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by Kim Wong-Shing

As natural hair remedies continue to rise in popularity, you might be wondering if there’s a natural way to achieve a new hair color. If you’re looking to cover up grays or simply need a change of pace, henna is the gold standard when it comes to natural dye. However, there are a lot of products labeled “henna” that aren’t as natural as they seem, and even pure henna isn’t ideal for every hair type. Read on to find out if this popular dye will work for you.

What is henna?

Henna is a plant-based dye made from the henna plant that grows in Africa, Asia and Australia. The reddish-brown pigment comes in powder form and is traditionally used to color hair, decorate the skin and dye textiles. To use henna as a hair dye, you must first mix the powder with a liquid like oil or water.

Why is it great?

Fans of henna love that, unlike most commercial hair dyes, henna actually improves the health of your hair over time. Henna molecules build up on the surface of hair strands, resulting in thicker, stronger hair. Many people notice shinier hair and a healthier scalp after using henna. Also, henna is a long-lasting dye that subtly fades over time, so it’s easy to upkeep.

Will it work for your hair?

Sounds great, right? Keep in mind, though, that pure henna only comes in one color: reddish-brown. Depending on your natural hair color, the end result can be anywhere from bright red to a subtle burgundy tint. You can use henna over bleached hair, though that’s a bit counterproductive if you’re looking for chemical-free color. You can also use multiple applications for a richer, darker shade — a necessary step if you’re looking to cover up grays.

Some henna is sold in multiple colors, like black or brown. This henna is known as “compound henna” because it contains additional ingredients such as synthetic dyes or peroxide. Not only is it not natural, but it can ruin your hair if your hair has been previously dyed.

In addition, because henna attaches to the hair and lasts for a long time, it’s not ideal for those who like to switch up their color on a regular basis. Lifting henna to go to a lighter shade is a difficult and sometimes impossible process.

Some curly- and kinky-haired women also notice that henna loosens their curl pattern, which may be either a pro or a con for you.

This popular pigment has gained popularity far beyond its traditional uses. It’s a game-changer for many women, who rave over its subtle pigment and strengthening properties, but it’s crucial to stay informed before bringing henna into your hair regimen.

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Here Are The Pros (With A Con Or Two) Of Raising Ducks

Most folks automatically think of chickens when it comes to fresh farm eggs on the homestead, and I love my chickens. But ducks also produce delicious eggs, and they’re definitely worth considering. Like any other homestead animal, there are pros and cons to raising ducks that you’ll want to think about before you bring them home. Continue reading to see if ducks might be a good fit for your homestead as well as some useful tips to help you get started.

The Pros
  • Ducks are great for pest control in the garden. If you love to garden but hate using dangerous pesticides, ducks could be the perfect solution. The nice thing about ducks is that they don’t dig up the ground as chickens do. You’ll want to keep them away from your very young seedlings, lettuces, and ripe strawberries. Otherwise, you can give them free reign to hunt for bugs, slugs, and snails in your garden.
  • Ducks are cheap to feed. Ducks are excellent foragers, and they can literally feed themselves. Let them free range through your garden, and they’ll eat everything from worms, fly larvae, and mosquitos to snails. They will even graze on grass, and they’ll love to eat your kitchen scraps.
  • Ducks produce delicious eggs. Duck eggs have richer, more buttery taste than chicken eggs. Even better, they proved six times more Vitamin D and twice the Vitamin A of chicken eggs.
  • Many breeds are dual purpose. Many breeds of ducks not only make great egg layers, but they can also provide delicious meat for the freezer, too.
  • Ducks like to graze on grass and weeds. Let your ducks run in your yard, and you won’t have to mow as often.
  • They produce great fertilizer. Whether you let your ducks forage in your garden or on your lawn, they’ll leave wonderful fertilizer behind wherever they go.
  • Ducks are very winter hardy. Ducks are tough birds! In general, they do well in just about any kind of weather with a proper shelter to protect them from wind and snow.
  • Ducks never eat their own eggs. Egg eating can be a common problem with chickens, but I have never heard of, or experienced, ducks having this problem.

 

The Cons
  • Ducks can be messy. Ducks are at least as messy as chickens, and probably even more so. Be prepared to clean out their house often and change their water at least a couple times a day.
  • Ducks are noisy. They are social animals, and they like to talk to each other, a lot! Expect to hear them talking back and forth a lot, and their alarm sounds are especially Personally, I enjoy the sounds of ducks in the yard, but if you have close neighbors, the noise is something to consider.

Some Tips to Help You Get Started with Ducks on Your Homestead
  • Choose a breed that suits your needs. With dozens of breeds to choose from, there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your homestead. I personally love Indian Runner Ducks for egg production and pest control around the homestead. They are land ducks, so they don’t require a pond, just a water dish deep enough to dunk their heads in. They produce eggs year-round and have sweet personalities. Other popular breeds for homesteaders looking for good egg production include:

Khaki Campbells- Another favorite of mine, Campbells are hardy ducks that lay lots of eggs and have great personalities. They are land ducks, too, so they don’t need a pond or pool for swimming.

Welsh Harlequins- Harlequins are great foragers, and they’re super docile. They don’t lay as many eggs as some other breeds, but you can still expect about 150 eggs each year. They are also large enough to be a meat bird, so they are dual purpose.

Anconas- Anconas are another dual-purpose bird, and their meat is generally less fatty and has better flavor than Pekin ducks. Their eggs are either white, cream or blue and you can expect them to lay about 250 eggs per year.

Magpies- These adorable ducks are super friendly, and they make great pets. Their eggs are usually white, but sometimes they can be green or blue.

  • Start out with a pair. If you’re not sure about getting ducks for your homestead, start out with just a pair. Ducks are very social, so they will be lonely if you try to keep just one, but two will give you a good idea of how they’re going to do in your particular situation.
  • Feeding your ducks properly. Although your ducks will forage for most of their own food, its’ best to provide them with free access to a quality duck pellet. Proper nutrition will ensure that your ducks lay as many high-quality eggs as possible.
  • How much water do your ducks really need? Above all, make sure your ducks have access to plenty of clean drinking water. They need access to water that’s deep enough to dunk their entire head. Most breeds of ducks will also love to have a little kiddie pool to swim in but be prepared to clean it daily.
  • Providing suitable housing for your ducks. Your ducks will be vulnerable to predators, so they will need a shelter that will keep them safe, especially at night. Ducks are more winter hardy than chickens, but you should still protect them from wind and snow and make sure they have shade in the summer. They don’t usually use a nesting box as chickens do, but they will probably go into their house to lay their eggs. A “chicken tractor” or a movable hutch along with an electric poultry net fence both make great options for keeping ducks.

While I love my chickens and they will always have a place on my homestead, I love ducks, too. Each bird has its purpose, and there’s no reason not to have both. But even if you’re not entirely sold on the idea of getting chickens for your homestead, ducks are definitely worth considering.


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