October 21-22, 2023 the 2nd annual Indiana Homesteading Conference took place at Marion County Fairgrounds. I had the opportunity to speak about The Sustainable Backyard Chicken Flock. My talk included raising breeds that match your goals of raising chickens for eggs or meat. Also covered the various shelter and feed needs. I wrapped up the talk sharing about incubating your flock expansion and if chicken math becomes an issue then people could offer chicken rental packages to put their chickens to work.
I was able to hear several speakers share from their homesteading experience. Pork Rhyne shared 8 farm business fails you can't afford to make. I had seen him at HOA a few years ago but I never had a chance to hear one of his talks then. He is a charismatic speaker that shared business concepts through every day relationships people have. Another talk I was excited to hear was Shawn and Beth Doughtery about raising a Family Milk cow. After their talk I was able to share what I've been working on our homestead and Shawn made some suggestions for our cow milking parlor setup. They live in Ohio and shared that usually there are only 3 weeks that they have to feed hay to their cows. They practice rotational grazing and shared some tips for moving cows and stockpiling grass in the pastures.
If you havn't been to a homesteading conference before I recommend trying to plan to attend one. There is a lot of knowledge to gain and sharing of similar experiences.
At the end of the second day I had the opportunity to help at the chicken processing class that was lead by Joel Salatin. Joel shared how in the early days they would raise 600 birds per acre on 10 acres of land. Then they would process 600 birds every 3 weeks on the Monday, Wednesday, Friday. They would also have customers arriving in the afternoons to pick up the freshly processed birds. Hearing some of the stats and processes his family used early on was exciting and energizing. It makes me want to explore the possibility of offering chicken processing classes on our homestead in the spring.