Monday, 13 May 2013

Backyard Homesteading

This time of year is often highly anticipated for those of us that live on acreage in rural Nova Scotia. The cold winter months are behind us, and the water buckets have thawed. These are days that you have planned and prepared for. Baby animals are arriving! Hens are sitting on hidden eggs and emerging with chicks. Lambs are being born in the sunshine in the middle of a green field. Birds are collecting nesting material. The seeds you started are sprouting.
 I didn’t grow up on a farm. When I moved to the country and decided to start raising animals, I read many wonderful books on backyard homesteading. It was a fascinating learning about different types of fencing, housing and nutrition prior to bringing animals home. There are so
many varieties of chickens, but which one would best suit your needs? Are you raising animals for food? Where do you buy your first calf? Do you want to make cheese? Maybe you would like to learn to spin wool produced by your sheep!  The Annapolis Valley Regional Library has many wonderful books to help you get started.  You can browse our online catalogue and place holds on items of interest, or visit your local branch and talk to our staff about what you are looking for.            
Raising your own animals can be very rewarding. My family has enjoyed eating homegrown meat and eggs. I learned the joy of making cheese and yogurt, and spin wool and knit with the yarn produced by my sheep. Over the years we have raised pigs, calves, chickens, ducks, geese, goats and sheep. There is nothing more exciting than opening the barn door in the morning and finding a new and healthy baby. In the beginning we all make mistakes. I learned which animals are best suited for my farm and lifestyle, and that proper fencing really is important. Start by reading about your farming adventure. Talk to friends and neighbors who do farm.
Then roll up your sleeves, put on your rubber boots and get some hands-on experience. You can do it!

Wendy Kearnes

Outreach Services Manager

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