Our run is 8 foot by 16 foot for now. We
plan for it to house at least ten hens and a
rooster all the time. We also plan to add a
second pen to raise the 60 chickens we plan to
harvest every year.

The size of your coop and run obviously

depends on the number of chickens you have
but the formula most often used is 2-3 square
foot per bird in the coop and 4-5 square foot in
the run. 8 foot by 16 foot is 128 square foot
and should house up to 25 grown chickens.
That to me seems like a lot of chickens in a
small space and so we have 11 chickens in a
space that size.
Where To Buy Chickens
Once your coop is ready you can start looking
for chickens. The easiest time to buy is during
the spring when all the farmers are hatching.
Search your local newspaper, online classifieds,
craigslist, etc. and you are bound to find what
you are looking for. Baby chicks are the easiest
to find, but you also can find grown laying hens
from time to time. If you plan to buy baby
chicks you can order from a hatchery and have
them mailed right to you. Search Google for
hatcheries. McMurray Hatchery is one I have
used in the past.
Caring For Baby Chicks
If you find hens all you need to do is put them
in the coop and let them do their jobs. If you
rather raise some chicks they will need special
care for the first few months.

The first thing you will need to take care of

your chicks will be a brooder. A brooder is
basically a box with a light (for heat) and a
cover to contain your new chicks. One of the
easiest brooders is a clear Rubbermaid
container with a whole cut in top for ventilation
with a single light bulb hanging into the box.
Place the bulb at one end so if the chicks get
too warm they can move away from the heat.
You DO NOT want to cook your new babies. The
temperature in the boxy should be around 90100 degrees for the first week. After that you
can decrease the temp by 5 degrees each
week. Search Google for brooders and you are
sure to find a design you like. In the bottom of
the box we add a later of pine shavings to
absorb the waste. Be sure to change the
shavings as it becomes moist to ensure your
chicks stay healthy.
After the first week they can be moved from
the brooder box to a grow pen. Our grow pen is
a 3 foot by 6 foot pen build on legs up off the
ground. The bottom is made of hardware cloth
so the poop will fall through the bottom and
your chicks will stay clean. The Grow pen is
enclosed on three sides. In one end of the pen
we have a 2 foot section divided off and
completely enclosed minus the wire floor.

There is a light inside to keep the chicks warm.

A small hole in the divider opens up to the rest
of the pen which also has a light on one end.
This design allows the chicks to move between
a variety of temperatures which helps them be
comfortable in all types of weather conditions.
Once the chicks are about a month old and
have established a good layer of feathers you
can move them to your coop. It is a good idea
to hand a light in your coop just in case you
have cool nights here and there until the chicks
have developed all their feathers. Make sure
you close them up at night in the coop and
only let them in the run during the day.
Sometimes chicks will roost out in the run and
if it gets cold during the night they could get
too cold and die.
That pretty much covers the housing of
chickens from birth through their entire lives.
Next we will talk about what to feed your
Feeding Your Chickens
Chickens are fairly easy when it comes to feed.
For the first few months of your chickens life
from the day it hatches we feed chick starter.
Once your chicks reach a couple months of age

you can switch them over to a laying pellet if

you plan for them to lay eggs, or you can feed
them chops if they are to be grown out for
meat. Chops are cheaper than laying pellets by
the way. A variety of different styles of feeders
are available or search online for plans to build
your own very easily. You also want to make
sure your chickens have a constant supply of
fresh clean water as well. There are several
different methods for doing this. The one we
use is a 5 gallon bucket with nipples installed in
the bottom and hanging from the roof of the
run. We keep the bucket full with a lid and the
chickens drink from the bottom.
Your chickens also enjoy other little treats from
time to time. There are a number of things you
can feed your chickens as treats. For instance,
fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen are
good for your birds and they LOVE them.
Breads of all kinds are good just feed them in
moderation. Too much starch is not good on
their systems. Certain non sugary cereals like
cheerios are ok to feed. Cheese is a good
source of protein and calcium but feed in
moderation as well. Corn can be fed either
cooked or raw even on the cob. Hard boiled or
scrambled eggs are also a good source of
protein and will help in keeping your chickens
from eating their own eggs if their calcium

levels get low. Yogurt is also a favorite chicken

treat. Warm cooked grits or oatmeal is good to
feed your chickens as well.
Another good source of treats for your birds are
crickets and mealworms. These two bug treats
can actually be raised very easy on your
homestead and I promise your chickens will
thank you for it!! Stay tuned for future eBooks
about setting up your own cricket and
mealworm farms. Chickens also enjoy fresh cut
grass clippings after you mow your yard as
That leads us to items you should NEVER feed
your chickens. First, never feed them. Raw
potato peels contain a toxic substance and
should be avoided. These peels can be added
to your compost bin instead. Anything salty
can cause salt poisoning. Other things to avoid
include citrus fruits, raw eggs, avocado skins,
dried or raw beans, and all citrus fruits. You
should also never feed them anything with
sugar such as candy and chocolate.
Hatching Baby Chicks
If you have decided to keep a rooster to raise
your own chicks then you will want to buy an
incubator. You must have an incubator unless
you picked a chicken breed that are good

brooders. That means they will sit on eggs and

hatch them.
If you decide to hatch yourself you can pick up
a simple incubator at most farm supply stores
like Atwoods or Tractor Supply or somewhere
like that. You can also order them at several
places online. Incubators can be set to
maintain a constant temperature and can even
add an automatic turner that keeps your eggs
turned for you until they hatch. There are even
plans online where you can build your own
homemade incubator.
Once you have bought or built your incubator
you want to run it until a steady 99.5 degrees
is reached. You also will want to keep water in
your incubator to keep the humidity to 50% for
the first 18 days and then increase it to 70-80%
for the last few days of incubation.
After a few days you can candle your eggs
which is basically shining a light through the
egg to see if there is an embryo developing
inside. If after 7 days the egg is absolutely
clear the egg is infertile and is no good.
Infertile eggs and any cracked eggs should be
discarded to avoid any odors in your incubator.
Once eggs are placed in the incubator or once
your hen starts sitting on them, it takes

approximately 21 days for them to hatch. Once

the chicks hatch I usually leave them in the
incubator for several hours until they are
completely dry and up running around. Once
the chicks are all active and fluffy you can
move them to your pre-heated brooder box.
What Else?
Basically, that is all there is to raising your own
chickens. Some of the steps involve a small
investment with caging, feeding, and watering.
The cost can be fairly small with items you find
around the house or salvage from different
places to very extravagant chicken CONDOS.
The sky is the limit when it comes to taking
care of your chickens.


Chapter 3:
Homestead Turkeys
Turkeys are a lot like chickens when it comes to
housing and feeding. And you can actually
keep them in the same cage if you want. We
currently have our turkeys in with our chickens
but are working on separate enclosures.
Here at the farm we used the same basic
formula for figuring out how many turkeys you
need. Figure up how many turkeys you eat in a
month and multiply by 12. That gives you a
rough estimate of how many you need to raise
until harvest. For my family I figured we will
need 24 turkeys per year or two per month. We
eat a lot of sandwiches and love the home
raised sliced smoked turkey breast!!
Turkeys can lay an estimated 100 plus eggs if
you dont let them hatch their own so a pair or
a trio would be more than enough for a family.
If you let the birds hatch the eggs you will need
more hens to produce the number of birds you
will have for harvest. Hatch the ones you need
for harvest or to replace your breeders and
sale the rest or eat them.


Selling the extra chicks will help offset your

feed bill substantially!!
Now I know you probably dont eat a turkey
every month. But do you eat sliced turkey like
lunch meat for a sandwich? You can actually
smoke your turkey and slice it up just like they
have in the grocery store. In a future update to
this series we will teach you all about
preserving your harvests and part of that
harvest will be poultry.
I have read mixed reviews of what people feed
their turkeys. I personally feed mine the same
laying pellets the chickens eat. As for the
babies (poults) I feed them chick starter also
like the chickens.
When the time comes you will start collecting
the eggs and put them in your incubator unless
you are going to let your birds hatch them. The
incubation process is the same for turkey eggs
as it is for chickens other that turkey eggs take
28 days to hatch instead of 21 like chickens.
The incubator should stay at the same 99
degrees as it is for chickens.
When the eggs hatch I again wait several hours
until the poults are completely dry and up


moving around before I take them out and

move them to the brooder box.
Some people say you should raise your chicks
separate from your turkey poults. I have a good
friend that has been raising chicks and poults
side by side for years and has a great
operation. I personally raise my poults
separate. Not sure which way is right but with
my luck I dont want to risk losing chicks.
The brooder you put your poults in should be
set around 95 to 98 degrees. Raise the heat
light a few inches each week until the poults
are about 6 weeks old or until the temperature
in the brooder is the same as the temperature
outside. This will prepare them for the move.
Here at our farm we have a couple stages of
brooder boxes in our hatching house before the
chicks move outside to a completely covered
grow pen. Keep a check on the temperature
and add a light if the chicks need a little heat.
Be sure to add a roost when the poults are
about 3 weeks of age so they can get used to
the roosting process.
I have read that you can move your chicks
outside at 6 weeks old. We always wait until
they are at least 8 weeks just to make sure


they are as healthy as possible before the

shock of the move outside hits them.
Raising poults is more difficult than chickens
because the poults are much more fragile for
the first four weeks or so. Dont get
discouraged when you start losing chicks. Just
try to keep your temperatures as constant as
possible in the brooders. Make sure your chicks
are eating and drinking, turkeys are known to
be stupid so you may have to keep
reminding them where their food and water is.
And, give them as much attention and bonding
time as you possibly can. Turkeys seem to need
contact where chickens just want to be left
Follow these simple guidelines and you will be
raising healthy happy turkey poults in no time


Chapter 4:
Homestead Ducks
Raising ducks is really no different than
chickens or turkeys. The incubation period for
common ducks is 28 days like turkeys.
Muscovy ducks, which are what we have on our
farm, take about 35 days. I have no idea why it
takes so much longer for Muscovy ducklings to
hatch, it just does lol.
I dont hatch my duck eggs in the incubator. I
allow my girls to hatch their own ducklings. Our
Muscovy ducks are great setters and are even
better mothers. They will attack in a New York
minute if they think their babies are in any
danger at all.
Even though our mothers hatch the ducklings
we take them away and put them in a brooder
after they hatch. The big world is tough on a
baby duckling and we try to lose as few as
possible. Pulling the ducklings from the
mothers also encourages them to lay again a
lot sooner than if they were brooding chicks.
This usually gives us two hatches for each hen
per year and sometimes three depending on
how the weather is here in south Arkansas.


We follow the same brooding guidelines as we

do with our baby chickens. When the ducklings
are fully feathered around 6 weeks of age or so
they go into a covered nursery pen. When the
chicks are big enough to protect themselves
from bullies they are introduced into the flock
until harvest time.
As for the number of breeder ducks you will
need, figure it the same way as the turkeys.
Dont forget each hen will sit on approximately
12-15 eggs twice per year. If they all hatch that
is up to 30 ducklings per hen. I dont
recommend more than a pair or a trio for a
family of four. Any chicks that are left can be
sold to help pay for the feed bill.


Chapter 5:
Homestead Quail
Quail are raised a little different than the other
types of poultry. Quail are super small and can
be kept in a fairly small area. Here at our farm
we custom built a cage (complete plans and
pictures coming soon) that is 8 feet long by 2
feet wide and 1 foot tall. This is then divided
into 5 sections 1 foot wide and 1 section 3 feet
wide. So I have 5 breeding pens and 1 grow
In the five breeding pens we have 3 hens and a
rooster in each one. That gives us 15 hens
which can produce up to that many eggs
everyday. Depending on how many quail your
family consumes you can decide from that the
number you need to raise for harvest every
The eggs you dont hatch can be turned into
pickled eggs. We have several recipes we use
at our farm. If you dont want to eat them you
can sell the eggs for hatching or you can hatch
and sell the chicks to offset feed costs. Once
people find out you raise quail you will be
surprised at the number of people that want to
buy some especially if you do the harvesting.

Incubating quail eggs is about the same as

other poultry except for the fact it only takes
17 days for a coturnix quail to hatch. Bobwhite
quail take a little longer at 23-24 days. The
temperature is the same at around 99.5
Coturnix quail grow super fast. At 6-8 weeks of
age the quail start laying eggs. We actually
harvest our quail at about 6 weeks of age.
Our quail go from brooder to our grow pen.
They never go on the ground. As soon as the
quail are feathered and starting to fly and try
to escape they are moved to the grow pen. Our
grow pen is actually in the barn so we dont
have to worry about drafts and such.
To me quail are the easiest of the poultry
breeds to raise. Quail also cost far less to feed
than the others as well.


Chapter 6
Homestead Pheasant
That leads us to pheasant. There are several
different breeds of pheasant. From the
standard ring-necked pheasant, to the beautiful
yellow gold, and melanistic pheasant.
Pheasant care is much the same as for the
other breeds of poultry. I recommend building a
long and fairly tall flight pen for your
pheasants. Pheasants are very jumpy little
critters. If one of your birds gets spooked its
instincts are to fly up and away. If your cage is
too short you risk the chance of the bird flying
into the wire and breaking its neck. Believe me
I have learned this from experience.
The number of breeder birds you have is again
based on the number your family will consume.
A pair or a trio should be sufficient for a family.
If you want to make sure you have enough to
sale you can always add a few more hens to
your flock.
Incubation temperature is the same 99.5
degrees. Pheasant eggs take 23-24 days to
hatch. As for brooding chicks we follow the
same brooding schedule as our chickens.

The most important thing to remember is to

keep your feeders and waterers clean regularly.
Sanitation is usually the number one cause of
the loss of pheasant chicks.


Chapter 7
Homestead Geese
Next on the list of poultry comes the goose.
Unless your homestead is a good distance
away from any neighbors I dont recommend
geese because they are LOUD! Geese are
probably the noisiest of all the poultry breeds.
They will start honking at ANYTHING especially
if they feel threatened in any way.
As for the incubation, the temperature is the
same 99.5 degrees. It takes between 28 and 35
days to hatch your goslings.
If you decide to let your geese hatch their own
eggs you need to pull the goslings as soon as
they hatch and brood them yourself. IF you
dont remove them the hen will think she is
done and leave the nest after the first one
Follow the same brooding techniques as you
would for ducklings. Once they are feathered at
around 6 weeks of age they can be moved
outside to a covered grow pen. The extra
goslings can be sold to pay the feed bill.


That pretty much covers everything we raise

here at Stinnett Family Farms as far as poultry
is concerned. If you have any questions or
concerns please feel free to share them with
us. Also, if there is a breed we did not cover
that you would like information on please let us
know that as well and we will try to add it to a
future edition of Homesteading Poultry.
Thank you again for your interest in the You
Can Homestead Series. We value each and
every one of you in the highest regards!!
This eBook, like the rest of the series, is a work
in progress. As we run across new additional
information we will update and revise the
series. As soon as an update is available we
will send it to you as long as you are on our
mailing list. Shoot us an email at
travstinnett@ymail.com and I will add you!
Or you can visit us at
www.stinnettfamilyfarms.com and sign up on
our home page. You will also find the entire
You Can Homestead series there.


If you have something you would like to share

for an upcoming revision please also email us
at travstinnett@ymail.com and let us know. We
would love to feature your homestead in an
upcoming issue!!