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If you’ve already started growing vegetables in your garden, then you’re already a professional at taking out some time daily to take care of them. This means that you’re prepared to handle the responsibility of raising animals if you’re confident enough.

Since not every farming-enthusiast has space or time to raise a flock, we’ll start small with chickens. That’s because you can grow them in your backyard as well. Here’s how you can get started.

Preparing a Brooder

When you start raising chickens, you never begin by bringing home full-grown chickens, but rather some chicks that are newly-hatched. To keep these chicks comfortable while they’re growing away from their mother hen, you have to keep them in a heated space which gives them access to food, water, and warmth. Not to mention, some space to play. This is referred to as a brooder.

You can start with a cardboard box and use corn cob bedding to fill it so it makes a soft floor for the chicks. It’s absorbent and makes it easier to keep the brooder clean. As for the heat, you should avoid using the heating lamp and instead opt for an electric version which doesn’t pose the risk of starting a fire.

Getting your Chicks

Now you need to fill up the brooder with chicks. You can usually get these from your local or online hatchery. The farming hardware store is also a place where you can get chicks but since you want hens, it’s better to get them from a hatchery since you’ll get straight run chicks from the shop. This means that you might end up with a rooster.

Make sure that you’ve learned about the breeds you want. Ideally, you’ll want loving chickens that lay good eggs. As a starting point, breeds like Cuckoo Marans, Light Brahmas, and Speckled Sussex fit the bill. Now the sight of adorable little chicks may tempt you to buy all of them, but remember that getting less of them is better since you’ll be able to take care of them.

Getting a Coop

Now that you’ve gotten your chicks, you have approximately a little over a month’s time before they’re big enough to live in a coop. And that means you should be ready to build one (if you want to save money) or cash out your savings if you want to purchase a premade coop.

You’ll have to make separate spaces for your hens, and lay some straw that they’ll use to form their nests. Just like in the brooder, use some corn cob bedding or sand that can help you clean out the coop easily. As for feeding them, make sure to invest in high-quality chicken feed or you can simply let them roam in a pen if you have space, this lets them get some nutrition and exercise.

Wait For Eggs!

Make sure to keep them well-fed, watered and clean, and you can expect to see an egg within a couple of months or so.

This helpful guide to chicken farming is ideal for those who want to raise chickens in a smaller space. By following the steps here, you can raise healthy chickens, get fresh eggs, and be a certified chicken mama!

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Growing Lentils At Home

Protein; it’s a staple of a basic diet but many people share the common belief that it can only be obtained from meat-based foods and animal-derived products. On the contrary, beans and lentils are a rich source of protein and are considered to be an important part of the vegan diet. So, if you’re looking to grow some protein at home and don’t want to start a chicken farm right away, why not grow some lentils? These are annual crops that grow better when planted in cooler seasons. Here’s what you need to know before you can grow your lentil plants.

Obviously, a single plant won’t nearly be enough and you’ll need around 5 to 8 of them if you want almost a yearly’s supply for a single person. The number of plants you’ll need also depends on your intake and if you lean more towards plant-based nutrition, it’s likely you’ll need more of them.

You can grow lentils in your garden, or if you’ve run out of space in your backyard, you can grow them straight out of pots. As long as the pots are thoroughly cleaned before planting, and have a height of over 8 inches, you’re all set. To prepare, you’ll need to make sure whether they’re treated with an inoculant or not. If they are, then you can move on to the next steps. If they’re not, then spread your seeds over a wide tray and apply some leguminosarum inoculant on them. Wait a whole 24 hours until you plant them; this helps the seeds prepare to absorb nitrogen.

Add loose soil and compost to a pot, and check the pH. Lentils like to keep it basic, so a pH of around 6.5 is preferred. Add a supporting structure to each pot, such as a trellis. Remember that one pot is only supposed to hold a single plant. Plant a few seeds one inch under the soil and keep the soil watered adequately, but not too much. Waterlogged soil has the risk of killing lentil plants, so stay on the drier side and give them plenty of sunshine. Soon, in each pot, you’ll begin to see growths rising upwards. Then, cut off the weaker plants and keep the stronger ones. While doing so, be careful not to damage or disturb the stem or root of the plant you wants to keep.

You’ll need to train your plants to rise upwards i.e. up to the trellis. To do this, you can give a little help by tying a loose thread around the trellis and stem of the plant. Once the plants achieve a height of around 5 inches, remember to add some compost every now and then because lentils love nutrient-rich soil.

Harvest your yield after the plants turn yellow and ripen. You can use some garden shears or hand pruners to chop off the pods, or you can cut the entire plant from the stem. Be careful of aphids attacking your plants, so use some organic insecticide and cleaning up well after the plant.

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