Welcome to TheModernHomestead.US
Harvey’s book now available!
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers
by Harvey Ussery
Foreword by Joel Salatin
“Here's the ultimate book for those who want to know everything there is to know about raising poultry. And every detail is backed up by the author's own (and often entertaining) experiences. I could not find—in this encyclopedic array of chicken knowhow—one detail that I would quibble with.”
—Gene Logsdon, author of Holy Shit and The Contrary Farmer
With information on building soil fertility, replacing purchased feed, and working with poultry in the garden
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Unlike our ancestors, many of whom lived on traditional homesteads and small farms, most of us today have the apparent “luxury” of buying all our food in the marketplace. The decision to forego that luxury and work hard to produce more of our own food is a fundamental one. We are thus making not simply one more selection from the Lazy Susan of available food choices, but choosing a way of life, a new direction.
This site is dedicated to the skills and philosophy for more self-reliant living. Whether you have access to fifty acres or only a patio pot, you have the opportunity to produce more of your own food for yourself and your family, to enter more fully into the yearly cycle, and to know your place in the web of life.
Harvey’s Upcoming Presentations
- January 31 - February 1, Richmond, Virginia:
I will give two presentations at the annual conference of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming:
- The Sustainable Home and Small Farm Flock: Moving Toward a New Feeding Paradigm (Friday morning) We will explore some strategies for feeding the flock more from home resources, making the farm or homestead more independent of purchased inputs and more ecologically integrated. I will try to encourage farmers in the audience to give such strategies a try, but ambitious homesteaders may pick up some useful ideas as well.
- The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (Saturday morning) My signature presentation on more natural, holistic poultry husbandry. Appropriate for beginners and more experienced flocksters alike.
New on the Site
- November 20, 2013: I have added three new pages to the Poultry: Predators section:
- “Getting along with Predators” is a good overview of predator issues. It starts with an appreciation of the crucial role predators play in a balanced, healthy ecology, and argues that wisely supporting their good work while protecting our poultry from attack comes down to: The best offense is a good defense. This article discusses management for deterrence (housing and ranging the flock) and the nature and modus operandi of potential predators.
- “The Usual Suspects” is a brief discussion of the more common predators and the signs they typically leave behind following an attack. “Reading the kill” helps identify the predator involved.
- Protecting the flock is much more a matter of paying attention, learning about our local predators, and common sense than about buying solutions to predator problems. A few available options might be useful in your context, however—“Purchased Aids for Predator Defense” discusses three of them.
- October 24, 2013: With the arrival of fall, it’s time to think about the special needs of the poultry flock in the coming winter. “Getting the Flock Ready for Winter” considers the special needs of the winter flock regarding housing, watering, feeding, and a winter yard. It discusses as well culling in preparation for winter and dealing with the reduction of egg production.
- October 24, 2013: I have updated the list of my coming presentations. At present, I am greatly reducing my travel and presentation schedule, but I have agreed to make two presentations at the annual conference of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming in Richmond, Virginia, January 31 and February 1, 2014.
- January 29, 2013: I have long wanted to put up some information on fungi, both wild and cultivated, and the new section Fungi as Allies in the Homestead and Farm is now available. It opens with three articles: “Fungi in the Homestead and Farm Ecology” sketches the role of fungi in the ecology and ways they have been and can be used as partners. “Cultivating Mushrooms” outlines the basics of cultivating a number of edible and medicinal species. If you want to give that a try, you’ll want to check out “Resources for Working with Fungi”.
- January 25, 2013: I have added to the Poultry: Feeding section “Feeding the Flock from Home Resources”. I have of course posted other treatments of this subject in the past. This article offers my latest thoughts. While scooping feed out of a bag is easy, there are reasons to seek greater reliance on home-feeding resources.
- January 25, 2013: Some time ago I put up on the site “Multifunctional Living Fences”—a useful overview of living fences or hedgerows for establishing property boundaries, confining livestock or deterring wild browsers such as deer, serving as windbreaks, and much more—though until now it has not been fitted properly into the navigation system. I have now established a Living Fences section, to which I hope to add in the future. If there are agricultural (as opposed to landscaping) hedgerows in your area, I would love to hear from you, especially if you can share digital photos.
- April 1, 2012: The Grow It!: Composting section has offered for some time my articles on composting using earthworms and using the black soldier fly, “The Boxwood Vermicomposting System” and “Black Soldier Fly, White Magic”. I have decided to duplicate both articles in the Poultry: Feeding section, to help the reader find these two options for cultivating decomposer species as high-value live feeds for poultry (or pigs or farmed fish). The duplicate (re-titled) articles are “Raising Earthworms to Feed the Flock” and “Cultivating Soldier Grubs to Feed the Flock”