Archive for April, 2013
On Raising Chickens – There’s no denying how vital livestock raising and husbandry is to sustaining the modern agricultural nature of developed and undeveloped countries alike. Breeding and raising animals for food and companionship is something humans have been doing for thousands of years, and we are fortunate today to have that wealth of history and knowledge to guide our agrarian pursuits. Raising chickens offers a berth of benefits and is absolutely essential for maintaining our current way of life.
These humble, flightless birds have been an integral component of diet and lifestyle in the Americas for over three thousand years, though domestication of the chicken in other parts of the world dates back considerably farther. Not only that, but chickens, like many other animals on which we rely for sustenance, have become part of our cultural fabric – no matter the age of the observer, the form, function, and behavior of the common gallus gallus domesticus is instantly recognizable. Raising chickens as livestock is a practice just about every farmer across the country engages in, even if their trade is not in poultry – the eggs and meat chickens produce are essential components to healthy diets.
Over the many millennia, chickens have yielded to the hobbling secondary effects of domestication – it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that domestic chickens are completely dependent on humans for survival. They move slowly, cannot fly, and are plump targets for predators such as foxes, wolves, and cats. It is for this reason that special attention must be given to their habitat and security. Depending on the area in which you live, extra security measures beyond the plain chicken wire fence may be necessary – building sturdy, fenced in enclosures will ensure no harm befalls your precious fowl. Chicken feed is typically nutrient rich grain, and chickens can be fed directly from the hand. However, like other types of birds, they prefer to forage and will not eat from a bowl or trough. A good diet is perhaps the most important factor in raising a healthy stock of chickens because this will directly affect the quality of the meat and eggs they produce.
Chickens have a variety of uses when it comes to feeding people. Their meat is rich in protein and is considerably leaner than other staples, such as beef. The eggs they produce have an array of applications, from confectionery to cosmetic to even pharmaceutical (chicken egg yolk contains egg oil and lecithin, which is a component in many beauty and medical products we use every day). Of course, raising chickens can be a leisurely pursuit and doesn’t necessarily have to be for the purposes of food. Many people find joy in raising chickens as pets, much in the same way they would a dog or a cat.
The act of raising chickens is not something to be taken lightly, and education is the key to success. Remember, whenever you take up the charge of nurturing another living thing, you are responsible to that creature and must treat it with the respect and care you would any other life (yes, even if you plan on eating it!).
There are many reasons to domesticate and raise animals today: some do it for food, others for companionship, and still others for show. Rabbits are one of those animals that can, depending on your needs, fill any of these rolls. Raising rabbits for any reason can be an extremely rewarding venture, but only if you take the time to properly educate yourself. You won’t get far raising rabbits without the necessary knowledge… you’ve taken a step in the right direction by reading this. Keep reading to learn the essentials of raising rabbits.
The domestication of wild hares has been going on for thousands of years. Today, the creature is far more passive than its more wild relatives, meaning that they make for excellent pets. If you are raising rabbits for companionship, there are some important things you need to keep in mind. First, rabbits are no cats, and they are not dogs – as previously stated, they are very passive and don’t often engage in play, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Don’t expect to play rough with a rabbit the way you might with a dog. This means that they are excellent pets for children (who learn to handle them with care) because they don’t nip or knock down their playmate. Second, rabbits can often be very nervous, especially if the environment in which they live is dynamic and noisy – enclosing your pet bunny in a cage with a blanket over it can greatly reduce its anxiety. Third, if you let your rabbit roam free around your home, be ready to clean up after it! Even a housebroken rabbit can have accidents if it is frightened. Fourth and finally, avoid letting your rabbit outside unless it is very closely supervised. Rabbits are the natural targets for many large birds of prey, so it is not uncommon to have your beloved pet to the talons of a hawk or eagle.
If you are raising rabbits for food or fur, you should still be aware of the needs of the animal. Keeping your livestock happy and healthy is the key to a strong yield – the quality of both meat and fur can be diminished if the animal spends most of its time under stress or underfed. Try housing your rabbits in a comfortable environment that will protect them from both the elements as well as any potential predators in your area. Rabbit meat can be very high in protein and, depending on the hare’s diet and activity level, very palatable as well.
Whatever reason you have for raising rabbits, always keep in mind that they are living creatures who experience the same emotions that you do, only on a smaller scale. Whether you opt to keep them as pets, breed them for profit, or use their meat and fur to sustain you, always treat them with the respect that is due all living creatures and treat them as humanely as possible.
The Importance of Yard Maintenance – Perhaps you’ve seen it: a yard so overgrown with weeds and hedges that it’s nearly impossible to see the front door, let alone the driveway. Maybe there’s a yard like that on your street – isn’t that a pleasant sight to subject yourself to daily? Imagine potential home owners scouting out the neighborhood who set eyes on that mess of a lawn, do you think they would even consider moving in anywhere near it? Yard maintenance is no joke and is the responsibility of the home owner. Not only is it an eyesore, a severely unkempt lawn can drive down property values in your neighborhood, making your home less valuable.
Yard maintenance doesn’t have to be a chore: many people make upkeep their hobby and find a great deal of joy from it. The key to successful yard maintenance is doing it in a way that you enjoy – don’t treat it like something you have to do, but rather as something you want to do. See it as a day outside in the fresh air, under the sun, and amongst nature. Don’t push yourself to get it done all in one go, but instead try and pace yourself and come back to the job when you’ve relaxed a bit. Yard maintenance is also an opportunity for excellent exercise: pushing a mower may not sound it, but it gets you up and active and it a great way to burn off excess calories. Invest some time and money into buying the appropriate tools: as always, you will need the right tools for the right job. These will empower you with the confidence you need to perform optimally. Growing a garden on your property is a great incentive to keep your lawn in tip top shape, as well.
It isn’t difficult to let your yard go to waste – sometimes yard maintenance simply isn’t near the top of anyone’s priority list. When people begin to notice, however, it’s time to do something about it. It could be something as simple as mowing the lawn or trimming the bushes around your property, but other times more drastic measures are required. If you let your pets do their business on your yard, you have probably noticed those big yellow patches of dead grass. Those tricky spots won’t bounce back on their own anytime soon, especially if your pet frequents them. You’ll have to reseed and change your pets walking habits in order to keep your yard looking its best. Staying on top of things like this will ensure that your yard doesn’t get out of control – a little work now will keep you from doing a lot of work later.
In extreme cases, you may want to consider paying a team of professional gardeners to step in. Yard maintenance is their forte and they will likely get the job done faster than you could given their experience and advanced tools. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire the professionals, the end result should be a yard which you are proud to call your own.