A and I have had a reoccurring argument since before we moved in. She has been homesteading literally her whole life. She homesteads very differently than we do. Neither is necessarily “right”, just different. Since we moved in I help her with her chickens and she gives me eggs. It works out really well. She also likes to give me advice on my chickens and garden, which I appreciate. One major issue though is that she doesn’t quite understand why we are homesteading and what our ultimate goal is. She homesteads to save money and know what is going into her food. We take that one step further. We not only want to know what is going into our food but we want to make sure that only the best goes into ours. We want our vegetables to be organic and our animals to be organic and completely pasture raised.
We actually really respect the work done by Joel Salatin at Polyface farms. I like his philosophies of letting animals get back to the way they would act and eat without us, or without modern farming techniques. His cows are pasture raised, which a lot of cows here are starting to be, but a major difference are his chickens. He doesn’t buy traditional chicken feed. His chickens don’t get fat off of cracked corn. His meat chickens are in a run (much like the one I made), that he moves every day. His cows graze on the field to “mow” the grass. Then the chicken run is moved everyday so the chickens can graze on the bugs and such from the cow manure which has been incorporated into the soil.
My chickens are raised very much the same way. My hens get a large field to graze in and go back in the coup at night for protection. My meat birds have the run, and even though we don’t have cows for the chicken run to follow after, we do have a fairly virgin ground with lots of bugs. I also keep a waterer in the run and feed them chicken scraps from the kitchen. I want my chickens to be healthy, organic, and full of good nutrients. I also would prefer to buy heritage birds. To me it doesn’t matter if they have a lot of meat or fat, i want the nutrients.
She doesn’t quite understand this. She thinks my birds are too thin and are “starving”. I think her chickens live in their own filth. She thinks I don’t buy chicken feed because we can’t afford it. I think her birds rely too heavily on the feed, you can tell because the yolks of her eggs are almost yellow. She thinks my hens wont lay eggs without cracked corn, I know she’s wrong. I don’t argue with her though . None of her kids were interested in continuing the homesteading, and I know she is happy that I am interested in helping her and learning from her, so she mothers me a bit, and I let her. I let her tell me the things that frustrate me, and I smile continue to do the things I do. If she says something i think may be valid I may rethink some of my methods, but in general this is our relationship. It gets frustrating at times, but I think to an extent all relationships do.