Welcome back to another season of farm and homestead tours! I'm ready for more entries! Please read here for guidelines.
We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome, Homespun Chick!
Meet Tami from Missouri. She, her husband, and boys share 28 acres with chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, alpacas, rabbits, and gardens. Tami's blog is Homespun Chick, and she sure is worthy of that name!
What is your name and the names of your family members?
We are Tami and Rodney plus our two boys, Richard and David. We homeschool our boys, which means they can be a big help with the chores.
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
About two and a half years.
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
We live on 28 acres in rural Missouri. We have mostly pasture, which we lease to a local cattle rancher. We also have about two to three acres in what we call our “inner ring” that surrounds the house. Within that area, we have our chicken coop, garden beds, fruit trees, berries, and alpaca.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
We raise free-range chickens, Muscovy ducks, and guineas for eggs, fertilizer, and natural weed and pest control. Oh, and also for hours of entertainment!
My oldest son raises meat rabbits for our own consumption and to sell. We also just bought three alpaca to raise for their fiber. I’m a spinning and knitting enthusiast, so I’m very excited about my girls and can’t wait for their first shearing.
We also have several cats and dogs. We have a Great Pyrenees and Border Collie as our working dogs along with two indoor helpers. When we bought our place, we discovered that an outdoor cat also came with the house. He’s been a great blessing since he’s good at catching mice. He actually seems to enjoy all the animals and other activity that goes on outside.
Our “useless pets” includes two indoor cats and my mini-Rex rabbit. We just have them for fun and for their cuteness factor.
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
When we lived in Northern Virginia, I learned about Nourishing Traditions and Sally Fallon-Morrell. That of course led us down the path to farm-raised meat, eggs, and dairy and we became interested in the local farmers. Of course, being able to meet Joel Salatin and visiting Polyface Farm was a huge inspiration to us.
My husband is in the National Guard and was stationed at the headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. When an opening became available in Missouri, we took it. We knew we could buy some land and fulfill our dreams of becoming homesteaders. We plan on retiring here after this tour.
Any future plans?
As of now, we’ve kind of hit our limit as to what we can handle ourselves. We had planned on producing our own milk (goat), but decided we can get fresh milk much easier from the Amish community near us. Fortunately, raw milk sales are legal in our state. So for now, we will hold off on adding any dairy goats or cows.
We do plan on purchasing a beef steer in the near future since we already have the pasture for it and have cattle on the property.
Do you have any funny stories to share?
We raise guinea fowl along with our chickens. They are wonderful for tick and grasshopper control. But, they can be a little wild.
So, when one of our hens went broody, we decided to have her hatch out some guinea eggs. She ended up hatching seven and then adopting five more keets that were orphaned. She was a wonderful mother to them.
However, guineas are much better flyers than chickens. After a couple of months, the guinea keets discovered their wings and would fly up to the top of the coop or other places. It was so funny to watch the poor mama trying to keep up with her babies and get them down from the roof. She managed to keep them in line despite her flying disadvantage.
What about a sad story?
For our first winter with chickens, we decided to add lights to the coop to increase egg production. Although it helped with eggs, we ended up losing a few hens to egg yolk peritonitis. Unfortunately, one of the hens we lost was Screech – our favorite Buff Orpington.
We don’t know for sure if the added lights in the winter caused the problem or not. But this past winter, we decided to do things differently. Instead of increasing winter egg production with lights, we made sure we had several spring pullets. They were ready to start laying by fall and we had enough eggs everyday throughout the winter without added lights. Also, we haven’t lost any more hens to the disease so far. It was a hard lesson, but I’m glad we learned quickly.
Let's Tour Homespun Chick Farm!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from Tami as she tells what is in each picture.)
We actually started our flock with guinea fowl. They eat ticks and grasshoppers among other pests. They are the craziest birds and make great watchdogs.
The flock is waiting for their treats before heading off to roost in the coop. Our flock not only provides fresh eggs, but also natural pest and weed control. Oh, and don't forget all the wonderful fertilizer.
Shelby, our Great Pyrenees makes a wonderful livestock guard dog. She is indispensable on the homestead.
My oldest son raises grass-fed rabbits for meat. It has been quite a homeschool project for him.
This is Skittles, the hen who raised our guinea keets. She was able to keep them in line even though they could fly.
Here are our raised beds. There's nothing like eating fresh produce from your own garden. All of our birds, rabbits, and alpaca provide wonderful organic fertilizer.
Our alpaca herd – Tempest, Quasar, and Quasi. I can't wait to spin their fiber.
Our newest addition to our flock are muscovy ducks. In addition to being quite entertaining, they are great at eating spiders!
My favorite time of the day. The sunsets are so beautiful here.
Tami, thank you for sharing with us! We hope you enjoy your free thank you video, our gift to you. Plus, feel free to display the following graphic on your site. (Right-click and save to your computer, then upload to your site and link to this farm tour post.)
Would you like to be featured?
Are you a homesteader or farmer at any level? You don't have to live in the country, you don't have to be doing everything.
Being on the journey is the only qualification. We want to see what you're doing, no matter how big or small.
Click here for submission guidelines for the Down Home Farm Tours series. We're excited to hear from you!
If you're selected, we will share your farm/homestead pictures and stories in a dedicated blog post, plus you can add the featured graphic to your blog or website. And, we'll give you a free thank you video of your choice!
Please give the Tami and family a warm welcome in the comments! Be sure to visit her blog here.
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