Page 1













US/CAN $5.99 • Vol. 18, No. 05 • Issue code: 2018-10 September/October 2018 • Display until October 23, 2018.



71896 48895 HOBBYFARMS.COM

00 HF1810_Cover_Newsstand.indd 1




Power to do more. Quality you can count on everyday.

The powerful YT3 Series is the latest embodiment of our 106-year legacy of manufacturing famously reliable diesel engines and advanced engineering. No other compact tractor can boast its Integrated Hydro Mechanical Transmission technology — creating a new standard of ease of use and tractor operator productivity at both 47- and 59-horsepower options. The result is efficient power and flexible operation, that works as hard as you do. Choose open platform or factory-installed cab, with every feature designed for new level of comfort. The YT3 Series is part of a full family of tractors from Yanmar. Whether you need a 21- or 24-horsepower SA model, the 35-horsepower Model YT235 or the 47- to 59-horsepower available in the YT3 Series, each tractor from Yanmar is designed to help you get more from your land.

Learn more or to find a dealer, visit

47 engine horsepower open platform Model YT347 with Yanmar loader

59 engine horsepower factory-installed cab Model YT359 with Yanmar loader and backhoe

HOBBY FARMS INSIDER SAVINGS! Tell your Yanmar Tractor dealer the code “HOBBY 2018” to receive an extra $100 credit* on the purchase of any new Yanmar agricultural equipment.

SA Series 21 & 24 HP • YT2 Series 35 HP platform & cab • YT3 Series 47 & 59 HP platform & cab ©2018 Yanmar America Corporation. *Offer expires March 30, 2019. Circle No. 144 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_C2.indd 2

7/24/18 2:01 AM



24 Anniversary Special 100 Tips from 100 Issues! In 17 years, Hobby Farms has been published 100 times, so we took one great tip from each issue and put them in one article to celebrate! by Nicole Sipe

38 To Cope with the Molt Molting is a fact of bird life. Learn what happens — and how to help your flock — when the feathers start to fly. by Cherie Langlois

46 Pole Barn Basics Ask yourself these 10 key questions before you build a pole barn. by Matt Fowler

54 Cold Weather Orchards Don’t let a short growing season and cold winters keep you from enjoying fruit and nut trees. by J. Keeler Johnson

60 A Field Guide to Old Barns The iconic American farm barn has evolved to many different sizes for multiple purposes. by Samantha Johnson


66 A Return to Real Milk The family cow is making a comeback, and she has much more to offer than fresh milk. by Candi Johns COVER: MUSTAFANC/SHUTTERSTOCK

COLUMNS & DEPARTMENTS 2 Editor’s Note 4 Ag Bites

Chipper Choices, Goat Breeding Tips, 4 Trees for Fall Planting

10 Getting Attached Snow Removal

14 How to Choose ... Heritage Chickens

18 Five for Feeding Sheep


22 Farm Storehouse

70 Marketplace

74 Cutting-Edge Crops

77 Gallery


80 Say Cheese! hobbyfarms


@hobbyfarmsmag hobbyfarmsmag

79 Livestock Directory 79 Classifieds

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

01_toc.indd 1


7/23/18 5:35 AM


editor’s note

EDITORIAL Group Editor Roger Sipe Senior Web Editor Keith Bowers Art Director Cindy Kassebaum Senior Executive Print Prod. Vipin Marwaha Subscription Manager Shailesh Khandelwal

100th Anniversary!


aving a catered farm dinner and party for 100,000 lucky readers was unfortunately not in our budget this year! However, we still wanted to point out that this is Hobby Farms’ 100th issue, dating back to the summer of 2001. Maybe at our 200th issue, we can create a virtual reality party and we can all just attend from our own farms. In all seriousness, we sincerely thank you for being with us however long you’ve been with us, and we look forward to keeping this farming community resource plowing ahead for many years to come ... in print, online and wherever the future takes us. hf — Roger Sipe, Editor

ADVERTISING SALES Territory Manager Angel Ross Account Manager Kenrick Murrell Account Manager Rima Dorsey Classified Sales Fritzie Abella Head Digital Marketing Prachi Mahajan



Hobby Farms (ISSN 1533-0931) is published bimonthly by EG Media Investments LLC, 4635 McEwen Road, Dallas, Texas 75244. Corporate headquarters is located at 4635 McEwen Road, Dallas, Texas 75244. Periodicals Postage Paid at Dallas, Texas 75244 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Hobby Farms, EG Media Investments LLC, 4635 McEwen Road, Dallas, Texas 75244. ©2018 by EG Media Investments LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. Single copy price is $5.99. Subscription rate is $14.99 for six issues (one year), $24.95 for 12 issues (two years). Canadian and foreign surface, add $6 extra per year payable in U.S. funds. Please allow six to eight weeks for new subscriptions to begin. When changing address, give six weeks’ notice and address label from latest copy, as well as new address with ZIP code. Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or information, write us at Privacy Policy, EG Media Investments LLC, 4635 McEwen Road, Dallas, Texas 75244 or email us at

CEO Sandeep Dua Business Head Amit Sharma CFO Ajay Sharma HR Director Lisa Macabu Logistics Director Alberto Chavez Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608 Registration No. R126851765 Printed in the United States


02_masthead.indd 2

7/23/18 5:39 AM





FROM THE COMPANY THAT INVENTED THE FOUR-WHEEL ATV COMES THE NEW KINGQUAD 750 AND 500. LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY ENGINEERED TO DO EVEN MORE. SMOOTHER & STRONGER High output engine and updated CVT combine for smooth power and torque delivery with stronger acceleration 1

ENHANCED CONTROL & COMFORT Fully independent suspension with new gas-charged front and rear shocks contribute to precise handling on any terrain

INCREASED TOWING CAPACITY Towing capacity increased to 1322 lbs. with new, receiver-type trailer hitch mount

NEW FRAME Frame rigidity increased, and rear suspension and final drive case brackets are reinforced for added strength

IMPROVED STEERING Updated power steering system enables more comfortable operation with less rider fatigue 2

ADVANCED ELECTRONICS New handlebar mounted headlight, low-draw LED taillight, and multi-function LCD instrument panel


Circle No. 145 on the Reader Service Card.

SUZ-946_KQ_Hobby_Farms_7.875x10.5_F.indd 1

7/12/18 5:15 PM

HF1810_3.indd 3

7/23/18 7:04 AM

ag bites rural news and advice from across the country

Chipper Choices


Chippers turn farm and yard waste into valuable mulch, among other things.


omesteading presents lots of challenges and opportunities. Recognizing the opportunities and weighing their potential benefits can separate the successful homesteader from the rest. The sheer magnitude of waste on a farm can be overwhelming, but is there opportunity in that waste? The farm each year creates a massive amount of natural waste, including leaves, downed trees, fallen branches, debris from pruned fruit trees and trimmed berry canes, garden weeds, residual corn stalks and garden compost. These items eventually create slowly decomposing piles on the farm. It’s not necessarily the piles themselves that cause problems, but rather the inefficient use of the materials. The cost of not appropriately using farm waste is high, yet the chipper or shredder can turn many of these piles into effective nutrients the farm can immediately use. Traditionally, the chipper or wood chipper helped farmers clear areas where trees had fallen. The wood chipper takes branches and sticks not easily stackable and turns them into wood mulch. Wood chippers come in many sizes, and the size of the chipper determines the size of branch it can process. Making Wood Chips Wood chips have numerous uses and benefits on the farm. Ultimately, these chips

are wood mulch that can benefit your soil by holding moisture, adding fresh organic matter and changing the drainage habits of the area where they are applied. Mulch can be an excellent way to prevent weeds from growing, because a deep layer of mulch keeps the weed seeds in the dark and prevents them from germinating. Wood chips, which don’t quickly compost, can make nice paths or borders in the garden. Making Leaf Litter Some chippers include a screen or setting that shreds material into fairly fine particles. These shredders can turn huge piles of leaves into a leaf litter that has many uses around the farm and garden. Leaf litter might be one of the most diverse and underutilized materials on the farm. Dried, shredded leaves hold similar potential for use as wood chips, but they are small and light, and they quickly decompose. It’s important to keep leaf litter and wood chips separate when running them through the chipper so you can use them in different ways. Making CoMpost The chipper is excellent at creating compost. To do this, the materials you include must break down over a period of time. Time is the biggest factor in composting. Whole potatoes, for example, take a long time to decompose. Yet the chipper can quickly turn a potato or any other compost item into a thousand little pieces. The result creates more surface area for microbes, worms, snails and fungi to break down the compost. You can also mix the composted material with high carbon items such as straw or mulched leaves; place them in the same hopper to be shredded instead of creating layers or turning the compost to determine the need for dry material. eLiMinating the CoMpost Bin With a chipper, you can eliminate compost bins that can be an affront to sight and smell. But, even if the compost bin is pleasing in these ways, it’s sure to attract flies, critters, moles and other vermin that don’t help the farm. With the use of the chipper, you can compost directly between the rows or even use a hoe to make a small trench where you can directly compost the material. You can run garden scraps, kitchen scraps and even weeds being pulled from the garden through the chipper to immediately feed the soil in the garden as they emerge. — Matt Fowler

Hobby Farms •

04x09_ag_bites.indd 4

7/24/18 2:50 AM


Dependability 3 Reasons to run with a new 3E

You couldn’t ask for more in a tractor than what we’ve built into the 2018 3E Series Tractors from John Deere.

Like a comfortable, convenient operator station with easyto-reach controls that make it simple for you to take charge of each chore … and a 12-volt outlet that lets you charge your phone, so you can stay connected to the world. More importantly, it’s designed with on-board diagnostics that help ensure you keep running from one day to the next. And it offers a 2-foot better turning radius versus the next best in the industry to better help you mow around fence posts, trees, and other tight areas. Not to mention the new 3E offers one of the lowest sticker prices in its class size.


All the more reason for you to visit your local dealer today and ask about the all-new John Deere 3E Series Tractors.


71955-6_7.875x10.5.indd 1 HF1810_5.indd 5

7/10/18 7/23/18 7:17 7:08 PM AM

Goat Breeding Prep


faManCha® is a diagnostic chart that matches eyelid color to anemia levels, an indicator of parasite infection.

he traditional breeding season for goats in the U.S. is between late August and the early part of January, according to Angela McKenzieJakes, extension animal science specialist at Florida A&M University. At this time of year, buck goats are getting smelly, and their does are looking hopeful. But it takes planning to produce a bountiful crop of bouncing baby goats. Here are some things to consider. Look to nutrition Breeding stock should be neither fat nor thin. While quality forage and freechoice minerals are sufficient for goats on maintenance rations, they need more energy in their diets as rut approaches. Many folks “flush” does by switching to legume hay and introducing 1⁄2 to 1 pound of 12 percent protein grain mix three or four weeks before breeding season begins; this helps boost ovulation rates and results in more kids. Meanwhile,

bucks often forget to eat during rut, so they need to be plump but not grossly overweight as breeding begins. add seLeniuM, if needed Insufficient selenium in goats’ diets is associated with low conception rates, retained placentas and weak kids. It also has a positive effect on male fertility. If you live in a selenium-deficient part of the country, such as portions of the Northeast, the selenium in goat-specific minerals is inadequate. If you aren’t sure, check with your county extension agent or large animal veterinarian. Selenium granules added to grain, oral pastes or BO-SE® selenium-vitamin E injectables all fill the bill. Copper Counts Prior to breeding is a good time to boost your goats’ copper levels if it’s needed. Bucks, especially, need plenty of copper in their diets to do their job. Goats with fish tails (a ‘Y’ in the hair at the end of their tails), coarse hair or dark coats with a brassy overtone probably sue weaver

Protecting the rig that runs your business! hit the : road with

Flexible payment plans Downtime reimbursement Online certificates

col lect ! th e m a l l


Hobby Farms • Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. & affiliates. All coverage subject to policy terms. Circle No. 130 on the Reader Service Card.

04x09_ag_bites.indd 6

7/24/18 2:50 AM


need copper. Introducing a mineral mix that contains more copper can help, but bolusing them with copper oxide particles goes right to the heart of the problem. CheCk hooves Trim hooves and check for abnormalities at least three weeks prior to the onset of breeding season so that if problems arise, such as accidentally trimming a hoof too closely, they have time to resolve before breeding begins. Zap parasites Within that same time frame, check your goats for external parasites such as lice or mites and apply products to eradicate them. Have fecal exams run to determine internal parasite loads, or examine each goat’s eye membranes using the FAMANCHA® method (a diagnostic chart to identify parasite infection in small ruminants that matches eyelid color to anemia levels, an indicator of parasite infection) and deworm as necessary. see to the BuCks Make sure bucks’ fences and housing are secure and in good repair because once breeding season begins, they’ll do their level best to get out and breed the ladies. If you have several bucks housed as a group you might have to separate them as rut approaches and interfighting begins, especially if some are considerably larger or more aggressive than others. if you don’t have a BuCk, find one Don’t wait until the last minute to find a buck that complements your doe. The buck should be better than your

doe, not a compromise just to get her bred. If you breed registered goats, look to the buck’s pedigree as well as the goat himself. Choose a strong, healthy buck with excellent conformation and an easygoing temperament. Ask to see his mother or pictures of her udder; that’s the type of mammary system he’ll pass on to his daughters. When you find a buck you like, make arrangements for your doe to be bred. Get everything in writing to prevent misunderstandings later on. Consider a.i. If you can’t find a buck you like, investigate artificial insemination. It’s a way to breed your does to the best of the best, and it’s no more difficult that arranging for a live breeding at another farm. — Sue Weaver

during the breeding season, goats need extra nutrition to support the added stress on their bodies.


America’s ORIGINAL

Larger Capacity, Lower Prices!

Walk-Behind Brush Mower! The DR® Field and Brush Mower just got even better—


Starting at just

FASTER. Up to 20 HP and 34"-wide cut for faster mowing!



EASIER. New power steering for turn-on-a-dime ease!

CHIP BIG BRANCHES up to 5.75" thick!


POWERFUL ENGINES spin big flywheels (up to 62 lbs.), generating massiave chipping force! MODELS THAT SHRED yard and garden waste as well as CHIP branches.


192B1A © 2018

SELF-FEEDING models available. No more force-feeding!

192B1B © 2018

LOWER PRICES. Reduced by up to $500! NEW CHOICES: *Assembled in the USA using including PTO and domestic and foreign parts. tow-behind models for tractors and ATVs.

Now Starting at



Mows and mulches weeds, brush, even saplings up to 3" thick!

Call for a FREE DVD and Catalog! Includes product specifications and factory-direct offers. TOLL FREE

800-707-2173 september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

04x09_ag_bites.indd 7


7/24/18 2:50 AM

Four Trees for Fall


pring is the most common season for planting trees, but horticultural experts cite another time of year perfect for putting trees in the ground: fall. “Fall planting reduces the stress on new plants,” says Jeff Dinslage, president of Nature Hills Nursery ( “Cooler fall temperatures create the perfect growing environment for most trees and shrubs.” Here are four reasons why autumn is a great time for planting. Get a Jump-start on Spring Growth. In the fall, the soil tends to stay warmer than the air temperature, which is great for developing root systems. When the roots start growing again in early spring after the ground thaws, the spring growth will be healthier and more prolific. Less Transplant Shock. The milder autumn weather gives perennials, shrubs and trees a better chance to acclimate to new surroundings. Less Water. The lack of high temperatures and high humidity reduces the water lost to evaporation. The shorter days of autumn also cause photosynthesis to slow down. As a result, new plants require less water than if they were planted in the spring or summer. Cooler Weather. If hot, sweaty summer weather isn’t for you, the crisp, cool fall air makes for an enjoyable, leisurely experience while planting.


2 3


For Autumn PlAnting Here are four terrific trees that deserve a spot in your landscape. ivory siLk LiLaC tree (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’): This small tree bears huge, 1-foot-long flower panicles in late June, well after traditional lilac bushes have given up for the season. The creamy-white, monster flower bunches give off a heady, musky scent that

will perfume an entire yard. These trees make a great focal point in small yards, and in large yards they can be planted in a row along a fence line to create a showstopping tall hedgerow. The Ivory Silk Lilac tree blooms more heavily and longer than bush lilac varieties. In the summer, a tree lilac is densely covered in beautiful, deep green leaves — a refreshing sight in the height of summer heat. In the fall and winter, the dark-red bark adds an interesting color to the landscape. A tree lilac can withstand temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, is not affected by soil pH like other lilacs are, grows to a manageable 15 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide, and makes an impact throughout USDA zones 3 through 7. honeyCrisp appLe tree: There’s nothing crisper than biting into a fresh Honeycrisp apple picked from your own tree. A flurry of pink blossoms covers the tree in early spring. Then yellowish green apples emerge in late summer and ripen with a red blush come September. But the fruits don’t immediately drop when ripe, so you can take your time picking them. This variety needs full sun and well-drained soil for optimal growth. To maximize fruit production, plant another apple tree close by (such as Gala, Granny Smith, Empire, McIntosh or Red Delicious) to aid in pollination. This semi-dwarf tree reaches 15 to 20 feet tall. A Honeycrisp apple tree grows well in zones 3 through 8. austrian pine (Pinus nigra): This classic landscape evergreen looks great every month of the year. When deciduous trees have dropped their leaves and are dormant in freezing weather, an Austrian pine is a pleasant splash of green in a barren landscape.

honeycriSP APPle

ivory Silk lilAc 8

mArley’S Pink PArASol jAPAneSe Snowbell

AuStriAn Pine

Hobby Farms •

04x09_ag_bites.indd 8

7/24/18 2:50 AM

This is a densely branched tree that produces long (4 to 6 inches) dark needles. Austrian pines are great trees for screening because they are very dense. The tree grows well in a variety of soils including limestone and acid soil. For use as a windbreak or a dense screen, space the trees 6 feet apart. When placed in a good site, each tree should reach 5 feet in height in 6 to 7 years when starting with a 2-year-old seedling. Austrian pine trees are cold-hardy in zones 3 through 8.

MarLey’s pink parasoL Japanese snoWBeLL: Here’s an interesting and rare weeping form of a small ornamental tree for most any landscape. The obvious attraction is the flower display. Clean, crisp and waxy-looking flowers hang like bells in profusion from the stems. The display is amazing, and even the emerging flower buds are attractive. The incredible flowers are blushed with pink, and the fragrance conjures cotton candy. The flowers open in late May to mid-June. It’s a great small tree to highlight a berm and an excellent plant to site near a patio, where you can enjoy its great form and remarkable flower display. A long-lived, relatively pestfree tree, it likes a somewhat protected site in full sun or partial shade, with nice moist soil that has plenty of organic matter. Even at maturity, it will grow only 8 to 10 feet tall and a slender 4 to 5 feet wide. It grows best in zones 5 through 8. — Randall D. Schultz hf

sawing Logs Do-it-yourself sawmilling for lumber is on the rise, and portable sawmills have become an attractive enterprise option, as well. “with improved technology, a small unit run by one or two people can economically produce good quality lumber,” according to the Natural resource, agriculture and engineering service cooperative extension. the simplest and least expensive mills rely on manual labor for all operations except powering the saw blade. the more automated — and expensive models — include hydraulic or electric accessories that require minimal physical labor. portable sawmills bring the mill close to the timber harvest site and are easily moved on trailers pulled behind pickups. today’s popularity can be traced to the ability to process timber into lumber that can then be used for specialty wood products and other hobby uses by their owners. “however, there is also potential for these mills to process timber owned by small-scale private forest landowners that may otherwise go unused, providing landowners and entrepreneurs with alternative income opportunities and filling the niche that large-scale operations cannot fill,” according to the alabama cooperative extension system. there are many model options on the market, with new sawmills ranging from around $1,000 to several thousands. accessories are also available that enhance the milling process. another less expensive option is the chainsaw mill, which can be appealing for homestead and farm use with limited access. chainsaw mills require more physical power than portable sawmills and aren’t as efficient. they run off a framework constructed around the log.

SAW your own LOGS



Build and renovate barns, sheds, fences, decking, and more with locally sourced timber by sawing your own logs into lumber with a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. 14 sawmill models starting with the LT10 at $3,995.* Financing Available!

© 2018 Wood-Mizer LLC *Price subject to change without notice.

ORA 87805 Hobby Farms SeptOctober Half.indd 1

04x09_ag_bites.indd 9

800.553.0182 Circle No. 142 on the Reader Service Card.

L VE the wood life

7/10/18Farms 10:00 AM9 september/october 2018 • Hobby

7/24/18 2:50 AM

getting attached By Rodney Wilson

Snow Removal

W A front or rear blade may not be the ultimate option to move snow, but they are less expensive and can be used for multiple chores all year round.


hile it might not seem like it, winter weather is just a few flips of the calendar away, and with it comes farm chores that require five minutes of bundling: fetching firewood, tackling frozen waterers, removing snow and the like. As we enjoy the cool creeping into fall nights, it’s also time to think ahead and get ready for winter, and chief among those thoughts should be snow removal. On a farm, where driveways can wind beyond the sight line, appropriate removal of the white stuff calls for much more than a wide shovel and can sometimes keep you from getting snowed in. And chores are so much easier when you’re not carrying heavy buckets through a foot of snow. Tractor attachments designed for snow removal make a huge difference in how a farmer experiences the winter. Whether your tool is tow-behind or front- or loader-mounted, putting some horsepower behind the task, especially with the added luxury of a heated cab, can make fun out of an otherwise backbreaking task. And when the snow falls, clearing driveways of friends and neighbors can earn some goodwill or even extra cash.

Location, Location The first question is where on the tractor you want to position your snow-removal attachment. Front- or loader-mounted attachments offer an important benefit over the tow-behind options; the attachment gets to the snow before the heavy wheels, which can compact the snow and leave slick tracks on the ground. If you have the capability for front- or loadermounting, specially designed implements can help you clear more, faster. The lowest-cost front- or loadermounted option is a snow pusher, which is a large metal box, sometimes fitted with a metal or rubber lip that collects and pushes snow forward to a chosen location. A pusher can move a lot of snow quickly, and its boxy design moves snow with accuracy.

Scape or Blow A pusher’s location is prescribed to the front end, but other approaches offer front- or rear-mounting options. The simplest implement is a blade. Blades are common to what crews use to clear public roads, and you can choose from a variety of designs to fit your purpose and budget. Curved blades, for instance, “roll” snow for a cleaner end result, while fixed blades, angling blades, trip blades and six-way blades offer varying levels of control over how and where snow is cleared. If you opt for a front-mounted blade, a salting or sanding implement can be mounted in the rear; however, front-mounting can require costly subframes and you won’t be able to use the bucket. If scraping isn’t your thing — it can make a mess of the surface below if used improperly — you can choose a snow blower to clear heavy snow quickly, but all options have some drawbacks. Rear-mounted snow blowers encounter compacted snow or require the driver to operate in reverse. Front-mounted blowers can require subframes, while loader-mounting calls for hydraulic power packs. Regardless of blower style, start by adjusting the skid shoes for 1 inch of clearance between the ground and attachment. Next adjust the chute and deflector angle to move snow far enough away that you won’t

Hobby Farms •

10x12_attached.indd 10

7/23/18 5:43 AM

ANY MACHINE. ANY AGE. A N Y B U D G E T. It doesn’t matter if you own a new John Deere 5075E, a classic 8110, or even equipment that’s not green and yellow. With our industry-exclusive selection of parts, your John Deere dealer has the Right Part to fit your needs. Get exactly The Right Part at the Right Price – for as long as you own your machine – no matter its color, or your budget. That’s the value of choice. And you’ll only find it at John Deere. See your dealer today. The Right Part at the Right Price. Only from John Deere.

68715-9_7.875x10.5.indd 1 HF1810_11.indd 11

11/3/17 7:11 8:55 AM PM 7/23/18

Snow pushers or boxers are designed to move a large volume of snow very quickly, much faster than with a conventional blade.

Plowing Precautions

have to re-clear it on another pass. And, when operating, go slow and steady to prevent clogs.

Safety First Snow, ice and cold make operating a tractor more difficult and more dangerous, according to George Maher, retired agricultural safety specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service. “Tractor operators should change their driving practices to adjust for winter conditions,” Maher says, noting that braking ability on many tractors is affected significantly by snow and ice because most two-wheel-drive tractors only have brakes on their rear wheels. That problem is compounded when front-end loaders are carrying heavy loads of snow or hay. “Even tractors with front-wheel assist have limited stopping ability,” he says. “Only the true four-wheel-drive tractors have four-wheel braking.” The use of front-end loaders requires considerably more caution in winter conditions than during summer. Slippery conditions increase the hazard of maneuvering elevated loads. “Always keep the load and speed low where traction is poor,” Maher says. Consider these other tips when using your tractor to clear snow. • Before the first snowfall, remove large stones, toys, etc. from the areas that will need snow removal. • Be sure to mark obstacles, such as water and gas shutoffs, so their locations are obvious under the snow. • Set your blade to the right height off the ground, so you don’t dig up half the gravel on your driveway. • Plow snow in daylight hours. • In any snow — especially heavy, wet snow — take your time. If the snow is deep, take multiple passes, lowering your blade each time. • Dress warm and in layers. • Come to complete stop before shifting from forward to reverse, accelerate slowly, don’t ride the clutch and periodically change your transmission fluid. 12

Snow-removal attachments offer a powerful line of defense against Mother Nature, but basic precautions are necessary for a safe experience. Preplan your route, being mindful of what might be hidden beneath the snow to avoid dangerous collisions. Dress appropriately so you don’t get caught far away from the house in arctic temperatures. And clean and maintain your tractor and attachments after each use, as snow removal can take a toll on machines. hf Rodney Wilson is a writer, editor and co-owner of Goldfinch Farm (, a family farm that raises chickens and pigs in Franklin County, Kentucky.

Snow blowers can be a necessity in some regions of the U.S., moving large amounts of snow in small amounts of time.

Hobby Farms •

10x12_attached.indd 12

7/23/18 5:43 AM

TASK. TASK. DONE! You can trust Land Pride implements to complete task after task with the reliability and performance you demand. Whether your tasks are your hobby or your job, Land Pride will be your trusted companion. Our full line of Rotary Tillers, available in chain- or gear-drive, cover widths from 42" to 82" and are rated for 15 to 75 HP tractors. Whether you're a commercial landscaper or just tilling your garden, we build one that is just right for you.

Visit today to find the product matched to your tractor or to locate your local authorized dealer.

CONSISTENTLY LEADING THE WAY... Circle No. 121 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_13.indd 13

7/23/18 7:18 AM

how to

Choose ... By Gail Damerow

Heritage Chickens


The Rhode Island Red, one of the world’s most successful dual-purpose breeds, was originally developed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the late 19th century.

quite as well, and the meat breeds don’t grow as fast, as industrial strength chickens. In selecting heritage chickens for your own flock, consider first your purpose in keeping chickens. If your goal is to harvest lots of eggs, choose a breed known to lay well. If your goal is to produce healthful meat, select a heavy breed. For the best of both, choose a dual-purpose breed. If your desire is to have pretty chickens gracing your yard, take a look at some of the ornamental or exhibition breeds. Here are just a few of the many possibilities.

heritage chicken is a traditional breed developed through many years of selection and passed down through generations. The exact definition varies with who’s talking. The Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities defines a heritage breed as being old and rare, and defines “old” as existing before 1940. A more specific definition for heritage chickens comes from The Livestock Conservancy (www.livestock, which offers and suggests that such terms as heirloom, antique, old-fashioned and old-timey should be considered synonymous with heritage. According to this definition, a heritage breed must: • have been recognized by the American Poultry Association before 1950; • reproduce through natural mating; • have the genetic ability to live a long and vigorous life; • thrive outdoors under pasture-based management; • and have a moderate to slow growth rate Compared to chickens developed for industrial purposes, heritage chickens generally have calmer dispositions, are more disease-resistant, are better able to adapt to variable climates and environments, and are more likely to brood (hatch their own eggs). The trade-off is that the heritage laying-breeds don’t lay

Great Egg Layers The top layer by far is the Leghorn, the breed selected by the egg industry to develop into laying machines. Production White Leghorn hens lay more than 25 dozen medium to large white-shell eggs per year. Heritage Leghorns, on the other hand, average just 20 dozen eggs per year, but the hens come in several plumage colors that are less conspicuous to predators than pure white. This small-bodied breed has a reputation for being noisy and nervous, but is also early maturing, hardy and heat-tolerant. The most popular brown-egg heritage breed is the Rhode Island Red, averaging about 16 dozen large eggs per year. As with Leghorns, some strains of Rhode Island Red have been developed purely for production purposes. This breed comes in one color pattern — dark red with a black tail. Rhode Island Reds, like layer breeds in general, tend to be lightweight and rangy, and therefore less suitable than heavier breeds to raise for meat.

Best for Meat



The large breasted Cornish chicken, with its compact body, is an ideal meat bird. The white Cornish is in fact, one of the breeds selected by industry to hybridize for efficient meat production. Heritage Cornish don’t grow as fast as industrial strains — taking 16 to 20 weeks to reach market weight, compared to 6 to 8 weeks for industrial Cornish hybrids — but they don’t develop the same bone ailments and heart failure resulting from excessively rapid growth. Additionally, heritage strains come in plumage colors other than white.

Hobby Farms •

14x17_how_to.indd 14

7/24/18 3:03 AM

T:7.875” S:7.25”

With NatureWise,® supporting flock health comes naturally. *

We know how important it is for you to provide high-quality nutrition for your flock. So we created FlockShield™ ingredient blend, now included in NatureWise poultry feeds you know and love. It promotes gut health and supports bird immune systems. Because healthy feeds mean healthy flocks.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FLOCKSHIELD AT NUTRENAWORLD.COM/POULTRY-FEEDS. *Natural, as defined by American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). © 2018 Cargill, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Circle No. 107 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_15.indd 15

7/24/18 1:02 AM




Silkies have unique turquoise earlobes and black skin.

nick Beer/ShutterStock

You’re everything to your pets. Which is why we developed a line of premium feed for all of your animals. It’s complete nutrition. It’s balanced nutrition. It’s the clear leader.

NUTRITION FOR LIFE . It’s in our nature.

HUBBARDLIFE.COM Circle No. 117 on the Reader Service Card.


Hobby Farms •

14x17_how_to.indd 16

7/24/18 3:03 AM

GAil DAmerow

FORGET TO CLOSE THE COOP AGAIN? WHEN WILL YOUR LUCK RUN OUT? Barred Plymouth Rocks remain one of the most popular dual-purpose heritage breeds.

Cornish chickens are unusual in that hens are identical in conformation to males, although somewhat smaller; market weights for heritage hens are 61â „2 pounds compared to 81â „2 for roosters. Cornish hens average only about six dozen eggs a year, making them uneconomical as layers. Other large heritage breeds suitable for meat production, that lay somewhat better than Cornish, include Cochins and Jersey Giants.

Dual-Purpose Breeds Dual-purpose breeds appeal to people interested in sustainability — keeping hens for eggs and roosters for fertility, hatching future replacement hens, and butchering young surplus roosters for meat. Dual-purpose breeds lack the blocky body of meat breeds, and they don’t lay quite as well as the layer breeds. Expect only about 15 dozen eggs per year from a dual-purpose hen. The New Hampshire is a dual-purpose breed created through selective breeding of Rhode Island Reds to improve growth rate and meatiness. Like Rhode Island Reds, New Hamps come in a single color — a light reddish bay, more golden than the Rhode Island’s rich mahogany. The hens lay large eggs with brown shells. The Plymouth Rock is another large, meaty dual-purpose breed. It comes in a few color varieties, the original and still most popular of which is black and white barred. The hens lay large brown-shell eggs. Other dual-purpose breeds to consider include Orpington and Sussex.

Awesome Ornamentals Not all heritage breeds are ideal for egg or meat production. Some are bantams, or scaled-down chickens, that make a good choice for people with limited chickenkeeping space. Bantams lay eggs, just like the bigger chickens, and although the eggs are small they may be used for all the same purposes. Raising bantams (other than bantam Cornish) for meat would be akin to raising pigeons — small, but tasty. Silkies, with their furlike feathers, are by far the most popular heritage bantam breed. They come in a several color varieties, most commonly black or white. They are friendly, docile chickens that don’t fly well. (Some won’t even perch.) The hens are decent layers of ivory-colored eggs and are such excellent setters they are often kept solely for incubating the eggs of other poultry.


ne of the most important reasons to keep a heritage breed is to help preserve genetic diversity. The Livestock Conservancy lists heritage breeds according to conservation priorities. Review the many options and select one that most appeals to you. When it comes to heritage chickens, you can’t go far wrong. hf Gail Damerow has written numerous books about chickens including The Chicken Encyclopedia, Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens and The Chicken Health Handbook. To learn more about Gail’s books and blogs visit


  Â?Â?Â? Â?  ­€‚Â? •       •  Â?     •     Â?  Â? •        •   Â?Â? Â?Â?   Â?     • Battery  Â? • Â?   • Charging options:  ­  Â?    Â? • €  Â?      ‚   Â? • ƒ„Â… …†  Â… Â? Â? • Many  Â?  Â? Â? Â?

• Three sizes available

• Starting at $180 + options



Circle No. 127 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

14x17_how_to.indd 17


7/24/18 3:03 AM


Feeding for

By Sue Weaver



eeding sheep isn’t rocket science, but there are a few important things to know to help keep your sheep happy, healthy and productive.

1. Finding Forage Sheep are designed to eat forage. They are grazers like cattle rather than browsers like goats. Sheep graze an average of 7 hours a day, primarily around dawn and in the late afternoon, and they prefer pasture grasses and broad leaf plants, though some hardy breeds nibble leaves and tender brush. Sheep aren’t designed to eat high concentrate diets based on grain, though some sheep including lambs, late gestation and lactating ewes, and elderly sheep need a measured amount of concentrates, especially Sue Weaver

when kept on marginal pasture. Unless you’re good at formulating nourishing rations, stick to bagged commercial sheep grain products. Or, before mixing your own, discuss your needs with a nutritionist at your state agricultural college or your county extension agent, who can advise you based on the forage you feed, the class of sheep you’re feeding and foodstuffs available in your locale. When adding grain, go slowly. This is true of all dietary changes. The microbes in sheep’s rumens (the first, large chamber in their digestive tracts) need time to adjust to new feeds. Abrupt changes can cause microbe die-off leading to toxicity, illness and death. And don’t overfeed grain. Susan Schoenian, a sheep and goat specialist for the University of Maryland, suggests anything over 1 pound per feeding is too much. Lacking pasture, sheep need access to quality finestemmed, dustfree, moldfree hay. Lambs and late gestation or lactating ewes do better on legume hay, but grass is better for maintenance diets. A common recommendation is to feed sheep at least 11⁄2 percent of their body weight in forage per day.

2. Much Ado about Minerals

Sheep are grazers and are designed to eat forage. 18

Supplementing your sheep’s diet with sheep-specific mineral products makes good sense. Sheep require minerals, including salt, on a daily basis. Mineral deficiencies lead to birthing problems, weak lambs at birth, reduced milk production, poor quality fleeces, depressed immunity and a host of metabolic disorders. The seven macro minerals required in relatively large amounts by sheep are sodium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and sulfur. Micro or trace minerals needed in smaller qualities include manganese, copper, zinc, selenium, iron, cobalt, iodine and fluorine. Trace mineral salt blocks are not enough. Loose, granulated minerals mixed with your sheep’s grain rations or presented in self-feeders work best. Some sheep, however, won’t self-feed loose minerals. Adding a little extra salt may tempt them or feeding a tub lick product mixed with molasses and served as a solid works, too.

Hobby Farms •

18x20_five.indd 18

7/23/18 5:56 AM

A New Approach to Gut Health Manna Pro Milk Replacers, now with Opti-Gut.

Meet Opti-Gut: our natural formula, complete with probiotics and contents of the yeast cell. Together, these ingredients remove harmful bacteria from the digestive tract and support the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This further supports:

Growth and Development

Gut Health

Digestion and Overall Wellbeing

For More Information on Opti-Gut, Visit Us Online at Circle No. 123 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_19.indd 19

7/24/18 1:07 AM

photoS by Sue Weaver

Sheep are able to meet their nutrient requirements from pasture and a salt and mineral supplement during grazing season. A source of clean, fresh water should always be available to your sheep.

Check your mix. If it contains salt, don’t provide a separate salt block. Place mineral feeders and tubs where they’re under cover, easily cleaned and accessible to your sheep.

3. Concerning Copper Don’t feed too much copper. This is important! Sheep do need copper in their diets. Copper is used to maintain an effective immune response and also plays a part in stress resistance, maintenance of hoof tissue and wool production. However, sheep accumulate copper in their livers more readily than other farm animals. They require about 5 ppm (1 ppm is equivalent to 1 milligram of something per liter of water or 1 milligram of something per kilogram of soil) of copper in their overall diets, but toxicity can occur at just 25 ppm, depending on other elements in the diet and the breed of sheep involved. Because copper occurs naturally in plants, soil and water, sheep normally meet their needs without supplementation. Signs of copper toxicity include lethargy, teeth grinding and thirst. Membranes are initially pale, turning yellow as jaundice sets in. Death occurs 1 or 2 days after symptoms occur. Treatment is rarely successful. Protecting sheep from copper toxicity is a complex subject to discuss with your sheep-savvy veterinarian or county extension agent. Keeping these points in mind can help. • Sheep and lambs should not consume minerals or feeds, including milk replacers, compounded for other livestock species, as their copper needs are considerably higher than those of sheep. If feeding sheep and goats together, feed sheep-specific products and dose the goats with copper oxide boluses twice a year or pen them separately at night and provide goat-specific minerals in the goat enclosure.

Read More For more complete coverage on feeding sheep, consult these great resources. Copper Toxicity in Sheep: Feeding the Flock: General Guidelines for Feeding Sheep and Goats: 20

• Many growing pigs are fed diets containing 100 to 250 ppm of copper, and factory-farmed chickens, 250 to 800 ppm, some of which is excreted in their feces. It’s important not to fertilize sheep pastures with these manures or feed them hay harvested from pig or chicken waste fertilized fields. Products formulated for sheep do list copper content on their labels. This is the content found in feed complements; it’s not added copper.

4. Drink Deep Water is an important feed element, too. Sheep drink ⁄2 to 4 gallons of water per day, depending on the water content of their feed, the class they fall into (a lactating ewe nursing three lambs needs more water than a pet sheep) and environmental conditions. Water should be clean. Sheep won’t drink water soiled with even a few droppings. It should be free of ice in the winter and placed in shade in the summer. It can be served in buckets, troughs, tubs or automatic waterers. Several smaller receptacles stay cleaner and are easier to dump, scrub and refill than one large one. 1

5. We Want Plates Use feeders, and keep them clean. Don’t feed off the ground, a practice that wastes good feed and leads to increased internal parasite loads and disease. Grain can be fed from troughs as long as there’s space enough for all members of a group to eat at once. Allow about 16 inches of linear space for an adult sheep and 12 inches for a lamb. Tubs and on-fence, removable feeders are viable options for smaller flocks. Baled hay is usually fed from hayracks. Don’t use hay feeders with bars for horned sheep that can catch a horn and seriously injure themselves. Big round bales generally require hay rings designed specifically for sheep. Not using one will result in a good deal of wasted hay, and lambs can injure themselves climbing on big bales, especially by jumping off.


hese are just the nuts and bolts of feeding sheep, but if you’ve never done it before, they’ll help you start out right! hf

Sue Weaver lives in the Arkansas Ozarks with her husband and a fine array of animals.

Hobby Farms •

18x20_five.indd 20

7/23/18 5:56 AM

Beat the heat.

The KIOTI® CK10SE has a deluxe, air conditioned cab, so you can work all day in a scorcher and hardly break a sweat. In fact, it’s got heat too. Plus a 35 or 40 HP engine, hydrostatic transmission and a single lever joystick for easy front loader operation. It may just be the nicest compact tractor under the sun. Find a dealer at

© 2018 KIOTI Tractor Company a Division of Daedong-USA, Inc. Circle No. 120 on the Reader Service Card.

KIO18012_HeatMonster_HobbyFarms_7-875x10-5_f.indd 1 HF1810_21.indd 21 Publication: Hobby Farms

Title: Heat Monster

Position: RHP

7/24/18 1:25 PM 5:02 AM

7/27/18 Bleed Size: 8.125” x 10.75”

farm storehouse compiled by Sarah E. Coleman





5 9




1. Post-It Extreme Notes let you leave notes anywhere, in any kind of weather. 2. Loyal ATV Manure Spreader from T.R. Metal Crafters Inc. is simple to operate with two front controls, while the “bear-claw” beaters shred and spread all types of manure (including that mixed with straw). 3. The Ventrac Boom Mower is designed for property owners who want to maintain difficult areas with minimal labor, with the stability and reach to manage vegetation farther away from the machine than other equipment. 4. Prep pots for winter storage with a flowerpot brush, which has a wood handle and bristles shaped for reaching the edges of any pot. 5. The Sun Joe Cordless Pruner works on green wood, woody stems and branches up to 1⁄2-inch. 6. Streamlined for better ergonomics, this Mortier Pilon pint-sized mason jar can be used in a water bath or a pressure canner to store your produce year-round. 7. Brinsea’s new Semi-Auto Turn Kit works with the Mini II and Maxi II Eco incubators and includes a turning mechanism; one standard egg disk for hen, duck and bantam eggs; one small egg disk for pheasant and quail eggs; and full instructions. 8. This steel rake adjusts from 7 to 22 inches wide, locks into place for gardening or working through mulch or between flowers, and can be found at most department stores or online retailers. 9. Knock Out removes dirt, grime, feces, urine, dust and stains from the hair and wool of sheep, goats, cows and other livestock. hf 22


22_storehouse.indd 22

7/27/18 12:55 AM

Find everything to grow, raise and maintain your healthy flock. Shop the largest assortment of fresh feed from your favorite brands plus supplements, waterers, feeders, treats and more. Plus, find a great selection of coops available in-store and online at

save $2 on any (1) 35lb or Larger Bag of Poultry Feed


ShopBrands the Brands Shop the You at You TrustTrust at

HF1810_23.indd 23

Limit one coupon per person, no photocopies. Not valid online or with any other offer, discounts or special orders. Does not apply to past purchases, tax or shipping. Valid in-store only. Coupon required for discount. Coupon valid on all 35lb or larger poultry feed. Offer expires 10/31/18.

Circle No. 139 on the Reader Service Card.

7/24/18 1:50 AM

100 Tips from





24x37_100.indd 24

7/24/18 5:29 AM

In 17 years, Hobby Farms has been published 100 times, so we took one great tip from each issue and put them in one article to celebrate! Compiled by NiCole Sipe


hen the first issue of Hobby Farms rolled off the printer back in the summer of 2001, Facebook wasn’t a website, the iPhone didn’t have a dial tone and Donald Trump wasn’t even a reality star. My how things have changed! One thing is still constant: Good farming information is still good farming information. So we thought it would be fun to go through each issue and find some great tips to share. So whether this is your first issue or you’ve been with us for all 100, here are some informative nuggets from the past 100 issues of Hobby Farms.

AnItA WArren-HAmpson/sHutterstock

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 25


7/24/18 5:29 AM

Premier issue, Summer 2001

issue No. 3, Spring 2002

Buying the Farm: “So how much is enough space? Depending on the scale that you want to operate, 1 to 10 acres is usually plenty to get you started with the most rural hobby-farming adventures.”

Finding and Keeping a Farm Sitter: “To find a professional pet or livestock sitter in your area, check with your veterinarian.”

issue No. 2, Fall/Winter 2001

Good Fences, Good Neighbors: “Hard to contain animals such as goats like to climb. Woven-wire fencing is highly effective.”

Growing Great Pumpkins: “Don’t compost diseased plants. The bacteria can survive and infect another crop.”

issue No. 4, Summer 2002

issue No. 5, Fall 2002

The summer of 2001 was not a space odyssey, but it did see one successful launch: Hobby Farms!

Talking About Tractors: “Before buying that used tractor or attachment advertised at the side of the road, carefully evaluate its condition. You can access its condition by its dents or if parts have been sprung out of position, or if tillage tools are worn severely.”

issue No. 6, December/January 2003 Chill Factor: “When winterizing livestock barns, remember that adequate ventilation is vital to prevent respiratory problems. Don’t plan to button up your barn tightly — eliminating drafts is sufficient.”

issue No. 7, February/march 2003 Out to Pasture: “If the pasture is fenced with wire, attach strips of light-hued cloth or high-visibility tape to the top strand. This makes the fence more visible to horses.”

issue No. 8, april/may 2003 Nature’s Nasties: “To remove a tick safely, grasp its mouthpiece close to its host’s skin and pull straight back.”

issue No. 9, June/July 2003 Making Hay Your Way: “Store your hay in a wellventilated area, out of direct sunlight. Don’t fork it directly on the floor; place it atop wooden pallets to prevent ground contact spoilage.”

issue No. 10, auguSt/September 2003 Building a Better Barn: “Pay attention to the prevailing winds on the property. Orient the stalls and breezeway to take advantage of airflow, keeping the barn well ventilated.”

issue No. 11, OctOber/nOvember 2003 Winter Squash: “Delayed planting can be one of the most effective means of avoiding squash bug damage. If the overwintering bugs are unable to find host plants when they emerge from dormancy, they will starve or fly away.” in the “building a better barn” article from the August/ September 2003 issue of Hobby Farms, author Sarah Christie provided numerous tips on how to build the dream outbuilding you’ve always wanted for your farm. We’re still providing great building advice more than 17 years later. (See matt Fowler’s “pole barn basics” on page 46 of this issue.) GeorGe sHeldon/sHutterstock



24x37_100.indd 26

7/24/18 5:29 AM

Circle No. 139 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_27.indd 27

7/24/18 6:37 AM

transplanted in the spring, and harder plants, like trees and grapevines, are best transplanted in the fall.”

issue No. 15, July/auguSt 2004 Alpacas: Dollars and Sense: “Pregnant females may require more nutrition than what is readily available in pasture and hay, so an owner may consider additional nutritional supplements.”

issue No. 16, September/OctOber 2004 Floral Farms: “In general, flowers should be cut during the cool mornings of warm months and should always be put in the shade as quickly as possible.”

issue No. 17, nOvember/December 2004

The early editors quickly realized that chickens rule (above) and that march/ April would be great for an annual issue about keeping poultry (opposite page).

issue No. 12, December/January 2004 Have a Cow: “Hooves need trimming every few months.”

issue No. 13, march/april 2004 Deworming Demystified: “Reducing the time your critters spend eating off the ground will cut down on [parasite] infection.”

issue No. 14, may/June 2004 Farm Science: Adventures in Transplanting: “In general, soft-bodied plants, like vegetable starts, are

Heritage Turkeys: “Turkeys are big, powerful birds, so use caution when catching them or working closely around the flock. Inquisitive hens love pecking at bright jewelry or even your eyes, so consider wearing eye protection.”

issue No. 18, January/February 2005 Marketing Your Farm: “Contacting your local press to see if they are interested in doing a story about your farm can be a great way to raise awareness for your business.”

issue No. 19, march/april 2005 Happy Chickens, Happy Farmers: “Chickens need protection from predators like raccoons and foxes, so providing them with a safe henhouse increases their odds of survival.” sHutterstock: lAurens HoddenbAGH; WAnessA_p

The welfare of livestock has always been a core value, as seen in the tip from the may/June 2005 issue, instructing readers to be hands-on with their animals to keep them happy and healthy. 28


24x37_100.indd 28

7/24/18 5:29 AM


The Year-Round Hoophouse

DIY Kombucha

Polytunnels for All Seasons and All Climates

Sparkling Homebrews Made Easy ANDREA POTTER


$29.99 Design and build a hoophouse or polytunnel, and grow abundant produce year-round in any climate

$29.99 Urban Homestead Hack Series Creating refreshing, healthier drink, from kombucha to herbal sodas and more, in your own kitchen

issue No. 20, may/June 2005 Speak to Me: “One reason you brush your [livestock] is to look for injuries. Pet them, play with them, spend some time with them; you’ll spot something real quick.”

issue No. 21, July/auguSt 2005

sHutterstock: lAurens HoddenbAGH; WAnessA_p

Garden Checklist: What to Do Now: “Planning a fall garden? Thin your earliest plantings of lettuce and carrots, and get the last round of turnips, peas, beets and other cool-weather crops in the ground by mid to late-August for a crisp, fall harvest.”

issue No. 22, September/OctOber 2005

Essential Rainwater Harvesting

A Tiny Home to Call Your Own

A Guide to Home-Scale System Design

Living Well in Just-Right Houses



$39.99 Design a rainwater harvesting system for any home in any climate

Kitchen Garden Food Preservation Primer: “Foods high in acid, including all fruits, tomatoes and pickled foods, can typically process in a simple boiling water bath. For low acid foods, including all vegetables except tomatoes, you must use a pressure canner.”

issue No. 23, nOvember/December 2005

HobbyFarmAd_NSP_Fall18.indd 1

Seasonal Living: “Start a seasonal journal, keeping brief records of key items such as first frost, harvest times and amounts to help put seasons in context.”

$16.99 Unfetter and unclutter your life by learning how and why to transition to a tiny home

Circle No. 125 on the Reader Service Card.

farm live to

2018-07-04 1:07 PM

real, honest, proud

issue No. 24, January/February 2006 A Farmer’s Guide: Saving Money and Spending Time Wisely: “Before buying animals, find at least three producers and go see their animals and farm, and learn from them. A reputable breeder will take the time to mentor you.”

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! 844.330.6373 September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 29


7/24/18 5:29 AM

sHutterstock: Joyce mArrero; cHAntArAt

in July/August 2006, we featured ducks, an overlooked small-farm animal, in our annual livestock issue.

issue No. 25, march/april 2006

issue No. 30, January/February 2007

Shepherding for Superior Wool: “The type of feeder you use will affect the cleanliness of your flock’s fleeces. Try a bale feeder that sits on the ground rather than wall-mounted types that rain hay onto the animals as they eat.”

Get Out Now! “Always have one lead rope for each animal and hang it in plain view at the gate or door you will use to evacuate that animal.”

issue No. 26, may/June 2006 Heirloom Quality: “Tomatoes are one of the easiest seeds to save, so beginners should start with them.”

issue No. 27, July/auguSt 2006

issue No. 31, march/april 2007 The No-Till Garden: “At the end of the season, it isn’t necessary to clean every last stalk out of the garden. Remove big and bulky stalks and vines and diseased plant material. The rest can be chopped up and left until next spring.”

Super Ducks! “Ducks relish hunting for slugs, succulent grasses and other fare, and allowing your flock to grub for some of their own food will save money on your feed bills while reducing your pest population.”

issue No. 28, September/OctOber 2006 The Staff of Life: “Be careful that [grain] has dried down to 10 to 15 percent moisture before storing. Grain that isn’t dry enough will mold.” in our 39th issue, we picked a beauty of a tip for raising fruit (right). 30

issue No. 29, nOvember/December 2006 Rural Roundtable: “Newspaper is a wonderful environmental bedding [for animals]. It is readily available, it decomposes rapidly, and when recycled as bedding, it reduces the amount of solid waste entering the landfills.”


24x37_100.indd 30

7/24/18 5:29 AM

issue No. 32, may/June 2007 Asset Management: “Fresh manure should never be applied to gardens or crops that are typically eaten raw. In these applications, use aged and well-composted manure for the best and safest results.”


issue No. 33, July/auguSt 2007 Farm Science: “Keep flower heads on young basil plants pinched back to promote bushing and, as plants mature, continue to remove any flower heads to prolong your harvest and maintain flavor.”

issue No. 34, September/OctOber 2007 Up Your Sustainability: “The rule of thumb for crop rotation is: Never grow the same annual crop in the same soil two years in a row.”

issue No. 35, nOvember/December 2007 Here Comes Winter: “With ruminants, one thing we find that helps them if they’re going into a cold period is to have the farmer increase the fiber content in the feed. Adding a little more fiber stimulates the rumen and the rumination process will create more heat, helping the animals weather the cold.”

CropKing's workshops are perfect for the novice or experienced grower. Topics include: hydroponic growing, water quality & nutrient management, business planning and more! DEDUCT THE WORKSHOP COST FROM YOUR QUALIFYING GREENHOUSE PACKAGE PURCHASE



· · · ·

· Held monthly at our Lodi, OH location · Designed for the prospective or novice greenhouse vegetable grower · Includes all workshop materials

Held at our Lodi, OH location Small group (2 person max) attention Customized based on experience level Includes all workshop materials


330-302-4203 · WWW.CROPKING.COM Circle No. 109 on the Reader Service Card.

issue No. 36, January/February 2008 Beautiful Roots: “Root crops grow best when started by direct seeding into the field or garden. Plant the seeds to the depth noted on the seed packet, and be prepared to thin all varieties of root crops to reduce competition for growing space and nutrients.”

f FARM FRESH HAY Grown and harvested specially for small pets

issue No. 37, march/april 2008 Getting Good Eggs: “If eggs are found clean, there’s no need to wash them since it would remove the bloom, or cuticle, which is the invisible, protective layer naturally found on eggs.”

VET-RECOMMENDED Carefully crafted with inspired ingredients

more at www.oxbow

issue No. 38, may/June 2008 The Art and Science of Hay: “Legume hay should be fed to livestock when a high level of performance is expected, such as dairy cows and growing cattle.”

issue No. 39, July/auguSt 2008 Beautiful Berries: “During dry spells, blueberry plants should receive deep watering — approximately 1 to 2 inches per week.” Circle No. 128 on the Reader Service Card.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 31


7/24/18 5:29 AM

issue No. 40, September/OctOber 2008 Putting Down Roots: “Potatoes are best stored loosely in a root cellar, either on the floor or on shelves.”

issue No. 41, nOvember/December 2008 Heirloom Beans: “Plant beans when the soil has been at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer for five or more days and all frost danger has passed.”

issue No. 42, January/February 2009 Horses for Your Homestead: “Before purchasing a horse, check local laws pertaining to keeping a horse on your property, such as requirements for acreage, fencing and housing.”

issue No. 43, march/april 2009 Mother Nature’s Planting Guide: “The fourth quarter of the moon is best for pruning because there is less sap in the plants’ stems.”

issue No. 44, may/June 2009 Eat This, Not That: “Greens plucked in early spring will be much more palatable than those picked during the height of summer, since most plants grow tougher and more bitter-tasting once they’ve flowered and set seed.”

issue No. 45, July/auguSt 2009 Farm Garden: “Keep raccoons out of your corn field by placing motion-activated sprinklers in your field. They send out a sharp stream of water when the raccoons come in, hopefully scaring them away.”

issue No. 46, September/OctOber 2009 All-Season Farming: “Cloches, designed to protect fragile plants from cold temperatures, can be as simple as a 1-gallon plastic jug with the bottom removed.”

issue No. 47, nOvember/December 2009 Covering Up: “Clover can be grown under beans, followed with spinach the next spring, which loves the extra nitrogen.”

issue No. 48, January/February 2010 Farm Garden: “Many deciduous trees (with the exception of maple, birch and elm) are best pruned during the winter months when growth is dormant and branch structure is easily visible.”

issue No. 49, march/april 2010 Put Your Soil to the Test: “If your plot is situated along an established roadway, test your soil for lead even though gas is no longer leaded. Trees used to filter the lead from the air and collect it in their leaves. When the leaves dropped each autumn, the lead could find its way into your soil.” 32

issue No. 50, may/June 2010 Profitable Plantings: “Store your seeds in a cool, dry place. A handy formula is the temperature (in Fahrenheit) plus relative humidity should be equal to or less than 100.”

issue No. 51, July/auguSt 2010 Pick a Peck of Heirloom Peppers: “Start your peppers indoors. The fact that they need a lengthy growing season — coupled with their sensitivity to frost — means you’ll probably need to extend your growing season in some fashion, and starting the seeds indoors is the best way to accomplish this.”

issue No. 52, September/OctOber 2010 Designer Pumpkins: “Pumpkins are ready to be picked when the rind is hard and the vine begins to die.”

issue No. 53, nOvember/December 2010 All in a Dog Day’s Work: “Look for breeders who are candid not only about the talents but the drawbacks of their breed. A respectable breeder will not sell a dog that’s not the best for your needs.”

issue No. 54, January/February 2011 Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: “Generators are in short supply after disasters, so invest in one and learn about generator safety before the worst happens.”


24x37_100.indd 32

7/24/18 5:30 AM

Goats, sheep and fiber have been a big part of our editorial mission, as seen in issue no. 62’s “Welcome to the Fiber Farm” article.


WHAT’S YOUR HERD HEALTH SUCCESS PLAN? Work your spring cattle with trusted products from Merck Animal Health




Internal parasite control is the cornerstone of an effective herd health program. Safe and proven, Safe-Guard® (fenbendazole) goes straight to the gut and kills worms where they live.

Defend your herd from blackleg disease and pinkeye infections with trusted vaccines. 20/20 Vision® 7

Comfortable cattle are healthy, growing cattle. Control external parasites that increase cattle stress levels and threaten the productivity of your herd.

Piliguard® Pinkeye-1 Trivalent


Covexin® 8

UltraBoss® TM 2 UltraSaber


Safe-Guard® Suspension (Drench) 1 Safe-Guard® Paste

Vision® 7 or Vision® 8

Merck Animal Health has a plan for you. Visit your nearest animal health retailer.


Double Barrel® VP Saber™ Extra2



Grenade® ER


To learn more about these products please visit Consult your local veterinarian for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and control of parasitism. 1


RESIDUE WARNING: Cattle must not be slaughtered within 8 days following last treatment. For dairy cattle, the milk discard time is zero hours. A withdrawal period has not been established for this product in pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. See label instructions for dosing and usage information.

2 Giralda Farms • Madison, NJ 07940 • • 800-521-5767 Copyright © 2018 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. US/SFG/1017/0026a

Circle No. 124 on the Reader Service Card.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 33


7/24/18 5:30 AM

The spring and summer issues are always fun to publish, with great articles on crops, such as melons and okra, and livestock, such as dairy goats.

issue No. 55, march/april 2011 Stinkin’ Good Crops: “Cure alliums in a warm, wellventilated location before storing in a cool, dry place.”

issue No. 56, may/June 2011 Cherished Cherry Tomatoes: “Inter-plant your tomato crop with flowering herbs like thyme, cilantro, dill, fennel, chamomile and chervil. They will lure in all the species of beneficial insects that help control common pests.”

issue No. 57, July/auguSt 2011 Weeds Be Gone: “Turning your weeds into the soil before they can mature and go to seed helps reduce the number of future weeds.”

issue No. 58, September/OctOber 2011 Fashionably Late: “Late-season planting is particularly useful for farmers who offer community-supportedagriculture (CSA) subscriptions or sell at winter farmers markets.”

issue No. 59, nOvember/December 2011 Meat & Greet: “When raising hogs for meat, start with a 40-pound weaned female (gilt) or castrated male (barrow) pig. Choose a large, strong-looking pig; these mature faster than their smaller siblings.”

The Cole Kids on the Block: “Rotate brassicas with other vegetable families, such as alliums or nightshades, to reduce their susceptibility to disease and insect problems.”

Farm Garden: “Examine houseplants carefully for signs of overwintering pests. Shiny, sticky leaf surfaces could mean an infestation of sap-sucking pests, such as scale, aphids of mealybugs. Control them with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.”

issue No. 61, march/april 2012

issue No. 67, march/april 2013

Layer by Layer: “Examine your coop closely from the perspective of a predator. Are there weak areas where an animal can squeeze through to access your hens?”

The New Queen Bee: “The most important investment in your bees is to have a young queen. Hives with older queens are more likely to swarm.”

issue No. 62, may/June 2012

issue No. 68, may/June 2013

Welcome to the Fiber Farm: “For sheep or goat raisers who want truly pristine fiber, blanketing or coating may be the ultimate solution. A cover will keep the fleece cleaner and keep the tips from getting damaged by weather.”

Plant Elixirs: “Growth-enhancing sprays are best applied in the early morning or on a cloudy day when rain is not expected for at least 48 hours.”

issue No. 63, July/auguSt 2012

Pollinator Central: “Use cover crops during the off season to conserve soil and to provide food and habitat for native bees.”

issue No. 60, January/February 2012

Cut & Dried: “Cover sunflower heads with cheesecloth or row cover immediately after blooming to keep birds from feasting on the seeds.”

issue No. 64, September/OctOber 2012 Lean on Me: “Bison are a good choice for smallscale farms. Raising bison is no more difficult than raising cattle.”

issue No. 65, nOvember/December 2012 Mighty Mulch: “Apply fresh grass clippings sparingly. Their high nitrogen levels can burn young plants.” 34

issue No. 66, January/February 2013

issue No. 69, July/auguSt 2013

issue No. 70, September/OctOber 2013 The A-Team: “Carrots must be weeded well, with constant moisture to produce a well-formed and sweet root vegetable.”

issue No. 71, nOvember/December 2013 Poop Happens: “Allow poultry to free-range in manure piles to speed decomposition. As a bonus, the birds can eat the parasites living in it.”


24x37_100.indd 34

7/24/18 5:30 AM

issue No. 72, January/February 2014 Radical Radishes: “Radishes are ready to harvest when you can see the shoulders of the bulb breaking out of the soil line.”

issue No. 73, march/april 2014 Male Call: “Bucks and other intact male livestock should be housed separately from the herd but not kept alone, which can increase aggression.”

issue No. 74, may/June 2014

4 and 10 Hole Traditional Nests

High Capacity 50 lb. Feeder

The Golden Fleece: “To properly store sheared fleeces, roll the fiber up and place in paper sacks or cardboard boxes.”

issue No. 75, July/auguSt 2014 In Full Forage: “Limit corn intake of your foraging animals, as too much too quickly can cause diarrhea and bloat.”

Winter Exhaust Fans

Two-Door Poly Crate

issue No. 76, September/OctOber 2014 Aubergine Regime: “Starting eggplants indoors under grow lights eight to 10 weeks before the last expected frost allows you to get a jump on the growing season.”

Circle No. 116 on the Reader Service Card.

issue No. 77, nOvember/December 2014 ’Shroom to Grow: “Moisture and shade are key factors in successful mushroom cultivation. Patience is too, as fruiting can take up to 18 months, depending on the variety.”

issue No. 78, January/February 2015


A Sweet Deal: “Just before harvest, mow sweet potato vines with a walk-behind brush mower to make them easier to harvest.”

issue No. 79, march/april 2015 Chick Magnets: “If exhibition stock is desired, it is best to purchase chicks from breeders rather than hatcheries. Hatcheries have many breeds, but they may not be good examples of the breed and won’t usually do well in exhibition circles without some generations of selective breeding.”

issue No. 80, may/June 2015 Worth the Squeeze: “Not every fruit and vegetable was made for juicing. While berries can be juiced, they often produce little liquid at the sacrifice of fiber-rich, edible seeds.”



VENTRAC.COM Circle No. 140 on the Reader Service Card.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 35


7/25/18 4:45 AM

issue No. 81, July/auguSt 2015

sHutterstock: WArren mAy; Jeremy cHrIstensen

Just last spring, we had a great article about raising calves.

When the Heat is On: “Digestion produces body heat, so try feeding animals in the evening, if possible.”

issue No. 82, September/OctOber 2015 Kickin’ Cousins: “Ginger likes loose, deep, welldrained acidic soil that should be amended with compost ahead of planting.”

issue No. 83, nOvember/December 2015 Raising Rabbits for Meat: “Sanitation and ventilation are keys to raising meat rabbits. Rabbits do best in allwire hutches in some kind of enclosure that protects them from the environment.”

issue No. 84, January/February 2016 Green Thumb: “Wine corks can be repurposed as filler for orchids and as a permanent, attractive mulch for container plants, such as dwarf citrus trees.”

issue No. 85, march/april 2016 Talking Turkey: “You’ll need about 2 gallons of water each day for every dozen mature turkeys you keep.”

issue No. 86, may/June 2016 Weather Watching: “Provide your pasture-based livestock with plenty of shade to evade heat stress, which can cause a decrease in milk production, feed intake, weight gain and fertility.” We were into beekeeping long before it became so popular, and we’re still reporting on it, such as the “Honey of a Singular Nature” article last summer.

24x37_100.indd 36

issue No. 87, July/auguSt 2016

issue No. 89, nOvember/December 2016 Green Thumb: “Square-point shovels are best for horizontal digging, such as removing sod and leaving a flat spot for stepping stones.”

issue No. 90, January/February 2017

Solving the Deworming Dilemma: “You can tell if a sheep or goat is anemic by pulling down the eyelid and checking the color. A bright red or dark pink eyelid correlates to a high hematocrit, while a pale pink eyelid correlates to a low hematocrit.”

Better Crops from Better Soil: “Root crops don’t grow well in very acidic soils. A soil sample for pH and nutrient analysis will help you apply fertilizer and/or lime appropriately.”

issue No. 88, September/OctOber 2016

issue No. 91, march/april 2017

Going Under Cover: “As a cover crop, oats add biomass to the soil. The tops can be harvested and sold as is, and the leftover stalk can be dried and sold as oat straw.”

The Making of a Menagerie: “Free-ranging chickens work wonders in a cattle pasture, keeping fly populations down by eating maggots and mixing manure into the soil.”

7/24/18 5:30 AM

Honey of a Singular Nature: “In order to harvest a specific honey varietal, bees need to be placed in a location where one type of plant is primarily in bloom. The honey collected by the bees must then be harvested immediately following the bloom and before the plants in the area start to flower.”

issue No. 93, July/auguSt 2017 Stretching Your Calf Muscles: “When housing calves indoors, be sure it’s clean, dry and draft-free. Outdoors, they should have access to shelter from bad weather.”

issue No. 94, September/OctOber 2017 Purple Reign: “For a fresh lavender bouquet, pick blossoms when half of the flowers on the head have opened.”

issue No. 95, nOvember/December 2017 Marketing Wares in Winter: “Spread fallen leaves around your plants for extra protection during winter months.”

issue No. 96, January/February 2018 Pop Goes the Farm: “Popcorn can be microwaved right off the cob by placing the ear in a brown paper bag.”

issue No. 97, march/april 2018 Chicken Feed Financials: “Chickens will waste nearly 30 percent of the feed in a full trough, while wasting only 10 percent of one that’s 2⁄3 full, and only about 1 percent of a trough that’s 1⁄3 full.”

issue No. 98, may/June 2018

BURN SAFELY with the Stainless Steel

Portable BurnCage™ PERFECT FOR: • Sensitive financial documents • All burnable household waste* • Old leaves and branches STAINLESS STEEL CONSTRUCTION is lightweight, durable, and portable (it folds for easy storage). PERFORATED LID and sidewalls maximize airflow and trap embers. 1600° TEMPERATURES mean more thorough burning with less ash. NEW BurnCage™



* Always check local ordinances before burning.


Call Today for FREE Information Kit, Pricing and Factory Direct Coupon!


No more UNSAFE and UNSIGHTLY rusty barrel!

192AFX © 2018

sHutterstock: WArren mAy; Jeremy cHrIstensen

issue No. 92, may/June 2017

Now Available in 3 Sizes!



Garlic Galore

for Fall Gardens

Spring Checkup: “Change air, fuel and oil filters at least once a year when you change the oil — more frequently if the tractor is often run in dusty conditions.”

issue No. 99, July/auguSt 2018 On the Fence: “Barbed wire is suitable for cattle because cows have thick hide. However, it’s not appropriate for horses or sheep. If you keep all these species in one pasture, an electrified high-tensile fence is safe and effective.”

issue No. 100, Sept/Oct 2018 To Cope with Molt: “Eighty percent of what you serve your chickens should be prepared feed, and the rest they should clean up in 10 or 15 minutes. Otherwise, they’ll fill up on treats and skip the good stuff.” hf

Circle No. 146 on the Reader Service Card.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

24x37_100.indd 37


7/26/18 4:21 AM

Nick Beer/shutterstock

38x45_molt_CX.indd 38

7/31/18 12:37 AM

to Cope with the Molting is a fact of bird life. Learn what happens — and how to help your flock — when the feathers start to fly. BY CHERIE LANGLOIS

or those of us enamored with chickens, a hen or rooster in glossy fine feather rivals any postcard-perfect sunset for sheer loveliness. Consider the Rhode Island Red’s vivid cinnamon suit, the Barred Rock’s outfit of dapper black and white and the Australorp’s iridescent night cloak — and these breeds comprise only a tiny portion of a beautiful, feathery whole. Feathers are so integral to our birds’ beauty that it can be disconcerting when they start dropping all over the place, often making the coop look like a poultry slaughter scene. In the northwestern U.S., where I live, this usually occurs in September and October just as the weather turns cold and rainy again. “Why do they always do this now?” I complained to a fellow raiser when it happened to my Barred Rock hens last fall. “I worry they’ll freeze.” She was similarly perplexed. So I looked deeper into this mysterious process — known in the avian world as molting — to find out what I could do to better help my girls cope with these bad-feather days. Here’s what I learned.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

38x45_molt_CX.indd 39


7/31/18 12:37 AM

Molting can take as little as three to four weeks, while some birds take 12 to 16 weeks to finish.

CArriE EPLEy/sHuttErstoCk

how do you know whether feather loss results from molting or some other, more sinister cause? Begin your detective work by paying attention to time of year (molting usually occurs in the autumn) and to the overall plumage condition and behavior of each individual. • Do one or more birds sport embarrassing bald spots? • Do you have a randy rooster in the flock? • Have you noticed a lot of pecking-order scuffles? • Are your birds preening overzealously and looking bedraggled? “Localized feather loss — usually on the rump, back or tops of wings — is almost always caused by feather picking among flock mates or overbreeding by a rooster,” says James Hermes, Ph.D., an extension poultry specialist at oregon state university. “Molting doesn’t typically cause a naked spot.” Broken, frayed feathers can also signal that another bird is the offender. Feather picking can be a vicious cycle, Hermes explains. As new blood feathers sprout in the injured area, other chickens peck at them and like the taste. “We’re not sure why they start or why they stop, but sometimes, you need to separate the picked-on bird from the rest of the flock until those feathers grow back.” External parasites — notably mites and lice— can damage your flock’s plumage as well, although these pests usually don’t cause outright feather loss. An exception is the microscopic depluming mite, which burrows into the feather follicle and causes intense itching and pain, leading the bird to pull its own feathers. Any dull, unkempt plumage outside of molting season calls for a closer inspection. “Pick up your birds and look them over,” hermes says. “red mites will be on the birds at night, and adult lice are pretty obvious. You might see little deposits of eggs that look like cement at the base of feathers. Lice are mostly interested in eating skin dander but you’ll often see holes in the feathers as well.” once you’ve identified which parasites you’re dealing with, treat accordingly.


Hobby Farms •

38x45_molt_CX.indd 40

7/31/18 12:37 AM

CArriE EPLEy/sHuttErstoCk

More than just fancy adornments to swoon over, feathers are a defining characteristic of chickens and all birds and are essential to their survival. “Wild birds are heavily dependent on their feathers for insulation and [with a few exceptions] flight,” says James Hermes, Ph.D., an associate professor and extension poultry specialist at Oregon State University since 1987. “They need a good base of feathers to keep warm or cool, and every time one breaks, a bird has to work harder to fly.” Though flight isn’t quite as essential to our clucky companions, they, too, rely on a healthy feather covering to protect their delicate skin from injury and help regulate their body temperature. Poorly feathered chickens might have difficulty weathering a harsh winter or extremely hot conditions. They might also need to eat more to maintain body temperature, meaning higher feed bills for producers. If feathers are so important, why cast them off in such a dramatic fashion? “Molting is a natural part of a bird’s biology,” Hermes says. “Unlike hair that grows all of the time, a bird’s feathers grow to full length, then stop and sit there. They’re dead material, and they won’t repair themselves if they break or get scruffy.” Composed of a type of fibrous protein called keratin, feathers are complex epidermal structures whose growth is regulated by an equally complex series of


To MolT or NoT To MolT

hormonal changes. To replace their old, worn plumage, wild birds molt most of their feathers and grow new ones every year in an orderly fashion, with the new feathers pushing the old ones right out of their follicles. Though some avian species, such as ducks, become flightless during this time, you probably won’t see any bald birds out there. Indeed, you would probably be hard-pressed to even tell they’re molting. The number and timing of molts varies among avian species, but it usually occurs outside the breeding season.

Molting can happen at any time of year, but late summer and early fall are the most common, sparked by shorter days.

BoB PooL/shutterstock

While most chickens stop laying during a molt, high-producing breeds and certain individual hens may continue to lay and molt at the same time, but only if they can maintain their body weight.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

38x45_molt_CX.indd 41


7/31/18 12:37 AM

Feather loss starts with the head and neck, then down the back, across the breast and thighs, and last but not least, the tail feathers.


entire molt,” he says. “Being domesticated, they just aren’t as dependent on their feathers as wild birds.”

Chickens may not look normal during a molt, but they should act normal.

MolTiNg FacTors & Egg ProducTioN

BoB PooL/shutterstock

Feather growth and egg production are each protein- and energy-intensive processes, so it makes biological sense for them to take place at different times of the year. Our domestic laying fowl approach molting a little differently. According to Hermes, layers kept under natural light conditions will also normally undergo a molt each year, but often this process is incomplete. “It may take them two or three years to go through an 42

Not all chickens molt in the same way or at the same time. The biggest factor influencing the molt is day length, with most domestic fowl starting to lose their feathers as the days shorten in the fall. Of course, the exact timing varies depending on location. Breed also influences molting: Commercial laying poultry breeds, for instance, might respond with a more pronounced molt while fancy breeds often have a less noticeable molt. Nutritional deficiencies and stress — from crowding or extreme heat, for example — can affect molting, causing birds to shed their feathers outside the usual season or go through a more drastic molt. Among my own flock, I’ve noticed molting schedules vary even among individuals of the same breed. Some unfortunate birds shed lots of feathers at once and take longer to grow them back, while others cast off fewer feathers and replace them quickly. Additionally, senior birds often go through a more severe molt than their younger companions.

Hobby Farms •

38x45_molt_CX.indd 42

7/31/18 12:37 AM

Not all chickens molt in the same way or at the same time. the biggest factor influencing the molt is day length, with most domestic fowl starting to lose their feathers as the days shorten in the fall. As mentioned before, wild birds usually molt outside the breeding season. Chickens, on the other hand, have been bred to lay eggs year-round, which creates a bit of a molting dilemma. With layers kept under natural light, egg production slows significantly during the molt and becomes erratic because of hens’ different molting schedules. This is why commercial farms usually induce flock-wide molting with controlled lighting and feed changes that temporarily halt egg production. Taking a reproductive “rest” while they molt brings the hens back into full production faster. Some small-scale raisers also use artificial lighting to extend day length and keep their birds laying through the winter. Still, to keep layers in full production, it’s important to give them a break from the lights during fall or winter so they have time to molt. “Chickens need to molt,” Hermes says. “If you have your birds on lights all of the time, they’re going to molt eventually, but it won’t be a very good one.”

I need so m here PEO e help PLE! Sweet P



... Yes

boy hhhh,

PDZ er t e e Sw efresh R Coop lease! O


• • • •

Neutralizes ammonia & odors Safeguards respiratory health All-Natural granular mineral No additives, perfumes, scents

For more info & a retailer near you: 800.367.1534 www. /cooprefresher


Circle No. 136 on the Reader Service Card.

Feathers are 85 percent protein. Molting and growing new ones requires a lot of energy. Be sure to feed your birds a feed with at least 16 percent protein during times of molt.

Celebrating 40 years of incubator design Brinsea the world leading incubator manufacturer is adding to its range of incubators, brooders, egg candlers and automatic coop door openers. All with 3 year warranty.

NEW range

MolTiNg Flock carE Nutrition is important for chickens at any time of year, but especially so during the molting season. According to Hermes, a balanced commercial diet appropriate to the age, stage and type of flock provides all of the essential nutrients molting birds need. For raisers who prefer to supplement at this time, he advises sticking to

For more information

Free Color Catalog

or call 1-888-667-7009 Circle No. 104 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

38x45_molt_CX.indd 43


7/31/18 12:38 AM

Juvenile chickens go through several mini molts, but the first major molt as an adult typically occurs at about 18 months of age.



During a molt, the tail feathers are usually the last to go. 44

a limited amount of protein-rich extras, such as dried mealworms, cat kibble or meaty table scraps, rather than carb-heavy fare. “Eighty percent of what you serve your chickens should be prepared feed, and the rest they should clean up in 10 or 15 minutes,” Hermes says. “Otherwise, they’ll fill up on treats and skip the good stuff.” With their feathery insulation diminishing daily, it’s also critical that your birds have a cozy coop or other snug shelter to protect them from the elements. Plus, because molting itself can be difficult on a bird, keeping your flock’s stress levels down is important at this delicate time. If possible, postpone any major changes, such as a coop upgrade, enclosure move or new flock addition, until after the feathers stop flying. Keep your biddies safe from harassment by pets, kids and predators. Handle your chickens as little as possible to avoid upsetting them and to avoid damaging those growing feathers. You’ll probably notice slender, emerging pin feathers covered with a waxy coating that breaks off, which will contribute to the general molting mess. You’ll also see some large, blood-engorged pin feathers sprouting, especially obvious on the wings and tail. They’re called blood feathers for good reason.

Hobby Farms •

38x45_molt_CX.indd 44

7/31/18 12:38 AM

Chicks burst out of eggs covered in soft down — part of what makes them so appealing. From this point on, it seems like feathers sprout at the speed of light, and by 4 or 5 weeks of age, the chick has a full compliment. the growing poult undergoes another mini-molt at around 8 to 10 weeks and then completes its first big-bird autumn molt at around 18 months. unless some factor causes abnormal feather loss (see “ other FeatherLoss culprits” on page 40), you can expect an adult chicken to molt once a year after that.

“If broken, they bleed a lot and don’t grow back well,” Hermes says. When confronted with this anxiety-inducing situation, he advises leaving the quill in place rather than yanking it out, which can damage the muscle if done incorrectly. To stop the bleeding, put pressure on the broken spot and then apply a blood-clotting agent. If bleeding continues despite this intervention, the broken shaft will probably need pulling. Consult a vet or experienced poultry raiser if you’ve never done this. Note: If you routinely keep your chickens’ wings trimmed, you’ll need to repeat this procedure after the molt, then keep close watch for any remaining blood feathers.

Circle Circle No. No. 148 ??? on on the the Reader Reader Service Service Card. Card.

Don’t dilute the protein content of your normal feed by providing too much scratch during molting season. Limit scratch to 10 percent of the diet intake.

For kids who



horses & poni es



CREATE A MOREL GARDEN Morel Habitat Kit ® We provide the Morel spawn and easy to use instructions $32.95 + $8.65 S/H CREDIT CARD ORDERS (800) 789-9121 CA residents add 8 1/2% Sales tax



t might seem like molting lasts forever, but if you provide proper nutrition and care, you can expect your chickens to finish the process in eight to 12 weeks. Then, it’s time to take some pictures for social media and kiss those bad-feather days goodbye. hf Cherie Langlois is a freelance writer and photographer who tends a petite hobby farm in Washington state with her awesome husband’s help. Together, they reside with an entertaining and much-loved little menagerie of a horse, terrier-poodle mix, cat, cockatiel, ducks, chickens and five very silly young goats. She loves growing and cooking with healthy heirloom vegetables.



Shiitake, Maitake, Lion’s Mane, Ganoderma & Oyster

GOURMET MUSHROOMS P. O. BOX 515 HF8 - GRATON, CA 95444 (707) 829-7301 Fax: (707) 823-9091



“The easiest mushroom kit to use.” Organic Gardening Magazine



Shiitake Log

Brown Oyster Kit - $18.95 Blue Oyster Kit - $18.95 King Oyster Kit - $18.95 Lion’s Mane Kit - $18.95 Shiitake Kit - $21.95 S/H $8.65 ea. S/H for any Two Kits $11.95

Circle No. No. 149 ??? on Circle on the the Reader Reader Service Service Card. Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

38x45_molt_CX.indd 45


7/31/18 12:38 AM





46x53_poles.indd 46

7/27/18 1:01 AM

Ask yourself these 10 key questions before you build a pole barn.



he pole barn has been around for a long time, but this post-frame construction method has become more popular for barns as farm equipment has gotten bigger and needed large buildings to protect it from the elements. Pole-barn manufacturers recognized the opportunity and made adjustments, such as chemically treating wood for greater longevity and using steel plates in trusses, allowing for greater height and length of buildings. Let’s tackle 10 key considerations before you have one built for your farm.


Pole barns were originally constructed by placing posts directly in the ground. The depth of the holes for posts is usually determined by the applicable building code and is based on factors including frost heave, wind speeds, wall size and building dead load. This method is the easiest and least expensive construction option, but it also leaves posts more susceptible to vertical movement as the building settles as well as rot where the posts contact the ground. Many pole barns are constructed by placing each post on a concrete “cookie.” These cookies are 6-inch concrete disks that go in the bottom of each hole, below the post, before the hole is backfilled with dirt. Companies use this cookie to mitigate the potential settling of the barn as the


September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

46x53_poles.indd 47


7/27/18 1:01 AM

photos courtesy

The above horse barn has an open porch outside and two horse stalls inside (right).

load is applied to the posts after construction. This lowcost method has been used for a long time and does help prevent the posts from settling, but it still leaves the posts susceptible to rot at ground level. The last option can take many forms, but the concept is the same. The posts are anchored to a metal bracket that itself is anchored to a concrete foundation. The concrete foundation can be a concrete pier (a vertical column of concrete similar in size to the holes drilled for the typical post placement), or it can be anchored to a precast concrete post similar in size to the wood post or anchored to a traditional stem wall. Each of these more expensive options mitigates the potential for posts settling as well the potential for post rot, as the concrete acts as a barrier to the ground.

2. What type of posts?

The typical pole barn has two options for posts. Originally, pole barns were built with single log or one-piece post construction. These posts were typically 6-by-6 posts. In recent years, many manufacturers have been using laminate posts that are of the same size. The single wood post is still a common construction material, and for smaller buildings or buildings with a lower roofline and sidewalls, such posts can be more economical. However, they aren’t any easier to work with and don’t offer the structural strength or resistance to rot of laminate posts. 48

Laminate posts are built from three smaller, individually treated pieces of lumber that have been glued and nailed together to make a single post. As an example, a 6-by-6 post would be composed of three treated 2-by-6 boards that have been laminated together. These posts have a greater resistance to rot — regardless of the foundation — and are less likely to twist as they dry and are put under load.

3. are there Different options for the exterior Metal? Manufacturers use a variety of thicknesses in terms of the metal they use or recommend. Discuss the type of coatings they use to prevent rust and how long a warranty they provide against the fading of the paint option you choose.

Hobby Farms •

46x53_poles.indd 48

7/24/18 6:18 AM

paulette johnson

Dry and well-ventilated pole barns are excellent storage buildings for hay, feed and grain.

Circle No. 132 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

46x53_poles.indd 49


7/24/18 6:18 AM

A pole barn can be a cost-effective solution for horse stables, hay storage, machinery storage, grooming stalls and much more.

courtesy oF

4. hoW thick is the Metal?

Pole Positions

beyond these basic questions, take the time to read your contract until you understand all the provisions. these contracts are lengthy, so don’t sign one on the spot. the contract should specify how the building project will flow. many companies provide an anticipated build date. recognize that the date is subject to change, and that the later in the peak build season you sign, the more it varies. be aware of your payment obligations. many companies ask for three or four payments. those could be a percentage when you sign, a percentage when materials are delivered and the remaining balance when the project is complete. Know whether the contract specifies a cost if you make changes to the building. Finally, be specific about who is responsible for cleanup. the cost of renting a debris box can be an unpleasant surprise.


The thickness of the metal for the outside walls and roof of a pole barn are standardized by the American Iron and Steel Institute. As an example, 30-gauge galvanized steel should have an average thickness of .0157 inch, while 26-gauge galvanized steel has an average thickness of .0217 inch. The key point is to recognize that the smaller the metal gauge, the stronger the metal. There can be a significant difference in the cost of the materials on a building with 26-guage metal versus a building with thinner, 30-guage metal. Compare the painting process used by each manufacturer and the warranty each provides for fading and rusting. Some colors or finishes have different warranties or no warranty based on your selection. Some colors are also a significant upgrade from manufacturer to manufacturer.

5. is there a Difference in the pitch of the roof? The roof’s angle, or pitch, is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally. For example, a roof that rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run has a 4:12 pitch.

Hobby Farms •

46x53_poles.indd 50

7/24/18 6:18 AM

6. are there options on the spacinG of the posts? Companies can vary the spacing of the posts greatly. The post spacing can range from 8 to 12 inches on the sidewalls (load-bearing sides) of a pole barn. These differences can be important in the overall construction of a pole barn but usually this factor doesn’t affect the cost much. For example, a building with posts spaced every 10 feet uses fewer posts over a 40-foot span, but the changes to the rest of the structure of the building to reinforce the greater span between posts negates that savings. The spacing of the posts depends on the barn’s intended use. Overhead doors on the sidewalls, lofts, windows and walk doors can all affect the optimal spacing distance.

The EASY DR® Way to TRIM and MOW! Starting at just

$ The ORIGINAL Trimmer on Wheels!


The DR® TRIMMER MOWER gives you 5X the power and NONE of the backstrain of handheld trimmers! TRIMS & MOWS thick grass and weeds without bogging down—the only trimmer guaranteed not to wrap! ROLLS LIGHT AS A FEATHER on big, easyrolling wheels! THICKEST, LONGEST-LASTING cutting cord (up to 225 mil) takes seconds to change.

192B0X © 2018

Most pole barns have fairly flat roofs because the greater the pitch of the roof, the greater the cost. When comparing the costs of pole barn estimates, make sure the manufacturers quote the same roof pitch. A flatter roof, such as a 4:12 pitch, has fewer material costs for the trusses and metal than a roof with a 5:12 pitch.



Call for FREE DVD and Catalog! TOLL FREE


7. What are Girts?

The sidewalls of a pole barn are typically reinforced with 2-by-6s every 24 to 30 inches from the bottom of the posts to the top of the posts. Some companies space girts every 24 inches and use 2-by-4 lumber, while others stretch the distance to 48 inches with the use of 2-by-6 lumber. Providing for the continuity of the quotes, ask what each manufacturer recommends. As you plan the use of the pole barn, determine whether you want to finish the inside of the pole barn or affix equipment to the inside walls, as this might dictate the spacing and the material necessary for the structure you desire.

8. What are purlins?

Purlins are the long, horizontal structural component of the roof. The purlins run perpendicular to the trusses, and the roofing metal is attached directly to the purlins. The three most common purlin systems are to attach the purlins flat (wide side of the 2-by-4 laying on the trusses), attach the purlins on edge (narrow side of the 2-by-4 laying on the trusses) Circle No. 118 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

46x53_poles.indd 51


7/24/18 6:18 AM

daniel johnson

This hay barn (right) has a 4:12 roof pitch. When constructing a pole barn (far right), you must consider many variables.

or attach purlins by using hangers to affix the purlins between each truss with the top of the purlin even with the top of the trusses. Each of these methods should — if the spacing is properly calculated — deflect the weight necessary for the snow load in your location.

9. hoW are the trusses attacheD to the posts?

Methods for attaching the posts vary greatly but should correlate to the structural stability required of the building. Snow loads, wind speeds and earthquake susceptibility should be factors in the construction method, but it might be a component of how the manufacturer prefers to construct buildings. 52

steve oehlenschlager/shutterstocK


Poles barns don’t just come in red (above)!

Trusses resting on corbels are pretty common. A wooden block called a corbel is bolted to the post and then the trusses sit on top of the corbels and are attached to the post. Trusses attached to a header are more common in areas that don’t have quite as much snow load. In this system, a header is placed between posts — usually a 2-by-12 — and the trusses are attached by metal fasteners to the header. This system is also used if a large door causes the spacing of posts to misalign the spacing needed for the trusses. Laminate posts can be manufactured to allow the trusses to sit in a notched area either in the middle of the post or on one side of the post. Remember: These

Hobby Farms •

46x53_poles.indd 52

7/24/18 6:18 AM

before you sign a contract, confirm that the company building your pole barn is bonded and insured.

UPGRADE YOUR HOBBY FARM TO A COMMERCIAL OPERATION FROM CROPKING CropKing’s 30’x128’ hydroponic greenhouse package makes larger scale growing easy!

laminated posts are typically made of three 2-by-6s, so removing the top part of the middle 2-by-6 or the top of the outside laminated 2-by-6 is very easy. The trusses are then bolted all the way through the post, making a very solid connection.

10. insurance inforMation

steve oehlenschlager/shutterstocK

Before you sign a contract, confirm that the company building your pole barn is bonded and insured. Building a pole barn is a fast-paced project with people working at potentially dangerous heights. Taking on the liability for the workers is the obligation of the company, but find out who takes on the liability for the materials from delivery to project completion and final payment. Find out how the company you select handles this before you contact your insurance company. Each manufacturer aims to deliver as much material in as few loads as possible to save shipping costs. The means you must insure the material under what’s commonly called construction insurance or confirm that the builder insures the materials until the project is complete.

BENEFITS: · Extend your growing season. · Improve plant quality. · Generate income by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce.

WHY CHOOSE CROPKING: · 35+ years of industry experience, serving thousands of growers worldwide. · Dedicated sales and support staff available to answer your questions or solve technical problems. · Ask about our consulting services!

330-302-4203 · Circle No. 110 on the Reader Service Card.

once you know the general size and layout of your outbuilding, think about proper ventilation.


On budget, on schedule, on farm


uilding a pole barn can be a huge undertaking, but with the right planning and a few good questions you should end up with a successful project. hf

Matt Fowler, MBA, Ph.D., and his family enjoy writing about their experiences at The Abundant Farm, an intentional farming operation in Southeastern Illinois on Crawfish Creek. The farm challenges the family in the building of a homestead by producing food, products and character while teaching of health and bounty to others. Visit them online at www. or theabundantfarm.

Farmers and ranchers trust Varco Pruden builders for energy-efficient structures for dairy, grain, arenas, livestock and crop barns. Custom sizes from 20’ to 250’ wide and 30’ to 750’ long. Find a builder at This free brochure is available at

Circle No. 141 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

46x53_poles.indd 53


7/24/18 6:18 AM

Cold Weather 54


54x59_orchard.indd 54


7/27/18 1:33 AM

don’t let a short growing season and cold winters keep you from enjoying fruit and nut trees.


By J. Keeler Johnson

steven r. hendricks/shutterstock

he cold winters in the northern regions of the United States offer plenty of challenges for farmers. All-too-brief summers and long, cold winters create short growing seasons that are challenging for growing gardens and orchards, so you can understand why southern locales appeal to a lot of farmers. Isn’t it punishment enough to deal with the long winters without having to compromise on your aspirations for impressive fall harvests? But never fear, northern farmers! While you might not be able to grow an orchard full of pecan or peach trees, you can grow a remarkable variety of fruit and nut trees in the northern states — so many that there’s really no need to feel limited. By choosing appropriate coldhardy varieties and putting careful thought into where you plant them, you can create a vibrant orchard that will produce fruit and nuts for years to come. September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

54x59_orchard.indd 55


7/27/18 1:33 AM


Cold definition How do you know whether a particular type of tree can survive the cold weather where you live? While many factors can influence the equation, the best place to start is with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This colorful map of the U.S. divides the 50 states (as well as Puerto Rico) into a series of numbered zones ranging from 1 (the coldest) to 13 (the warmest), based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature each year. If you live in zone 7 or greater, you can expect that the coldest temperatures of winter won’t dip below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for growing a wide variety of fruit and nut trees. But once you get down to zone 4, you’re talking about winter temperatures that can fall to minus 20 to minus 30 degrees. It gets even worse in zone 3 (minus 30 to minus 40) and zone 2 (minus 40 to minus 50). Now that’s cold! While you might question how any orchard could survive such extreme winter temperatures, zone 4 supports an extensive range of fruit and nut trees, while particularly hardy specimens can tolerate even the conditions in zone 2, especially if you give them an edge with careful planting considerations. To find out your zone, visit

J. keeler Johnson (left); daniel Johnson (above & opposite page)

The Duchess of oldendburg originated in russia, so you know it’s a cold-hardy fruit tree. It’s apples are golden-yellow and covered with red stripes (above). The tree (right) usually produces a good harvest every two years.


54x59_orchard.indd 56

7/23/18 6:03 AM

Wolf river apple trees (left) were born along the banks of the Wolf river, near Fremont, Wisconsin.

Help Your trees survive Within the broad categories of the plant hardiness zone map, local microclimates exist that are warmer or colder, and these microclimates can exist even within your own acreage. For example, the differences between a south-facing slope and a north-facing slope can be significant. In theory, you might assume that a south-facing slope would be more ideal for cold-sensitive plants because it provides more direct sunlight. But this also means that temperature swings on southern slopes are more extreme, which can cause sunscald (damage to the trunks of trees from rapid temperature fluctuations) and premature awakening from dormancy (which can cause damage to delicate trees if temperatures suddenly drop again). Planting on the south side of a stone wall or building can produce similar effects. For truly hardy trees, a south-facing slope can be perfect, but if you want to grow a tree on the edge of its range, the tree might be better off on a north-facing slope, where temperature swings will be moderate and spring awakening delayed. The direction of prevailing winds is also an important consideration, because cold winter winds can further decrease temperatures in a given area. Having some form of windbreak, whether it’s a building or rows of windbreak trees, can provide a more sheltered area for your orchard. Just make sure that your windbreak won’t shade the orchard too much during the summer months, when long hours of direct sunlight are paramount. Wrapping the trunks of your trees with tree guards to protect against sunscald can also help, and it’s a good idea to avoid pruning your trees late in the year, as there

is evidence that this can reduce their ability to prepare for cold temperatures and cause damage as a result.

fruit & nut trees If you’re fortunate enough to live in zone 4, your options for fruit and nut are pretty broad. Zone 2 and zone 3 will reduce the possibilities for growing an orchard of nut trees, but the hardier varieties of fruit trees will ensure that you can still produce an impressive harvest each fall. Let’s look at some of the more popular cold-hardy trees you can consider. APPLE TREES As perhaps the most quintessential and popular fruit tree, apple trees have been meticulously bred and developed for years, and lots of options exist for cold-hardy varieties. There are far too many to list, but Duchess of Oldenburg, Wolf River and Red Gravenstein are three heirloom trees that perform well into zone 3 (and in the case of Red Gravenstein, even zone 2),

What About Mulching ?

While mulching your trees won’t protect branches from damage, it can help protect the roots and ensure the long-term health of the tree. even if you encounter an abnormally severe winter that damages branches and fruiting wood, the layer of mulch might be enough to save the roots and allow the tree to bounce back. straw, pine needles and leaves can all perform well as coldweather mulching material. for winter protection, the layer of mulch should be a few inches deep (in the case of straw, perhaps more) and as wide as the tree’s canopy overhead.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

54x59_orchard.indd 57


7/23/18 6:03 AM

J. keeler Johnson

not quite satisfied with the apple, pear, plum and nut trees that you can grow in cold-weather regions? if it’s citrusy flavor that you crave, is there a way to grow oranges or lemons in the colder zones of the country? the short answer is no, if you use traditional means. the long answer is yes, if you’re willing to put in some effort. because citrus trees won’t tolerate temperatures below freezing, they won’t survive a single winter if you plant them in the ground and subject them to the bitter cold found in the north. however, citrus trees planted in large pots can be brought indoors during the winter, where — if kept by a sunny, southern window — they can survive and thrive for years. of course, citrus trees grown in pots do require special care. as they grow, you’ll either have to transfer them to larger pots to prevent the trees from becoming root bound, or you’ll have to trim back the roots and the leaves in an effort to keep the tree from growing beyond a particular size — which might be ideal anyway because moving a large tree indoors for the winter can be difficult. in addition, you’ll have to be careful to prevent your citrus frees from overproducing fruit, which can be detrimental to their health. You won’t get giant crops of fruit from citrus trees, but if you’re willing to give them the care and attention they need, you can expand the number of different fruit trees that you can grow in your region. 58

fotografas edgaras/shutterstock

Citrus in Cold Climes

while September Ruby — developed in Canada and introduced in 1986 — can be resilient all the way into zone 1. Wolf River is a particularly fun tree to grow because it’s known for producing huge apples, though they’re better suited to cooking than fresh eating (which is a nice way of saying that they’re a bit sour or tart). In this regard, Duchess of Oldenburg is a tastier choice. PEAR TREES You’ll find that cold-hardy pear trees aren’t as common as cold-hardy apple trees, but the Ure is considered an excellent option for tasty pears as far north as zone 3, though it needs cross-pollination with another pear variety — such as cold-hardy Siberian and Golden Spice — in order to bear fruit. Patten is known for its large fruit and is also an option for zones 3 and 4. PLUM TREES Options abound for hardy plum trees, including Toka, Black Ice and Waneta, all of which are resilient into zone 3. Pembina is even hardier, surviving and thriving into zone 2, though it has a reputation for needing a different plum species growing nearby for pollination purposes. Fortunately, the tried-and-true American and Canadian plums — two native species — can do the job just fine and are also very hardy. CHERRY TREES Not all cherries are equally tasty when eaten fresh, but hardiness isn’t much of an issue. As you might expect of a cherry tree developed in Saskatchewan, the Carmine Jewel cherry can be hardy into the warmer regions of zone 2, as might the

J. keeler Johnson

Wrap the trunks of young trees with tree guards to protect against sunscald.


54x59_orchard.indd 58

7/23/18 6:03 AM

J. keeler Johnson guentermanaus/shutterstock

A black walnut orchard (above) can produce several thousand pounds of nuts per acre.

fotografas edgaras/shutterstock

popular Nanking cherry, though it could prove more comfortable growing in zone 3. Also resilient is the widespread chokecherry, which grows wild throughout the northern U.S. and well into Canada. Despite its somewhat off-putting name, A Field Guide to Eastern Trees (part of the Peterson Field Guide Series) notes that “the tart fruits” of chokecherries “can be made into delicious jellies and are used for pies.” SHAGBARK HICKORY A close relative of the pecan (so close that pecan/shagbark crossbreds can be found), shagbark hickory is considerably hardier than its warmth-loving southern relative and can perform well into zone 4. BLACK WALNUT Renowned for their tasty nuts and value as lumber trees, black walnuts are reasonably hardy but might not thrive in the coldest of climates. They can survive as far north as zone 3 (the three walnuts in my orchard are proof), but they struggle to produce nuts in these conditions (mine are proof of this as well) and prefer the slightly warmer winters of zone 4. BUTTERNUT If you want to grow walnuts but are concerned about cold winters, the butternut can be

a great compromise. Butternut trees are very similar to walnuts and are, in fact, frequently referred to as “white walnuts.” Their general range runs a bit farther north than walnuts, and they’re hardy into zone 3. CHESTNUT Chestnut blight might have decimated the Native American chestnut, but the disease-resistant Chinese chestnut is a great alternative, surviving as far north as zone 4. The hybrid Colossal chestnut is likewise hardy to zone 4.

shagbark hickory trees (in summer and fall, left) are a common hickory in the eastern U.s. and southeast Canada.


ou might not live down South where temperatures are warm and winters mild, but by choosing cold-hardy specimens and giving special consideration to planting location and winter care, you can grow a productive orchard as far north as zone 2. Have fun planting! hf J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, farmer, blogger and videographer with a passion for pruning trees. He lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin, where he cares for more than a hundred apple trees and one 40-foot pear tree that should have been pruned long ago. September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

54x59_orchard.indd 59


7/23/18 6:03 AM

A Field Guide to

OLD BARNS The iconic American farm barn has evolved to many different sizes for multiple purposes. BY SAMANTHA JOHNSON


s there any element of rural America more iconic than a glorious red barn? Barns hold a distinct place in the history of many farms, and they seem to transcend time. Other icons of farm life — tractors, trucks and other machinery — come and go, replaced and upgraded as the years pass, but barns remain. A barn is a fixture of the farm — as essential to the landscape as the fields and the fences. Aside from an occasional fresh coat of paint or new roof, barns can remain roughly unchanged throughout their existence. The architecture of American barns varies widely, and the purpose of an individual barn typically determines its design. Just as farmers raise varying types of livestock and crops to fulfill different purposes, various common “breeds” of barns exist, each with a different story.

Samantha Johnson is the author of several books, including Chicken DIY: 20 fun-to-make projects for happy and healthy chickens. She lives on a former dairy farm in northern Wisconsin with a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Peaches and writes frequently about pets, gardening and farm life. Visit her online portfolio at



60x64_barns.indd 60

7/23/18 6:12 AM


Tobacco Barns Once common throughout the southern and eastern U.S., tobacco barns were built with a specific purpose in mind: to cure harvested tobacco leaves. There are variations in exact style, but the major common goal in tobacco barns is to provide excellent ventilation for the drying tobacco.

Tobacco barns accomplish this through features such as long aisles and breezeways, tall doors and removable wall sections. In many vintage tobacco barns, you can still see the hanging racks for the tobacco. Sadly for vintage building enthusiasts, old tobacco barns today are facing the danger of a slow extinction. As production of

tobacco has decreased in certain regions or is actively discouraged at the state level, many vintage tobacco barns are unable to adapt to changing times. Unlike a hay barn that can still be used to house hay even in the 21st century, the tobacco barn’s shape and ventilation needs make it less usable for conversion.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

60x64_barns.indd 61


7/23/18 6:13 AM


bank barn Bank barns provide a fascinating twist on the basic idea of a two-level barn. The bank barn is typically built into the side of a hill

so that the ground level comes up to the second story on one side. This allows for easy loading and unloading of hay or other materials into the upper level.

These barns often have trap doors leading to the livestock area below, designed for easy feeding. Occasionally, a bank barn utilizes a ramp for the same purpose.

Seeing Red

When considering barn colors of the East and Midwest (and to a lesser extent, the West), it’s obvious that the iconic red coloring is what most people associate with barns. After all, a red barn surrounded by green fields is one the classic images of rural America. But why red? Other barn colors exist — think snow-white dairy barns — but not in the same numbers as red barns. The original reason for the red barn stems more from practicality than from aesthetics. Before the 1800s, most barn wood was left natural and therefore took on a distinctly weathered look. Later, in an effort to preserve and protect barns for longer periods of time, barns began to be painted. Naturally, most profit-minded farmers wanted only to protect the barn and didn’t care much about the color, and this is where red comes in. With some experimenting and recipe tweaking, an inexpensive paint was developed, consisting of lime, milk, linseed-oil and — the secret ingredient for that red coloring — common iron oxide. The choice to paint a barn red today is probably more aesthetic than economical. After all, barns are supposed to be red, right? It’s interesting to note, though, that the initial reason was because iron oxide was abundant and inexpensive.



60x64_barns.indd 62

7/23/18 6:13 AM


Gambrel Barn


A gambrel barn takes the basic English barn design (below) but incorporates additional angles into the roof trusses to create the iconic “barn roof” look that is so familiar. Increased storage capacity is the goal of the gambrel roof; the additional angles allow for more volume. The increased storage might not seem as valuable today in the era of baled hay, but many of these barns were built before mechanical balers when hay was put up loose — possibly as high as the ceiling would allow. A system of pulleys and tracks was often used on the ceilings to maneuver the loose hay. Gambrel barns are often built as two-level structures with livestock housing below and storage above. Some gambrel barn roofs — known as Gothic or rainbow — contain no angles but are rounded instead.

English Barn Easily identified by their basic A-shaped roof structure, English barns are built around a very simple design — essentially a foundation with four walls supporting a basic pitched roof. Early farmers in the United States borrowed elements from existing Old World designs, but these colonists made some modifications — better ventilation, for one thing — to accommodate livestock rather than just storing crops. Siding often runs vertically on these barns, which tend to be smaller; 30-by-40 feet is common.

September/October 2018 • HOBBY FARMS

60x64_barns.indd 63


7/23/18 6:13 AM


Round Barns Round barns are an oddity. Sometimes they’re perfectly round, other times more polygonal. They’re based on the fact that a circle holds more volume than a square, and thus a round barn allows for more storage space than a rectangle barn made of the same amount of materials. While this might be true, round walls make it more difficult to build interior infrastructure such as stalls, aisles, storage areas and separate rooms. Round barns were also said to offer a more efficient workflow, but the idea didn’t really catch on with farmers. Round barn construction was on the decline by the 1920s.

In the Details Two common details seen across many different barns are cupolas and widows’ peaks.

CUPOLAS. Many old barns sport highly decorative cupolas near the center of their roofs, and these mini structures are not simply for show. Most cupolas also played an important role in ventilation, eliminating excess moisture. hf

WIDOWS’ PEAKS. Also known by the names “hay hoods” and “crows’ beaks,” these features are often found on hay barns with gambrel roofs. They are extensions built off one end of the barn’s peak that allow the hay pulley rack to extend out into the farmyard and allow for easier access to the hay wagon.



60x64_barns.indd 64

7/23/18 6:14 AM



Page NumbeR

101 ALLogic Inc./AdorStore .......................................... 71 (832) 444-0192; 145 American Suzuki Motor Corp ....................................3 (714) 572-1490; 102 Bass Equipment Co. ............................................... 72 (800) 798-0150; 103 Branson Tractors ........................................... Cover 4 (877) 734-2022; 104 Brinsea Products Inc. ............................................. 43 (321) 267-7009; 105 C.S. Bell Co., The......................................................73 (419) 448-0791; 106 Caprine Supply ........................................................70 (913) 585-1191; 107 Cargill Animal Nutrition...........................................15 (518) 649-4888; 108 Circo Innovations ....................................................71 (877) 762-7782; 150 Corrugated Plas-Tech (The Greenhouse Catalog).......................................70 (800) 825-1925; Country Home Products ..........................................37 (802) 877-1200; Country Home Products ............................................7 (802) 877-1200; Country Home Products ..........................................51 (800) 687-6575; 109 Crop King Inc. ..........................................................31 (330) 302-4203; 110 Crop King Inc. ..........................................................53 (330) 302-4203; 111 D-S Livestock Equipment........................................71 (301) 689-1966; 112 Earth & Turf Products ..............................................73 (888) 693-2638; 113 Featherman Equipment ...........................................70 (660) 684-6035; 114 Filaree Garlic Farm ..................................................72 (509) 422-6940;

ReadeR SeRvice No.


Page NumbeR

149 GMHP .......................................................................45 (707) 829-7301; 148 Goodwinol Products Corp........................................45 (970) 834-1229; 115 Granberg International ............................................72 (800) 233-6499; 151 Happy Valley Ranch.................................................70 (913) 849-3103; 116 Hog Slat Inc. ............................................................35 (800) 464-7528; 117 Hubbard Feeds.........................................................16 (800) 869-7219; 118 International Greenhouse/ Greenhouse Megastore ...........................................51 (888) 281-9337; John Deere Agriculture .............................................5 (913) 310-8100; John Deere Agriculture ...........................................11 (913) 310-8100; 119 KID Group Inc...........................................................72 (405) 354-6925; 120 Kioti Tractor Inc. ......................................................21 (919) 374-5001; 121 Land Pride................................................................13 (785) 820-8692; 122 Manna Pro Corp. ............................................. Cover 3 (636) 681-1778; 123 Manna Pro Corp. ......................................................19 (636) 681-1778; 153 Mechanical Transplanter Co. ..................................72 (616) 396-8738; 124 Merck Animal Health...............................................33 (908) 423-3000; 125 New Society Publishers ..........................................29 (520) 240-0821; 126 Nite-Guard ...............................................................73 (763) 389-2031; 127 Nopec .......................................................................17

ReadeR SeRvice No.


Page NumbeR

128 Oxbow Animal Health ..............................................31 (800) 249-0366; 129 Parts Dept. ...............................................................72 (800) 245-8222; 152 Poultry Butler...........................................................73 (724) 762-2507; 130 Progressive Insurance ..............................................6 (800) 776-4737; 131 Red Lake Nation Foods ...........................................70 (218) 679-2611; 132 Sand Creek Post & Beam ........................................49 (888) 489-1680; 133 Scythe Supply ..........................................................73 (207) 853-4750; 134 Snorkel Stove Co. ....................................................71 (239) 877-6359; 135 Stromberg’s Chicks & Gamebirds Unlimited ..........71 (800) 720-1134; 136 Sweet PDZ Co. .........................................................43 (800) 367-1534; 137 Tallman Ladders Inc. ...............................................73 (541) 386-2733; 146 Territorial Seed Co. ..................................................37 (800) 626-0866; 138 TR Metal Crafters ....................................................71 (800) 472-2341; 139 Tractor Supply Co. ...................................................23 (877) 718-6750; 140 Venture Products Inc ...............................................35 (330) 683-0075; 141 VP Buildings ............................................................53 (901) 748-9287; 142 Wood-Mizer Products Inc..........................................9 (317) 808-0845; 143 W.T. Kirkman Lanterns ............................................72 (877) 985-5267; 144 Yanmar America Corp..................................... Cover 2 (770) 877-9894;

(512) 995-0058;

January/February 2018 • HOBBY FARMS September/October

65_ad_index.indd 65


7/31/18 12:55 AM

real milk

A Return to For a treat, keep a family milk cow. BY CANDI JOHNS


Hobby Farms •

66x69_cow.indd 66

7/23/18 6:22 AM


hen you have a cow, you have it all.” We’re far from the time a family milk cow was a staple in the front yard, but this age-old saying is as true today as it was 100 years ago. If frothy milk, churning butter and homemade ice cream speak to your soul, the family milk cow should be in your future. Adding a milk cow to a homestead or farm might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. The family cow is making a comeback, and she has much more to offer than fresh milk. Whether you have always dreamed of pails of fresh milk or you’ve never considered adding a cow to your operation, the family cow is worthy of consideration. Regardless of the breed, the family milk cow is probably the most satisfying addition for the self-sufficient enthusiast. A closer look at the beautiful family cow unveils her true worth. Indeed, she is more than milk: She is a friend, a provider, a holistic life, a self-sustainer, a garden nourisher and even an income.

income potentialS


A family milk cow can be quite a profit center. DAIRY RETURNS You can sell fresh dairy products in many areas. Check with your state for restrictions and details. Many home dairies sell extra milk, butter, cheese, soap and other products from fresh milk. Even the milk you don’t use can create income. Raw, unprocessed milk is a rich food that can be fed to many other animals on the farm or sold for animal consumption. Chickens, dogs and pigs all thrive on fresh milk. Using or selling extra milk can greatly reduce costs on the farm. CASH IN ON CALVES Milk cow owners eventually end up with some sort of cow/calf operation. It’s a perk that comes with the deal. In order to continue producing milk, a cow must calve somewhat regularly. Each time she calves, she begins a fresh lactation cycle. From this point, a cow can be milked a year or longer. Some folks continue milking for more than a year from a single lactation cycle; however, most diary cow owners prefer to breed the cow each year. This provides a fresh milk cycle and a new calf each year. Those calves are an excellent source of income. You can use them to provide meat for the family or sell them for the same purpose. In the case of heifers, you can use or sell them as milk cows. In addition bestowing to the annual calf, she can also raise orphans or bottle babies. This is yet another celebrated attribute of the gentle milk cow. She is eager to mother. A family cow takes care of her own calf, and many happily accept orphans. RECOUP WITH COMPOST Cow manure is big business these days. Finished cow manure can be found in bags sitting on shelves of most garden centers. A family milk cow usually provides all the manure a small farm can use. Compost is the fuel every garden needs to soar, and it can also be sold for profit. SUPERMARKET SAVINGS Many of us raise our own eggs and grow our groceries in the backyard garden, but few of us enter the family cow arena. Dairy products can be expensive, especially if they are organic, raw or cultured. When these are produced on the farm, it decreases your grocery bill. Supermarkets can be wonderful things, yet perhaps it’s even better if you don’t need to visit them. A satisfaction comes from providing sustenance from your own land. The family cow brings the dairy aisle into the home by providing milk as well as the basis for cream, butter, ice cream, buttermilk, cheese, whipped cream and yogurt. The home dairy teaches lost skills. It brings the rich nutrients back to your milk-based foods and nourishes the family. september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

66x69_cow.indd 67


7/23/18 6:22 AM

Superior Dairy proDuctS Farm-fresh dairy goods are naturally filled with probiotics and vitamins and are extraordinarily healthy. Consuming fresh milk and dairy products contributes to great health. Not only is the milk local, it’s as fresh as it can get. With the family cow, you can enjoy unpasteurized, unhomogenized, unprocessed diary. Fresh milk fills your gut with natural probiotics. Grass-fed dairy products are also an excellent source of omega-3s and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a highly sought-after fat known to promote heart health and fight disease). When a milk cow is a part of your homestead, the whole family knows that milk comes from a cow, butter comes from cream and buttermilk comes from butter-making, among other treasured truths. Dairy products such as sour cream, yogurt and cheese are demystified, and making them becomes part of regular, simple activities. Churning ice cream can be the most delicious way to spend a hot summer afternoon. Allergy sufferers can rejoice, too. Drinking fresh milk daily has been compared to a natural allergy shot. As the cow grazes, she consumes grasses, pollen and local allergens. When you drink the milk from her, you receive small doses of those allergens. This limited, regular exposure can decrease one’s reaction.

companion piece The Jersey, Dexter and Brown Swiss breeds are all known for their sweet dispositions and mild manners in the milking parlor. If you would like fresh milk and

How to Milk a CowBy


Knowing how to milk a cow goes perfectly with growing vegetables and putting up food for winter. Milking a cow is an easy skill to learn. It takes only a few days of regular milking to become efficient.

The supplies needed are:

• a place to milk (out of the weather) • a place to sit (an upside-down bucket works great) • a pail to milk into • your hands To milk a cow by hand: Start with clean hands and a clean, dry udder. Squirt the first couple of streams of milk onto the floor or a cup. This cleans out any bacteria hanging out in the opening of the teat and allows the milker to check the milk for any clumps or problems. To move the milk out of the udder, grab high on the teat near the udder and constrict it so no milk can travel back up into the udder. Then use your other fingers to gently squeeze the milk down and out of the teat through the hole at the end. Once the teat is empty, open your hand and allow milk to fill the teats again. Continue squeezing out the milk until no milk is left. Once the milk is captured, simply strain it (to remove any hair or debris that might have fallen into the pail), pasteurize it (if desired) and chill it. 68

a friend for life, the Jersey is hard to beat. Her nature is loving and kind. She is a natural mother eager to adopt an orphan or bottle baby. She is gentle around children.

phySical FitneSS Daily milking provides regular outdoor living. There is nothing like early mornings in the milk barn with a gentle cow and the rising sun. Daily milking and home dairying can also be fantastic stress reducers. Somehow, the pressures of the world seem to melt away when it is just you, a happy cow and milk streaming into a pail. Milking is also surprisingly efficient at keeping muscles and joints alert and moving. If the trip to the gym never seems to happen, a milk cow might provide the exercise routine you can maintain. To optimize exercise potential, walk to the milk barn, then milk the old-fashioned way—with your hands. (See “How to Milk a Cow By Hand” below for instructions.)

expect the unexpecteD The family cow is simply the definitive showstopper on the farm. Few homesteaders and farmers today still take advantage of the benefits and blessing of the family milk cow. When your classic, bovine beauty arrives, she will probably steal the hearts and attention of many locals and visitors alike. It won’t take long before the locals talk about your unusual bovine and strangers stop by to meet your newest addition. Generations past will see your precious milk cow and be catapulted back to a happy childhood where milking was a daily chore and clanging milk pails meant homemade ice cream and smiles. Not long after we brought home our first milk cow, we realized that our cow was different. Neighbors we hadn’t met, locals from town and people driving through all stopped to take a closer look at our sweet Jersey girl. Countless ladies and gentlemen have come by the farm just to meet “the family with the Jersey cow.” One gentleman made my day when he saw us all in the field with our cow. He pulled into our gravel driveway, climbed out of his truck and introduced himself. “Is that a Jersey cow?” he asked. “Yes sir, she is,” I replied. “You milk that cow?” “Yes sir, we do.” “What do y’all do with the milk?” I chuckled, smiled and said: “We drink it!” Then he shook our hands again and told us he was glad we were in the county and asked us to let him know if we ever have any extra butter.

Daily milkingS “Milking one cow is fun. Milking 60 is like prison.” This is what the septic tank guy said as he serviced our system. He was instantly charmed by our Jersey girl the minute he entered our driveway. He said our milk cow looked just like the cow named Belle he had as a boy. He also compared owning dairy cows to prison.

Hobby Farms •

66x69_cow.indd 68

7/23/18 6:22 AM

phOTOS by CandI JOhnS

Don’t let him scare you. The family milk cow can be milked once a day. If being married to the farm has prevented you from getting a family milk cow, she might deserve reconsideration. There are several ways to milk once a day, but perhaps the simplest and most effective is to share milk with a calf. It’s simple to do and quite successful. When the cow gives birth, leave the calf with the cow. Bring the milk cow into the barn once a day, every day, and milk her out. As the calf grows and begins to consume more milk, you might find that your pail is empty. Simply put the calf in a separate field, paddock or comfy barn for a short time (such as from sundown until morning). While the calf is away from mama, be sure it has some hay and clean water. Milk the cow first thing in the morning, and then reunite her with her calf for the day. When the calf is big enough to consume all the milk, the farmer can take days or weekends off from milking. Just leave the calf with the cow, and they take care of the milking. You always have plenty of milk, and you have some freedom, too.

Raw Milk FAQs

If you’ve got questions about raw milk, check out these publications: “Raw Milk FaQs” bulletin from purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: www. “Raw Milk production” from University of Maine Cooperative Extension: https://extension.


eeping a family cow can easily be justified. Her hay and feed bills are well worth the costs, considering the precious commodities she gives in return: fresh milk, sweet calves, glorious manure and friendship for life. The family milk cow is hardly an expense on the farm. Her presence is an asset and a gift to many. hf

All purebred Jersey cows (above) have horns. Horns are often removed to prevent injury to people or other cattle. Having a designated milking parlor (left) makes milking easier and more enjoyable, but it’s not a necessity. There are several ways to milk once a day, but perhaps the simplest and most effective is to share milk with a calf (upper left).

Candi Johns loves cows, keeps redneck chickens, grows groceries and cooks from scratch on her Kentucky homestead. Visit her at and learn how to “eat everything and still get along with your pants.” september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

66x69_cow.indd 69


7/23/18 6:22 AM


The World Leader in GOAT Equipment and Supplies Check out our milking machines and other products for Goats, Cows, Sheep, Llamas, plus everything you need to show most livestock. Great prices on cheesemaking and soapmaking products, plus animal health, grooming, showing, and gift items and books for breeders, homesteaders, and hobbyists. Visit us at our new web site: 1-800-646-7736 for orders or catalog P. O. Box Y, DeSoto, KS 66018 Circle No. 113 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 106 on the Reader Service Card.

live to


Circle No. 150 on the Reader Service Card.


real, honest, proud

Circle No. 131 on the Reader Service Card.


r Yea 0 4

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! 844.330.6373 Circle No. 151 on the Reader Service Card.


Hobby Farms •

70x73_shopper.indd 70

7/25/18 4:56 AM

Marketplace Automatic Doors for Chickens, Guineas, Ducks, Peacocks &Turkeys Industrial-Grade Appliance Low Price Direct Drive Sprocket New Design Fantastic Features New 20” Size Available for Geese, Turkey etc Built in RedScare™ to scare predators

832-444-0192 Made in USA

Circle No. 134 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 101 on the Reader Service Card.

2016 Catalog Ad_Layout 1 2/16/16 1:17 PM Page 1 Circle No. 135 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 108 on the Reader Service Card.

(since 1982)




Setting the standards for sheep and goat handling.

Matador Cattle Chutes

by D-S Livestock Equipment 800-949-9997

Deal er Wan s ted



2015 18059 National Pike Frostburg, MD 21532 800-949-9997 301-689-1966 Fax 301-689-9727

18059 National Pike, Frostburg MD 21532 Fax: 301-689-9727 Phone: 301-689-1966 email: dslivequip@

Our equipment is HOT DIPPED GALVANIZED no paint no rust and ours COST LESS !


All Products Are Sold In Hot Dipped Galvanized



1-800-949-9997 Frostburg, Maryland

Circle No. 111 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 138 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

70x73_shopper.indd 71


7/26/18 4:34 AM




HOME OFFICE & PLANT PO BOX 352 MONETT, MO 65708 1-800-798-0150








877 - 985 - 5267


Circle No. 102 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 143 on the Reader Service Card.


FREE CATALOG • 800•233•6499 OR VISIT WWW.GRANBERG.COM Circle No. 115 on the Reader Service Card.

Parts Dept

Dairy Equipment & Supplies We have a full line of milking equipment for cows and goats. From full systems to hose and gaskets.

Free Catalog 800-245-8222 Circle No. 114 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 129 on the Reader Service Card.

Mechanical Transplanter Company Model JP-1

* Plants almost any seed * Easy to push * Weighs only 24 lbs. * Tractor mounted units also available

Mechanical Transplanter Co., LLC 1150 Central Avenue * Holland, MI 49423 Phone:800-757-5268 or 616-396-8738 Fax: 616-396-3619 website: * e-mail: Circle No. 153 on the Reader Service Card.


Circle No. 119 on the Reader Service Card.

Hobby Farms •

70x73_shopper.indd 72

7/26/18 8:30 AM


Runs on breakfast

Circle No. 133 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 105 on the Reader Service Card.

Poultry Butler Poultry Butler TM


Automatic Coop Door Automatic Coop Door Now with Now with

Starting at


Starting at


The Poultry Butler comes pre-assembled and is easy to install. The included digital timer/ controller and adjustable light sensor lets you switch between preset times or light level activation. A high torque gear motor and 1/2” worm drive activates the door while the adjustable mechanical clutch prevents predators from lifting the door. There are three models available. A 12-volt battery application is also available. The door operates from 15 degrees below zero to 125 degrees. The Poultry Butler has been in operation for over eight years and have produced over 8,000 units to-date! Visit our website or call 724-762-2507. Your birds will appreciate it and so will you.

Circle No.112 on the Reader Service Card.

Circle No. 152 on the Reader Service Card.

Made in the U.S.A.

Safety Stability Longevity

Protection Against Night Time Predator Animals


Nite•Guard Solar attacks the deepest primal fear of night animals, that of being discovered. When the sun goes down, Nite•Guard begins to flash. The “flash of light” is sensed as an eye and becomes a threat to the most ferocious night animals.

Since 1954



(800) 354-2733


or yo ck! ba

PO Box 274 • Princeton MN 55371 Circle No. 137 on the Reader Service Card.

1. 00.32 .6647

The World’s Top Selling Solar Powered Security System DON’T BE FOOLED BY


Circle No. 126 on the Reader Service Card.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

70x73_shopper.indd 73


7/25/18 4:56 AM

cutting-edge crops By Frank Hyman



affron is the most valuable spice on Earth. It can sell for $10 to $20 per gram. (Gold was recently trading around $40 per gram.) So it might not surprise you that this “red gold” is also the most adulterated spice. And that’s not new. Merchants caught selling fake saffron in Bavaria in 1444 were burned alive. So if someone tries to sell you “saffron” at a much better price, you might be looking at safflower (also called Mexican saffron) or even dyed corn silks. Let the buyer — and the seller, if you’re in Bavaria — beware.

That 1-gram container you might see in the store or online has stigmata (female parts) from 50 to 100 flowers and might be enough to flavor and color a big pot of paella or risotto. Despite being red, the stigmata give food a luscious yellow color. The name, saffron, comes from the Persian word sahafaran, that derives from asafar, which means “yellow,” according to Sustainable Agriculture, Vol. 1. What is saffron and what does it take to gather this crop? The spice is the red stigma of a fall-blooming crocus (Crocus sativus). The stigmata are also called “red threads.”

Saffron crocuses — propagated from corms, a fleshy bulblike root — are planted in summer and harvested in autumn.

photos by joe mcubed/shutterstock


Hobby Farms •

74x76_crops.indd 74

7/23/18 6:33 AM

photos by joe mcubed/shutterstock

When the flower with its honeylike fragrance opens in October or November, crouching workers harvest the entire flower in the morning and dump what they collect on a table. In the afternoon, workers pull the petals away from the three stigmata so they can dry separately; even the petals have a market. They’re sold in France for cosmetics, decoration and potpourri at $14 per ounce. There is a third marketable crop. This crocus produces no viable seed, but the mother bulbs generate two to eight daughter bulbs every season. Those can be used to expand production or to sell to other farmers and gardeners at about 30 cents apiece. Iran grows 90 percent of the world’s saffron crop, and that might be where saffron originated. The U.S. is the world’s biggest importer of saffron. It gets the spice from the Mediterranean, where most of the rest is grown. But the vast majority of saffron in the U.S. is bought by the pharmaceutical industry for making drugs that potentially combat depression and cancer. When I first thought to write about growing saffron, I expected to recommend that farms on the West Coast

in regions with Mediterranean climates and soils would have the best luck. But researchers at the University of Vermont’s North American Center for Saffron Research and Development ( have had great luck growing this bulb that’s adapted to climates warmer and drier than New England’s. Saffron bulbs officially tolerate the cold weather of USDA Plant Hardiness zone 6. But they survive zone 4 in Vermont by spending their winters in the high hoop houses used to grow tomatoes in summer. So farmers can get two high-dollar crops from these structures. In a Vermont hoop house, farmers can gross $3.50 per square foot with tomatoes, while saffron can make $4 per square foot. These researchers have figured out a way to give the bulbs the great drainage they like, protect them from rodents and make them portable between seasons. They grow them in milk crates lined with landscape fabric. At $4 apiece, the crates are the biggest startup expense. The researchers don’t mention it, but I suspect that old nursery pots would also work. They’d cost nothing or

Harvesting the delicate blossoms is labor intensive; you need to patrol the fields during the blossom season to pluck the flowers as they bloom.

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

74x76_crops.indd 75


7/23/18 6:33 AM

The majority of saffron comes from Spain and Iran, which could give you a decided advantage with locally-minded chefs in your area.

next to nothing and would spare the grower the costs of lining the crates with fabric and securing the edges with duct tape. The larger nursery pots also have handles, like the crates. The important news is that if farmers can grow saffron profitably in Vermont, you can pretty much grow it anywhere in the U.S.

Saffron’s Life Cycle

SUMMER: Saffron bulbs come on the retail and wholesale markets in the summer. The bulbs are dormant in July and August (the driest months in the Mediterranean and central Asia) so that’s when they are dug up and divided. By September, shoots start. By then the retail garden shops have marked them down, and that might be a good way for you to get a start learning about this crop on a small scale. That’s what I did. AUTUMN: In fall, the bulbs come out of dormancy and send up leaves and flowers. If you have bulbs to plant, bury them deeply in the soil — about 5 or 6 inches — to promote flowering and division, and to protect them from mites. They like well-drained soil, phosphorus, potassium, a neutral-ish pH, some organic matter and a sunny site. If you grow them in nursery pots or milk crates lined with fabric, put down a 4-inch layer of topsoil, set 11 bulbs pointy-side up, then cover with another 2 inches of topsoil. Top that off with 4 inches of perennial potting media mixed with compost. Water them well to get them started. Harvest flowers in the morning before they fade in the heat of midday. WINTER: Unlike common ornamental bulbs, which go dormant in the winter, saffron crocus grow during the winter, once they finish flowering. They still need sun and moisture. So you must ensure they get irrigation when nature doesn’t provide. If you’re

Saffron Sales costs and sales from saffron grown in milk crates in a 30-by-90-foot high tunnel (figures from university of Vermont research): First-year cost of 1,920 crates, 21,600 bulbs and weed cloth: $15,048 Annual cost of compost: $1,500 Annual cost of labor ($12/hour): $2,955 Total cost first year: $19,503 Total cost subsequent years: $4,455 Sales each year from: bulbs: $14,256 petals: $523 saffron: $4,480 Total annual sales from 30-by-90-foot high tunnel: $19,259 76

north of zone 6, keep them in a high hoop house or even an unheated greenhouse to protect them from too much cold. SPRING: In spring, the bulbs use their accumulated energy to produce daughter bulbs. So even if you’ve moved them out of the greenhouse or hoop house to make room for other crops, they need water to grow. By the warm end of spring, the leaves start to die back. Once dormant, crates can be kept somewhere out of the rain for July and August. Bulbs should be dug at least once every four years to prevent overcrowding. Dig them more frequently if you have a market for bulbs, which should have a circumference of 4 inches if sold. Smaller bulbs can be used to start new production. Rather than pawing through the container for bulbs, dump it out on a tarp. Gather and sort bulbs. Then replace the soil and fresh bulbs in the crates. Excess bulbs can be used in new containers or cleaned and sold. Just be sure not to offer up any fake ones. hf Frank Hyman is a former organic farmer and IPM scout who has a BS in horticulture from NCSU. He also writes the Chicken Feed Café column in Chickens magazine. His book on very low maintenance backyard chicken keeping — Hentopia — comes out in December and is available for preorder at

Hobby Farms •

74x76_crops.indd 76

7/23/18 6:33 AM

• • • • •

Egglayers Meat Birds Geese Bantams Game Birds

• • • •

Rare Breed Chicks Ducks Turkeys Guineas



77x79_breeder_classifieds.indd 77

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms


7/25/18 4:35 AM

Featuring... ISA Brown “The amazing egg producer!” TOWNLINE POULTRY FARM, INC. Box 108, Zeeland, MI 49464 888-685-0040 Hatching quality poultry for over 100 years! • • • • • • • • • •

ISA Brown Rhode Island Reds White Leghorn Barred Rock Araucana-Ameraucana-Strain Amberlinks Bantams Buff Orpingtons Black Sex-Link Black Australorps

• • • • • • • • •

Jumbo Cornish-Rock Cross Golden Laced Wyandottes Silver Laced Wyandottes Light Brahmas Columbian Red Cross Ducks, Turkeys & Pheasants French Pearl Guineas Black Jersey Giants Freedom Rangers


advertise in Hobby farms Gallery, Breeder directory & Classifieds! Gallery ads Quarter Page 1-2x 3-5x 6x

B/W $480 $410 $380

Half Page Color $665 $545 $485

1-2x 3-5x 6x

B/W $780 $720 $660

full Page Color $910 $840 $725

1-2x 3-5x 6x

B/W $1,395 $1,275 $1,100

Color $1,585 $1,340 $1,205

Breeder & Classified Boxed ads (minimum 1” x 2.167”)

Breeder & Classified liner ads

boxed ads have a border and are 1” to 3.5” high by 2.167” wide. 6 issues ($390 per inch) 3-5 issues ($450 per inch) 1-2 issues ($465 per inch) For a color ad, add $55 per insertion.

6 insertions @$1.95 /word 1-2 insertion @ $2.35/word 3-5 insertions @ $2.25/word 20-word minimum Hyphenated words are counted as separate words.

SamPle liner ad: WE LoVE Farms! Learn about farms, animals and food. John Doe, address, City, state ZIP. Phone. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ads and payment must be received by the 25th day of the month, 4 months prior to he cover date, i.e. Jan. 25 for the may issue. mC/VIsa/DIsC/amEX accepted. Email for details. Editor reserves right to refuse publication; ad orders paid by credit card will not be published until payment is posted by your card company. We cannot guarantee placement of your advertisement. all BOOK YOUR AD ads are placed by frequency and payment status. Hobby Farms® reserves the right to refuse any advertising submitted or to cancel advertising accepted upon refund of payments made. Editor reserves the right to make stylistic changes. No prices may be included in breeder ads. To Prospective Livestock buyers: Hobby Farms® accepts classified and display advertisements for lives animals in good faith and assumes breeders and distributors want to offer only their healthiest animals for sale to the public. We accept no responsibility for animals in less than perfect health. offers of any livestock for sale void where prohibited.



Hobby Farms •

77x79_breeder_classifieds.indd 78


7/25/18 4:35 AM

livestock directory dOgS raybUrNE rIDGE Farm — breeding purebred Turkish Kangal livestock guardians. Puppies available now. 864-230-5968;; Facebook: rayburne ridge Farm

emu amErICaN EmU assoCIaTIoN — Leading the emu industry! For more information, contact us at 541-332-0675 or visit

gOatS aFrICaN PyGmy GoaTs — registered, available year-round. specializing in hand-raised bottle babies. ship Worldwide since 1982.; 951-736-1076; Text only: 951-444-0074

POultrY • Hatching 30 breeds of ducks and geese • Minimum order 2 ducklings/goslings

miniature Cattle mINIaTUrE TEXas LoNGHorN CaLVEs For saLE. see or contact monica at 609-397-8769. mEasEL’s mINIaTUrE CaTTLE — Variety of breeds. start your herd with us. Freezer beef calves available. Greencastle, IN; Call 765-376-4547; mINIaTUrE TEXas LoNGHorNs For saLE in Florida. Great for pet or show. red Circle ranch. Call 941-374-1856 or go online to

DUCKLINGs aND GosLINGs — many domestic rare breeds: Calls, runners, magpies, Cresteds, africans, saxony, appleyards. Free brochure. 218-222-3556;

• Informative website • Free catalog ©


LI Ringneck DELIVER Y Pheasant and GUARANTEED Chukar Partridge Chicks & Eggs


amErICaN DaIry GoaT assoCIaTIoN — registering dairy goats since 1904. For free information packet and sample newsletter, contact us at P.o. box 865, spindale, NC 28160; 828-286-3801; rosa mysTICa mINIaTUrE NUbIaNs — beautiful, friendly pets. ample milk/half the feed. Easy to handle. robert and mary Jo Thompson. Ewing, Va. 865-352-9119.

Jm HaTCHEry — Hatching year-round. Guineafowl, White muscovy, Khaki Campbell ducks. silkie chicks. Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. 717-354-5950;

PO Box 274, Princeton MN 55371

JUmbo FrENCH GUINEas — 1/3 larger than american Guineas. Will ship UPs. Irv Kesling. 765-453-7070. mEyEr HaTCHEry — Thousands of poultry and supplies available in-store, online or by phone. 888-568-9755; (see display advertisement in Gallery of breeds.) myErs PoULTry Farm — Free catalog. broiler meat chicks: fast-/slower-growing, layer chicks, ducklings, goslings, turkeys, guineas. 966 ragers Hill road, south Fork, Pa 15956; 814-539-7026;

SHeeP North American Babydoll Southdown Sheep Association & Registry

LaRue 55, Ohio 43332 PO Box 306 740-499-2163 • 800-323-3825 CHICKEN sCraTCH PoULTry — black/blue Copper marans; blue Laced red Wyandotte; blue/black ameraucana; Welsummer; olive Egger; Coronation sussex; Light sussex; Lavender, Chocolate and Jubilee orpington; rumpless araucana. Larry and angela mcEwen, 14025 Cr 975 E, mcLeansboro, IL 62859; 618-643-5602; FrEE CaTaLoG — Chicks, turkeys, ducklings, goslings, guineas, bantams, game birds, books, equipment. Hoffman Hatchery, P.o. box 129E, Gratz, Pa 17030; 717-365-3694;

Member owned & operated. For information visit: ©

Start your day with a SMILE... Own a BABYDOLL!

SWine NaTIoNaL HErEForD HoG assoCIaTIoN — Lifetime membership $10. box 9758 Peoria, IL 61612. 309-691-0151;; rED WaTTLE HoGs — Critically rare, gentle, great mothers, easy keepers, flavorful pork, perfect hobby-farm hogs. 270-565-3815; www.;

Classifieds BeeKeePing

Preferred customers over $100 free. No stocking or minimums. FrEE catalog (503) 647-5486 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific,


jams and syrups, teas, popcorn and more! 888-225-2108;


TAG Equipment Wheelhoe our Farm to Yours! om Fr

Bird feederS & feed mEaLWorms by THE PoUND offers the lowest prices on dried mealworms, free shipping to the continental Us.

real eState For saLE — 48+ acres total (30 tillable/pasture) with 2 barns (electricity & water); 1 barn has living quarters; borders 1400 acres state Forest, otsego County Ny; 610-730-0287

BOOKS & PuBliCatiOnS bLaCK sHEEP NEWsLETTEr, a quarterly magazine for shepherds and fiber enthusiasts. ask about our free sample. 503-621-3063;

BuSineSS OPPOrtunitieS CasCaDE syNTHETIC LUbrICaNTs — HELP! HomE-basE DIsTrIbUTors NEEDED — ship amsoIL FrEE Nation-wide, $350 or over, $11.99 under,

SCHOOlS & inStruCtiOn

fOOd WILD rICE, FLoUr, NaTIVE HaNDCraFTED jewelry and birch-bark crafts, gift boxes, wild-berry

CUsTom THrEE-NIGHT mENTorsHIP — Learn basic livestock husbandry (poultry, goats, horses, sheep, cattle) through hands-on teaching. 434-735-0527;;

september/october 2018 • Hobby Farms

77x79_breeder_classifieds.indd 79


7/25/18 4:35 AM

! e s e Che SAY

KEEP ’EM COMING Email us the very best digital images of your small-farm friends to, with “Say Cheese!” in the subject line. Include your name and address in the body of the email. We hope to see your photos in an upcoming issue! hf

Hanna McKee Fair Play, Missouri

Mary Beal Berchem Santa Fe, New Mexico

Kevin Penner Montney, B.C., Canada 80

Carla Anderson Emmett, Idaho

Ally Sietz Killingworth, Connecticut

Ariana Gill Hilliard, Ohio


80_say_cheese.indd 80

7/23/18 6:37 AM

For valuable coupons and information, follow us on Facebook at Manna Pro Homestead. Circle No. 122 on the Reader Service Card.

HF1810_C3.indd 3

7/24/18 2:05 AM

55 hp CAB Tractor

5220C 35 hp ROPS Tractor


24 hp HST Tractor


25 hp HST Tractor

2510h Branson has tractors from 19 19 hp Mid-Mount Mower Tractor


to 78 hp

many models are available with enclosed CABS. Choose from Hydrostatic or Manual Transmissions. Chooses from many customized attachments: Loaders, Backhoes, Mowers and more. 33 Models to choose from.

37 hp CAB & HST Tractor

3725Ch JOIN over 200 dealers in the US and Canada to sell Branson Tractors. Call Debbie at 706-290-2513 Circle No. 103 on the Reader Service Card.

Branson_HobbyFarm_SEPT2018.indd 1 HF1810_C4.indd 4

7/16/18 11:41 AM 7/24/18 2:09 AM

Profile for Hobby Farms

Hobby Farms Sept/Oct 2018  

Hobby Farms Sept/Oct 2018

Hobby Farms Sept/Oct 2018  

Hobby Farms Sept/Oct 2018