These Meat Livestock Will Give You The Most ‘Bang For Your Buck’

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These Meat Livestock Will Give You The Most ‘Bang For Your Buck’

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When choosing a meat animal for your homestead you may begin wondering, “What animal will get me the most bang for my buck?”

Each animal uses feed differently, and some are able to turn that feed into pounds of meat more efficiently than others. This is usually expressed by what’s called a feed conversion ratio. Feed conversion ratios are a rate of measure that expresses the efficiency with which an animal converts feed into the desired output. For cattle, broiler chickens and pigs, the desired output is body mass. For dairy cows, the desired output is milk. For the purposes of this article, we are just going to focus on animals where the desired output is body mass, or pounds of meat.

The mathematical formula for a feed conversion ratio is as follows: FCR = feed given / animal weight gain.

This feed conversion ratio (FCR) is typically expressed as one number and is dimensionless, meaning it is not effected by whatever units of measure are used to calculate the ratio. A low FCR means that the animal is efficient at converting feed to the desired output, while a higher FCR means the animal is relatively inefficient. In other words, the lower the FCR, the higher the weight gain obtained from feed. It is important to remember that FCR can be calculated using several different metrics.

Some farmers calculate FCR based on live weight, for example, while some calculate based on dressed weight. Although a good place to start when looking at the feed efficiency of different livestock, FCRs also can be hard to compare between species unless the feed in question is of similar suitability to the animal in question.

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That being said, let’s dive into the different FCRs of some common homestead animals.

These Meat Livestock Will Give You The Most ‘Bang For Your Buck’

Image source: Pixabay.com

One of the most common animals found on any homestead is broiler chickens. Broiler chickens are chickens being raised for meat, and their FCR varies widely depending on the breed raised and the conditions in which they were raised. Commercial livestock operations boast broiler chicken FCRs of 1.8 for Cornish Crosses raised in factory farm conditions. Chickens raised on pasture or free-range systems are more active and therefore have higher energy needs, translating into a higher FCR. Cornish Cross broilers can have an average FCR of 3.5 when raised on pasture, while some heritage breeds of chickens have FCRs of 4.0 or higher.

Many homesteaders choose to raise rabbits because of the relatively low cost of feedstock, ease of breeding, high protein content of their meat and short time between birth and butcher. Just as with any animal, the FCR of rabbits is highly dependent on breed and raising method (pasture vs. high grain diet). Rabbits raised on a high grain diet have an FCR anywhere between 2.5 to 3.0, and those on pasture average an FCR between 3.5 and 4.0. When choosing whether to feed primarily grain or pasture, it is important to not only look at the FCR. Consider the cost of feed (grain costs money, forage is free) and your desired turn-around time from birth to butcher.

Due to the prevalence of beef in the average American diet, there has been a lot of research done on the FCR of beef cattle. In modern feedlots, an average FCR of 6.0 is common. In this method, cattle are fed on pasture until they reach approximately 600 to 900 pounds, then they are brought to the feedlot to be raised on grain until they reach 1,300 pounds. The FCR of beef cattle raised strictly on pasture is not nearly as well researched, but preliminary data shows that the FCR will be higher for beef cattle raised strictly on pasture.

Pigs are one of the most efficient sources of red meat on the homestead. When butchered between 240 and 250 pounds, commercially raised pigs have an average FCR of 3.46. Like cattle, data for more pastured-based systems is not as easily come by, but some farmers report FCRs anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5 for pigs raised on both pasture and a ration of grain.

There are obviously many more factors to consider when choosing livestock for your homestead than just the FCR. You must take into account how much you’re willing to spend on grain, the value of raising animals on a pasture-based system, your preferred type of meat and what resources you already have available to you. FCR is not the “end all, be all” for determining how efficient an animal is or if it is the right choice for your homestead. However, it is a measurable number that can be factored into your decision, and it is a good place to start when looking at the wide variety of factors that influence raising animals for meat production.

From your experience, which animal is the most efficient for meat? Share your tips in the section below:

Aryn is a farmer and writer living in Homer, Alaska

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Does ‘Banking Snow’ Around A Home Really Make It Warmer?

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Does ‘Banking Snow’ Around A Home Really Make It Warmer?

If you live in an area that often sees standing snow for weeks or months at a time during the winter, you are surrounded by some of the best insulation you can use for your home.

“Banking” is the process of building snow around your home to help keep it insulated, and it’s a proven technique that can help cut your heating costs during the winter months. This technique is ideal for those who live in climates where there isn’t a real thaw until March, so that the snow stays in place all winter. It will still work in slightly warmer climates, but you need to be cognizant of any thawing cycles and add snow when necessary.

Although the concept may seem too simple to be true, banking your home with snow can add some serious insulation power. For every inch of snow, you gain an extra R-value of 1 or more for your walls. R-value indicates the capacity of a material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value a material has, the greater the insulation power. Most older homes are built with R-11 insulation, while newer homes can have insulation with R-13 or higher. Regardless of the type of insulation you have in your walls, banking with snow can significantly increase your home’s ability to retain heat.

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When banking your home with snow, the goal is to build a wall of snow around the base of your home 2-4 feet high. You can do this by simply shoveling the snow up in drifts until they are at the desired height, but most people find it easier to use a piece of plywood roughly 4 feet by 8 feet with a bracing pole to keep it vertical. Starting at the corner of your structure, place the piece of plywood about two feet from the wall of your home, and then use the pole to brace it vertically. Make sure that you use a bracing pole strong enough to hold the weight of the plywood and the weight of the snow as you start to pack it in.

Shovel snow in between the piece of plywood and your structure until you reach the desired height. Be sure to pack the snow down as you go so it can resist any winds that may blow it away. As you finish one section of the wall, move the plywood one length down the structure and pack the next section. Continue this method until you’ve built a snow wall two feet thick and at least two feet tall around every part of your home. You may not be able to build a continuous wall around your entire home because of stairs or ground level doors, but any section you can bank with snow helps. It will make a significant difference.

Of course, while banking with snow, it is extremely important not to block any vents that may extrude from your home. Gas appliances, electric clothes dryers and other home appliances use these vents to get rid of gases that can prove toxic if built-up to certain levels.

It’s also important to keep a close eye out for warmer temperatures. As soon as it looks like a thaw is imminent, remove the snow around your home to prevent any moisture from seeping in. Modern-day homes typically have good moisture barriers to prevent this, but an older home may not have the proper prevention in place.

Aryn Young is a writer and farmer currently living in Homer, Alaska. 

www.arynyoung.com

Have you ever banked snow around your home? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Odd-Looking Stove That Uses 80 Percent Less Wood Than A Traditional Stove

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The Off-Grid Stove That Uses 80 Percent Less Wood Than A Traditional Stove

Image source: ernieanderica.info

Perhaps you’ve heard about rocket mass heaters in off-grid and homesteading circles, but what exactly are they?

A rocket mass heater is a special type of masonry stove that stores the majority of its heat in a large, thermal mass (like a bench attached to the stove itself). When built properly, a rocket mass heater burns a lot more efficiently than a modern day wood stove and lets out practically no exhaust — only carbon dioxide and steam. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

You can use practically any type of wood material as feedstock. Yard debris, sticks and even scrap lumber all can be used to burn inside the rocket mass heater. This makes them efficient and practical to use if you don’t live next to a forest with a large source of firewood logs.

Unlike the modern wood stoves on the market today, rocket mass heaters can be built completely on your own. Plans and blueprints for a wide variety of different rocket mass heaters exist online. And, depending on the size and type you decide to build, many can be completed in only a few days.

Let’s take a look at the inner workings of a simple rocket mass heater.

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One of the keys to a rocket mass heater is the different twists and turns that occur in the inner chamber of the heater itself. To start, the wood stock is put in vertically, so that only the bottom of the wood pieces burn. The bottom of the wood stock chamber then takes a sharp, 90-degree angle in toward the inner workings of the heater so that the fire itself is burning sideways, parallel with the floor. At the end where the fire is burning, the inner chamber takes another sharp 90-degree angle up toward the ceiling. This section is called the heat riser and it’s where all the magic happens. This heat riser section is contained in another structure like a barrel, so that there is a space between the insulated heat riser and the barrel that surrounds it.

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The Off-Grid Stove That Uses 80 Percent Less Wood Than A Traditional StoveAs the heater is working, the heat riser gets extremely hot. This heat causes a convective current that continues to pull the fire into the riser. The sharp turn causes the smoke to be constantly mixed with fire and is consequently burned off, leaving you with an extremely clear exhaust comprised mostly of steam and carbon dioxide. As the hot air enters the riser, it travels toward the top of the riser and up into the barrel that surrounds the riser. At the top, the gases fall into the space between the barrel and the riser. The gases travel from here to underneath a thermal mass like a masonry bench to radiate heat into the room and onto your backside. At the end of the bench is an exhaust, so that the carbon dioxide and steam that is left over can escape.

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The masonry bench part of the rocket mass heater can be made out of a variety of materials, like concrete, stone or brick, but perhaps the cheapest and easiest to obtain would be cob. Cob is simply a mixture of sand, clay, water, fibrous material like straw and earth. It can be shaped to fit any space and acts as an efficient thermal mass. As the hot air travels underneath the bench, the thermal mass absorbs the high amounts of heat and can slowly release the heat out into the room. This type of heat storage and slow radiation is extremely efficient, and many rocket mass heaters remain hot several days after the fire feeding them goes out. In fact, a well-built rocket mass heater can cut out 80-90 percent of the wood used in a traditional stove.

With a little research into the different styles of rocket mass heaters, the materials best suited to your area and how to best integrate one into your space, you can be saving time, money and wood with something you built yourself.

Have you ever used a rocket mass heater? Share your thoughts on them in the section below:   

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How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It’s Not Always Wood)

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How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It's Not Always Wood)

Heating your home is a critical, but what is the most effective fuel source to do it – and what should you use as a backup?

Electric heat? Stove oil? Propane? Wood? Choosing a fuel source can seem overwhelming when trying to balance both cost efficiency and heating efficiency.

Whether you live urban or rural, in the prairie or in the forest, your average seasonal temps are all variables that weigh heavily on choosing the most efficient heating source. In this article, I’ll detail five different common ways of heating your home and the pros and cons of each.

Electric Heat

Let’s start with one of the most common types of home heating in urban areas: electric heat. In many areas of the country, electric heat is popular because it is a relatively cheap source of heat. If you live in the Midwest this is especially true, where electricity prices average about 10 cents per kilowatt hour. If you live on the coasts or where I am (Alaska), however, you can pay upwards of 17 cents per kilowatt hour. This can make electric heat quite a bit more expensive than some other heat sources. Electric heat also can be problematic if you are living off-grid and have other fuel sources readily available that might be better put toward the use of heating your home.

Firewood

If you have an easily accessible source of wood in your area and don’t want to be dependent on other infrastructure systems for your source of fuel, heating with firewood may be your best option. Modern-day woodstoves have become much more efficient in recent years, with many models burning at upwards of 80 percent heating efficiency.

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If you can cut the wood yourself, your fuel source also can be virtually free, leaving you with only the initial cost outlay for the woodstove itself. If you don’t have the means to cut your own firewood, the average cost for a cord (4 x 4 x 8 stack) of firewood is between $150 and $250, although this cost is heavily dependent on your area. You can expect to go through about 4-7 cords per winter season with a modern-day wood stove.

Stove Oil

Stove oil is also commonly used for heating homes. Stove oil is available in most areas of the country and is especially popular in the Northeast and my area of Alaska. Stove oil prices fluctuate just like gasoline prices, but current prices for stove oil are right around $3 per gallon. Although not ridiculously expensive, stove oil has a higher cost than both propane and natural gas, with the average household spending about $2,500 per household per winter season. Stove oil can be more efficient than heating with wood, however, and has efficiencies ranging from 80 to 90 percent.

Propane

How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It's Not Always Wood)Although still fairly common, propane has been losing popularity in recent years as a heating fuel. Current average household propane costs for the country are right around $2 per gallon, but that price varies significantly region to region. In some areas, propane may be cost-prohibitive. In others, it may be vastly cheaper than electricity. Propane stove efficiency is not the highest, averaging 75 to 85 percent, but propane is a readily available source of heat in most areas.

Natural Gas

If you have access to it in your area, natural gas often can be an economical and efficient choice for heating. It is one of the most popular choices in the country, with as many as 56 million households using it for space heating (as of 2009). Using natural gas, you will be dependent on the infrastructure necessary to bring it to your home, but the cost savings may be worth it. While natural gas heaters often have standard efficiency comparable to propane stoves, your heating costs will be drastically lower. This cost also varies by area. The state of Massachusetts reported a winter home heating cost of over $3,000 for propane users in 2014, while that number for natural gas users was closer to $1,200.

Choosing which primary and backup fuel source is right for you requires a close look at a wide range of variables. Compare different fuel costs for your specific region of the country and be sure to take into account your budget for the initial cost of a stove and availability of chosen fuel source.

Aryn Young lives in Homer, Alaska, running a small farm and sustainable land-clearing operation. 

What are your primary and backup sources of heat? Share your tips in the section below:

How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

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How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

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When choosing insulating materials for your home or building, the options are more numerous than they first appear.

A visit to the hardware store will yield only a few options: foam board, fiberglass rolls, and perhaps spray foam. These materials, although widely available, contain many synthetic chemicals that you may not want to have in your home or around your family.

If you’re attempting to construct your building with all-natural materials, these conventional options may seem disheartening. But don’t lose hope! There are several eco-friendly, chemical-free alternatives for insulating your home that will be effective and safe for both you and your family.

The first option we’ll explore is sheep’s wool. Sheep live in some of the harshest and coldest climates in the world. They thrive there because they have a thick coat of wool that has natural properties to retain heat, even when damp. You’ll often find native sheep living high in the mountains, where it is extremely wet and cold, and yet they’re perfectly content.

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How To Insulate Your Home With All-Natural, Off-Grid Materials

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For the same reasons that sheep’s wool does a great job protecting sheep from weather conditions, a roll of wool insulation will do wonders to insulate your home. When wool fibers are compressed down into a roll of insulation, the crimped nature of the fibers creates millions of tiny air pockets, which provides great insulation, keeping warmth in the winter and out in the summer. In addition, wool has a tremendous amount of breathability, as it absorbs and releases moisture in the air. When wool absorbs moisture, it actually generates heat, preventing condensation in cavities by keeping the temperature above the dew point. This property creates a natural buffering effect, using relative humidity to stabilize the building temperature.

Old denim and cotton clothes also can be a great alternative to conventional insulation. Many cotton insulation rolls made today are constructed from recycled blue jeans and other textiles. Some companies even will let you donate your own old denim. Although cotton insulation made from recycled textiles is about twice as expensive as fiberglass insulation, it is incredibly safe to handle, has a longer useful life than fiberglass, and has superior soundproofing qualities. For some homeowners, the knowledge that they aren’t putting potentially harmful chemicals in the walls of their living space is worth the extra cost.

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If you are constructing your home from scratch, using straw bales to construct the walls is a great insulation option. Straw bale homes typically have an R-Value (a measure of materials’ resistance to heat flow; the higher the number, the higher the insulation value) of more than 10. This is comparable to the insulation value of fiberglass. This, in addition to the huge cost savings compared to traditional insulation materials like fiberglass, makes straw bale walls an excellent option when building natural structures.

Straw bale walls can be finished with a wide variety of materials to make them look and feel exactly like a normal home wall. Most people who visit your home will have no idea that the straw bales are there! Straw bales also provide great sound insulation for walls and are very fire resistant when packed tightly and covered with an appropriate skin.

Don’t be fooled by the lack of variety when you visit the insulation aisle of your local hardware store. There are great alternatives – if you just know where to look.

Aryn Young lives in Homer, Alaska, running a small farm and sustainable land clearing operation. 

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The Most Efficient Wood Stoves For Off-Grid Heat

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The Most Efficient Wood Stoves For Off-Grid Heat

Photo by Stephen McKay. Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Heating with wood is a great option for many households – and a must for most off-gridders and homesteaders. Wood stoves are easy to use and the feedstock is renewable and easy to obtain. If you live in a heavily wooded area, are living without electricity, or simply want to reduce your fuel bill, wood stoves often make a good deal of sense.

In this article, we are going to explore the different types of wood stoves, their features, and differing levels of efficiency. Not all wood stoves are created equal, and they can range from something as simple as a 50-gallon steel drum to something more complicated, like a circulating stove with a catalytic converter.

Open Fireplace

We’ll begin with one of the most iconic kinds of wood-burning heaters: the open fireplace. Open fireplaces are popular because they’re romantic and make a nice visual addition to a room. Who hasn’t imagined themselves relaxing at the hunting lounge with a big, stone fireplace in the center of the living room? The problem with open fireplaces is that they are extremely inefficient.

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Why? Because they actually suck all the heat out of a room, sending it outside via the chimney. Because of this, you will rarely find fireplaces in homes where wood is the main source of heat. Not only are they hugely inefficient, but fireplaces are also extremely smoky. This is an annoyance, but it’s an indicator that you are not getting a very clean, and therefore efficient, burn of the wood itself. Modern fireplaces typically only covert 10 percent to 20 percent of wood burned to heat.

Radiant Heat Stove

Another common wood stove is a radiant heat-type wood stove. These wood stoves heat the area around them by radiating the heat from an enclosed chamber. Common types of radiant heat wood stoves include potbelly stoves and rocket mass heaters. Because the combustion chamber is either enclosed or insulated, radiant heat wood stoves will be much more efficient than an open burning fireplace, and the heat will be radiated into the room for a much longer time after the fire has gone out.

The Most Efficient Wood Stoves For Off-Grid Heat

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There are varying levels of efficiencies within radiant heat wood stoves, with perhaps the most efficient being a rocket mass heater. Rocket mass heaters use an insulated burn chamber, are designed for more draft, and have heat-exchange passages that capture exhaust gases before they escape through the chimney, resulting in a cleaner burn that can be up to eight times more efficient than traditional radiant heat wood stoves. The heat created from a rocket mass heater is then radiated into the room via a thermal mass (concrete, adobe, dirt, etc.) that surrounds the heating components.

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Radiant heat wood stoves can be inexpensively built out of something as simple as a 55-gallon steel drum with a chimney attached. Although this can be a great option if you have the materials lying around or can procure them cheaply, keep in the mind that the life of these wood stoves will be much less than something built out of sturdier material like firebrick, concrete or cast iron.

Circulating Heat Stove

The more modern kind of wood stoves that you can purchase at many heating supply stores are circulating stoves that use air to heat the living space. Circulating stoves are double walled with an inner combustion chamber. There is an air space between the two walls where air is passed over the inner wall near the combustion chamber, and then pushed out into the room, conveying heat. These types of stoves can achieve 70 percent to 80 percent efficiencies and are popular for families with children, since the outer wall of the stove does not get nearly as hot as with radiant-type stoves.

As air pollution became more and more of a concern, many circulating wood stoves started to integrate catalytic converters and secondary air combustion chambers to reduce emissions and increase efficiency. Catalytic converters are simply platinum grids that are placed in the firebox of the stoves, capturing the exhaust and combusting it for a cleaner burn. Modern circulating stoves that do not have catalytic converters have a damper that directs smoke from the stove into a secondary chamber, where hot air is added and reignites any unburned fuel.

Non-catalytic circulating stoves are often cheaper than catalytic stoves and easier to maintain. A wood stove with a catalytic converter is more efficient than one without, but the catalytic converter will need to be replaced every five years and may require yearly maintenance.

Wood stoves are a great way to reduce you heating bill, reduce your reliance on the electric grid and make use of a renewable natural resource. When choosing one, take into consideration your budget, the size of space you want to heat and your desired efficiency for a warm, happy home.

How do you heat your home? What advice would you add for a new buyer or homeowner? Share your tips in the section below:

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Cold-Hardy Livestock Breeds That Thrive Anywhere (Even In Alaska)

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Cold-Hardy Livestock Breeds That Thrive Anywhere (Even In Alaska)

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Editor’s note: The writer lives in Alaska.

Choosing the right livestock for your homestead is an important decision. You may know what kinds of animals you want — ducks, chickens, pigs, cattle, etc. — but how do you choose the right breed?

Too often when choosing a specific breed of livestock, the winter hardiness of the animal gets overlooked. When winter rolls around with her cold breath, you want to ensure you have livestock that will require little supplemental heat. Heat is energy, and when you’re already trying to keep your family warm, you don’t want to waste precious energy trying to keep your livestock warm unless it is absolutely necessary.

In this article, I will go over some of the common types of livestock people choose for their homestead and then explore some of the most winter-hardy breeds. For poultry, I will focus on breeds that are typically used for laying, assuming that any poultry kept through the winter will be primarily used as a source of eggs.

Choosing livestock that is appropriate for your geographical area is incredibly important and can save you a lot of time and energy while making your winter preparations.

Ducks

It is hard to find more winter-hardy poultry than ducks. Domestic chickens evolved from tropical regions and by their very nature deal much better with drier and warmer conditions. Ducks and geese, on the other hand, can handle much colder and wetter climates with ease. Another benefit of ducks is that they require a lot less added light to keep them laying. In some areas of the country, you may not have to add supplemental light at all.

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Swedish Blue ducks are a winter-hardy bird that are known for both their meat and laying qualities. You can expect about 120-180 eggs a year from them, with males weighing about 8 pounds and females around 7 pounds. They do mature slower than some other breeds of ducks, however. Originating in Germany, they are very winter-hardy and have a calm temperament.

If you are looking for a duck for just egg production, I recommend the Khaki Campbell duck. The Khaki Campbells we have on our Alaskan farm keep laying straight through the winter, and we are still getting good yields from ducks that are over a year and a half old. You can expect 250-325 eggs a year from the Khaki Campbells and, while they are a smaller duck, they are extremely cold hardy. Males top out at about 4.5 pounds and females around 4 pounds. They are very noisy, however, and can be flighty birds.

Another duck you may consider is the Cayuga. They are very cold-hardy, and lay approximately 120-180 eggs a year. Males weigh about 7 pounds and females 6 pounds when mature. Although very loud, they are calm and only go broody occasionally.

Chickens

Chickens are a homestead staple. To have them lay throughout the winter, keep in mind that they will need added light during the darker winter months. Chickens lay best when they have at least 15 to 16 hours of light provided. When the amount of daylight dips below that, either keep a light on in their chicken coop, or set it on a timer to add the extra light needed when the sun goes down. Although you will need added light for chickens, if you choose winter-hardy breeds you may be able to avoid having to add extra heat.

If you live in an extremely cold climate where frostbite can be an issue, you’ll want to choose a laying hen that has a small comb. The Chantecler chicken is an excellent example of a winter ready chicken. Originally bred in Quebec, these chickens are made to handle the extremely cold winters of the Canadian prairie. They have small combs and wattles, making them resistant to frostbite and will lay throughout the cold winter months. They do have trouble in extremely hot weather, however, so if you live in an area with hot summers, these may not be the right chickens for you.

Another breed that we have been very happy with on our farm here in Alaska is the Black Australorp. The hens do have larger combs that could be susceptible if your winters are especially harsh, but they do extremely well in areas that have winter temperatures in the 10-35 degree Fahrenheit range. They are also prolific layers, laying 280 eggs a year or more.

Pigs

Although many homesteaders purchase piglets in the spring, raise them through the summer and then butcher them in the fall when the weather turns colder, there are several reasons you may want to keep pigs through the winter. Maybe you are starting to breed your own piglets for butcher or want to do two rounds of butchering a year instead of just one.

When choosing a breed of pig to carry through the winter months, I’ve found it most beneficial to look to the heritage breeds. Heritage breeds of pigs typically do better on pasture and are hardier for the outdoors. Breeds that are used in confinement operations, like Yorkshire crosses, will invariably be bred to live in conditions that have them inside year-round with an extremely controlled environment. Heritage breeds retain a lot of the characteristics that make them suitable to living outside, and if you choose breeds that originated in climates with colder winters, they should do just fine with minimal shelter provided from you.

After doing a fair bit of research, we finally settled on the Tamworth Hog for our Alaskan farm. One of the oldest heritage breeds found in the U.S., the Tamworth originated out of Ireland, where it was known for its ability to forage and grow on pasture. They have quite a bit more hair than some of your other breeds of pigs and do perfectly well in our winter climate. We know of one breeding operation in Michigan that lets their Tamworth sows give birth in the middle of winter with just a small shelter and straw, no added heat or attention. In addition to being hardy, the Tamworths are also extremely intelligent and very personable. We couldn’t be happier with them.

Although it is always tempting to get whatever livestock may be readily available to you at your local feed store, it is always worth the effort to carefully research and select breeds with climate in mind. The result will be happier animals and a more efficient homestead.

What are your favorite winter-hardy breeds? Share your tips in the section below:

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