The Honest Truth About Marans, 3 More Chicken Breeds (Pt. 3) 

Looking to start or expand your backyard flock but not sure which chicken breeds to are the best? While I can’t tell you which chickens would be the perfect match for your particular situation—more than a dozen factors affecting your decision come to mind off the top of my head—I can share which chicken breeds worked for my family and which ones crashed and burned.

The following foursome comprise part three of my series (here’s part 2) honestly recounting my experience rearing these breeds of chicken.  

Dutch Booted Bantam 

My experience with Dutch Booted Bantams (pictured above) came about unexpectedly. These were amongst the adorable “mixed bantams” that I brought home from our farm-supply store as a result of chicken math.

There were only three in the entire stock tank, and all three came home with me. Sadly, two didn’t survive the first week. To this day, I’m unsure why they perished. They’d been active; were eating, drinking; and pooping; never experienced pasty butt; and were the same size and age as the other baby bantams in the brooder. P

erhaps Dutch Booted Bantams are delicate by nature. Perhaps it was just those particular chicks from that particular hatchery. I’ll never know.  

The surviving chick, Clarice, befriended the only lavender chick I’d seen in the mixed-bantams tank (and of course brought home). Edward and Clarice became inseparable, even as fully grown birds … which was all the more astounding since we discovered that Edward was not a bantam at all but rather an Easter Egger—and female at that. Another name change became imminent when Clarice began crowing.

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Edwina and Clarence were quite the pair. Clarence would ride on Edwina’s back, and the two would roost together at night, Clarence often tucked beneath one of Edwina’s wings.  

 I never saw another Dutch Booted Bantam chick amongst the bantams bin that year or in subsequent years, so I can only assume that the hatchery had issues with the breed. It’s hard to summarize an entire breed based on my experience with Clarence, but I will say he was a very gentle, affectionate and healthy little bird with beautiful feathering on his feet. Hopefully the rest of his breed follows suit.  

Japanese Bantam 

Japanese bantamJapanese bantamMarieXMartin/Adobe Stock

One advantage of getting to know the director of the local university’s poultry research farm is being alerted when hatching eggs and chicks were available for the many different chicken breeds being raised at the center. I carefully brought home one dozen of the tiniest bantam eggs I’d ever seen and watched them incubate with anticipation.

I was very disappointed when only one egg hatched. I learned soon after that Japanese Bantams, like Araucanas, carry a lethal gene that kills many of the embryos before they hatch.

The surviving chick, a gorgeous White Japanese Bantam I…

Google Ad Topics: Another Cog in the Surveillance Advertising Machine

Internet users are constantly surveilled—advertisers collect and purchase mass volumes of consumer data and then use that data to serve highly targeted ads back to consumers. Surveillance advertising not only harms consumer privacy and autonomy by using highly personal data in ways that consumers do not expect; it also worsens inequity by enabling predatory and discriminatory ad targeting. EPIC has long advocated for consumer privacy, autonomy, and equity by pushing for greater legislative and regulatory protections for consumers from the harms caused by surveillance advertising.

In response to public pushback to surveillance advertising, some companies are implementing their own changes. Google is rolling out Ad Topics, its new framework for targeted advertising on Chrome. Ad Topics is part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox Initiative. Ad Topics was preceded by FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), which would have organized users into groups based on their browsing history and served ads to users based on their assigned group. Google ended the FLoC project after facing criticism that the tool would harm user privacy and exacerbate discriminatory and predatory ad targeting. Google claims that Ad Topics incorporates feedback and criticism to the FLoC proposal, but the new system—like all “self-regulatory” approaches to privacy—fails to provide the systemic and reliable protections that consumers need.  

The implementation of Ad Topics plays a key role in Google’s plan to stop supporting third-party cookies on Chrome in 2024. Chrome will be the last major browser to stop supporting third-party cookies on its platform—Apple’s Safari began to block third party cookies by default in 2017, and Mozilla’s Firefox did the same in 2019. After falling behind its competitors and facing criticism for previous plans to phase out third-party cookies, Google now touts Ad Topics for its benefits to user privacy and transparency. But Google’s new tool is far from a perfect solution to the harms of surveillance advertising.

To implement Ad Topics, Chrome infers interest-based categories, called “topics,” by evaluating users’ browsing history. For example, some of the topics include Rap & Hip Hop Music, High Intensity Interval Training, Women’s Clothing, and Child Care. The Topics API assigns a topic label to websites based on the content of the website. Users are assigned a new topic associated with their most frequently visited websites each week. For example, if a Chrome user seeking a loan visited multiple online lending sites in a week, that user could be assigned the “Credit & Lending” topic. In the initial rollout of Ad Topics, only 469 broad topics are included, but the topic taxonomy could expand in the future. Google states that it “aims to maintain a topics list that does not include sensitive categories (i.e. race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.).” Chrome will automatically delete topics after four weeks. Google states that topics are selected locally on users’ devices and that users’ topic data is not shared to external servers. To use topic data to serve an ad, Chrome…

Sweet, Spicy Japanese-Style Teriyaki Beef Jerky Recipe

Sweet, Spicy Japanese-Style Teriyaki Beef Jerky Recipe | Homesteading tallest) { tallest = thisHeight; } }); group.height(tallest); } equalHeight($(“.dg-grid-shortcode .dg_grid-shortcode-col”)); $(window).resize(function() { equalHeight($(“.dg-grid-shortcode .dg_grid-shortcode-col”)); }); }); ]]> Sorry, this product is unavailable. Please choose a different combination. ]]>

Episode 62: Frank Hyman

Rodney Wilson, senior editor for Hobby Farms and Chickens magazines, is a writer, editor and hobby farmer. His family farm, the Kentucky-based Goldfinch Farm, has raised Berkshire pigs, Dexter cattle, meat chickens and laying hens, but these days focuses on self-sustenance and beekeeping. Rodney lives in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area with his wife, a whole mess of kids and so many pets.

The Record: Federal privacy legislation is the ‘foundation for any AI efforts,’ key lawmaker says 

The various state laws are problematic because of their “spectrum of strength,” said co-panelist Alan Butler, the executive director of EPIC. 

Citing a recently passed Washington health privacy data bill and the pioneering California privacy bill as examples of strong legislation, Butler observed that the myriad of other state laws in many cases raise as many questions as they answer. 

The McMorris Rogers-led bill that died last Congress was a strong enough bill to be worth the tradeoffs privacy advocates had to swallow, Butler said. 

He worries about the prospects for a similar bill passing this Congress, saying there’s a lot of “uncertainty” right now. 

Comprehensive federal privacy legislation is not meant “to cement the past,” Butler said. “It’s meant to change the status quo and we believe that the bipartisan federal legislation that we and many others gave input on last year did that in a strong way.” 

Read more here.

5 Crockpot Freezer Meal Recipes – The Ultimate Guide to Crockpot Freezer Meals for a Busy Lifestyle


Crockpot freezer meals are a game-changer for busy individuals and families. They offer a convenient, nutritious, and time-saving solution for those who want to avoid the fast-food trap. In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll delve into five scrumptious and simple crockpot freezer meals, along with essential tips to elevate your cooking experience.

Benefits of Crockpot Freezer Meals

  • Time-Saving: Prepare multiple meals simultaneously and freeze them for future use.
  • Nutritious: You have full control over the ingredients, ensuring a healthier meal.
  • Cost-Effective: Bulk buying ingredients can lead to significant savings.
  • Stress-Free: Imagine coming home to a hot, ready-to-eat meal after a hectic day.

Essential Tips for Crockpot Freezer Cooking

  • Seasoning: Customize the seasoning to suit your palate.
  • Defrosting: Always defrost your meals in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking.
  • Cooking: Use high-quality freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Label them with cooking instructions for easy reference.
  • Grocery List: A well-planned grocery list ensures you have all the necessary ingredients for multiple recipes.

Grocery List




  • 1 family sized bag of corn


  • 2 small cans of pineapple rings
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • 2 cans of cream of your choice
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken
  • 2   15oz cans of blackbeans


  • Provolone Cheese
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese



  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour
  • Beef bouillon
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Steak Sauce
  • Steak Seasoning
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cooking Sherry
  • Butter
  • Curry powder
  • Rice
  • Salad Supplies


1. Savory Pepper Steak

pepper steak


  • 3 pounds round steak, cut into ½-inch thick strips
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 16oz cans Italian style tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp steak seasoning
  • 2 tbsp steak sauce


  1. Mix beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Serve with rice and a side salad.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 400
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbs: 20g

2. Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken


  • 6-8 chicken breasts
  • 2 15oz cans black beans
  • 1 family-size frozen bag of corn
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese


  1. Divide all ingredients except cheese into two bags.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Serve over rice or corn tortillas.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: 25g

3. Chicken Curry

chicken curry

  • 6-8chicken breasts
  • 2cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1cup of dry cooking sherry
  • ½cup of butter
  • 8green onions chopped
  • 4tsp of curry powder
  • saltand pepper

Directions: Divide everything except butter into two bags evenly.  Add butter to crockpot when ready to cook.  Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice with a side salad.

4. Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

Hawiian chicke


  • Cubed chicken
  • Pineapple slices
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Sandwich buns


  1. Mix teriyaki sauce and add cubed chicken and pineapple slices.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Serve on sandwich buns.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 28g
  • Carbs: 40g

5. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

scalloped potatoes and ham



  1. Layer Sliced potatoes, diced ham, and chopped onions in the crockpot.
  2. Pour cheese sauce over the layers.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: 50g


Crockpot freezer meals offer a convenient and healthy dining option for anyone juggling a busy schedule. With a bit of preparation, you can relish a variety of scrumptious meals that are both cost-effective and time-saving. Try these recipes and savor the simple pleasures of homemade comfort…

Slow Cooker Apple Butter: A Magical Recipe for Your Homestead Kitchen

Hey, homesteaders! Are you looking for a delicious, easy-to-make recipe that not only fills your home with the aroma of autumn but also serves as a fantastic gift for friends and family? Look no further! Sarah Olson over at The Magical Slow Cooker has crafted a Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe that is simply divine.

What Makes This Recipe Special?

  • Cost-Effective: Making apple butter at home is far more economical than buying it from the store.
  • Simple Ingredients: All you need are apples, brown sugar, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Versatility: Use it on toast, in recipes, or even as a topping for ice cream and milkshakes!

What’s the Difference Between Applesauce and Apple Butter?

Sarah briefly touched on this, but let’s delve deeper. While both are apple-based, they differ in texture, flavor, and usage:

  • Texture: Applesauce is runnier and chunkier, whereas apple butter is smooth and spreadable.
  • Flavor: Apple butter has a richer, spiced flavor due to the addition of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Usage: Applesauce is often eaten as is or used in baking, while apple butter is more like a jam and can be used as a spread or in various recipes.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Apples: Gala or Fuji are recommended, but feel free to experiment.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and deepens the color.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are key to a flavorful apple butter.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preparation: Start with 5 pounds of apples. Peel, core, and slice them.
  2. Mixing: Add the apples to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add brown sugar and spices.
  3. Cooking: Cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours.
  4. Blending: Use a blender or an immersion blender to achieve a smooth consistency.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Too Thin?: If your apple butter turns out too thin, don’t fret! Sarah suggests cooking it on HIGH with the lid off for an additional 45-60 minutes.

How to Serve and Store

  • Serving Ideas:
    • On toast or croissants
    • With biscuits
    • As an ice-cream topping
    • In milkshakes
  • Storage: This is not a canning recipe. Store it in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for up to a year.

Additional Recipes to Use Up Your Apple Butter

  • Apple Butter Little Smokies
  • Slow Cooker Apple Butter Pork Chops
  • Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

Why You Should Make This Recipe

  • Gift Material: It makes for a wonderful homemade gift during the holidays.
  • Long Shelf Life: When properly stored, it can last up to a year in the freezer.
  • Health Benefits: Apples are rich in fiber and vitamins, making this a somewhat guilt-free indulgence.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to The Magical Slow Cooker for the full recipe and make some magic in your kitchen today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of apples are best for making apple butter?

While Sarah from The Magical Slow Cooker recommends Gala or Fuji apples, you can experiment with different varieties to find your favorite. Tart apples like Granny Smith can add a unique twist!

Can I use a sugar substitute?

Yes, you can! Some readers have successfully made this recipe using brown sugar substitutes. Just be sure to adjust to your taste.


Poultry Profile: The Beloved Speckled Sussex Heritage Breed

Speckled Sussex chickens are gaining popularity in small backyard flocks across America. These speckled beauties are perfect for people desiring a cold- or heat-hardy chicken that excels at egg laying. With these traits, it’s easy to see why the speckled Sussex is gaining popularity.

But what else is making the speckled Sussex breed a popular choice for backyard flocks?


Bred in the mid-1800s in Sussex, England, the breed was initially developed as a meat bird. Before Cornish Rocks gained popularity, Sussex was the primary meat bird of England.

Even though the Sussex’s original purpose was to be a meat bird, they are not prone to the health issues often occurring with Cornish Rocks.


The Sussex comes in a variety of colors: speckled, red, light, Columbian buff and white. The striking speckled—a mahogany color with each feather ending in a black bar and white speckle—is the most popular color in the U.S. With each passing molt, the speckles become more numerous.

Speckled Sussex heritage chicken breedSpeckled Sussex heritage chicken breed

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Meat & Egg Production

Sussex chickens make an excellent choice for the table. They are known to have incredibly tender meat, especially when butchered at a young age. Each chicken should average a dressed weight of 6 to 7 pounds. However, speckled Sussex are slower to mature than Cornish Rock crosses (averaging 20 weeks to reach butchering age).

This trait puts them at a disadvantage to faster-growing breeds, who reach butchering age in 9 weeks.

Speckled Sussex are excellent egg producers who will lay eggs without declining for several years. Each hen averages four to five light brown eggs per week for the first four to five years of her life.


If you are looking for a pet chicken, you don’t have to look any further than the speckled Sussex. These hens crave human interaction and will do anything to get attention. Sussex are chatty, curious, friendly, intelligent and energetic.

They love being the center of attention. They also love to be held and will carry on animated conversations with their owners.

Hens of this breed are very energetic and benefit from directly supervised free-ranging. Even so, they still tolerate confinement well if allowed to stretch their legs. If bored, they often will find ways to entertain themselves. Sussex can bully other flock members when bored, so provide lots of mental stimulation.

Providing Entertainment

The Border Collies of the chicken world, Sussex are intelligent and energetic hens who require physical and mental stimulation. Providing your hens with fun activities will keep these chickens healthy and happy.

If you have a bored Sussex, try one of the ideas below.

Fresh Straw

Putting clean straw in your coop or run will provide chickens with endless entertainment. Even when your other breeds have tired of the game, your Sussex will continue to scratch happily through the straw.

Because if there is anything a Sussex likes to do, it’s scratch.


On September 21, 2001, the DJIA lost 14.3 percent.

On September 21, 2001, the Dow Jones industrial average posted its largest weekly loss (14.3 percent) since the Great Depression.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 108 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. The photovoltaic power specialists at Quantum Harvest LLC  are providing a store-wide 10% off coupon. Depending on the model chosen, this could be worth more than $2000.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  4. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  5. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
  6. Two sets of The Civil Defense Manual, (in two volumes) — a $193 value — kindly donated by the author, Jack Lawson.

Second Prize:

  1. A SIRT STIC AR-15/M4 Laser Training Package, courtesy of Next Level Training, that has a combined retail value of $679
  2. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  3. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC.
  4. Montana Survival Seed is providing a $225 gift code for any items on its website, including organic non-GMO seeds, fossils, 1812-1964 US silver, jewelry, botany books, and Montana beeswax.
  5. A transferable $150 FRN purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun. There is no paperwork required for delivery of pre-1899 guns into most states, making them the last bastion of firearms purchasing privacy!

Third Prize:

  1. A $300 gift certificate from, good for any of their products: Home freeze dryers, pressure canners, Country Living grain mills, Emergency Essentials foods, and much more.
  2. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard (a $270 value)
  3. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  4. A transferable $150 FRN purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun.

More than $840,000 worth of prizes have been awarded since we started running this contest. We recently polled blog readers, asking for suggested article topics. Refer to that poll if you haven’t yet chosen an article topic. Round 108 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how-to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Chicken Tractor: Top 10 Tips and More!

Hey, homesteaders! Are you looking to build a chicken tractor that’s not just functional but also durable and efficient? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve stumbled upon an incredible blog post by Kelsey Jorissen Olesen from Green Willow Homestead Blog, featured on The Prairie Homestead. Kelsey shares her top 10 tips for building a chicken tractor that you won’t want to miss!

Why a Chicken Tractor?

Before we dive into the tips, let’s talk about why you’d want a chicken tractor in the first place. Chicken tractors are mobile coops that allow your chickens to graze on fresh grass, catch bugs, and fertilize the soil, all while staying protected from predators. It’s a win-win for both you and your feathered friends!

Top 10 Tips from the Expert

1. Ventilation and Shade

  • Ensure proper ventilation to keep the air fresh and humidity low.
  • Provide shade for your chickens to escape the hot sun.

2. Protection from Predators

  • Use heavy-duty welded wire fencing and hardware cloth for maximum security.

3. Daily Movement

4. Pecking Order

  • Address pecking issues by identifying the bully or the victim and taking appropriate action.

5. Roosting Bars

  • Place roosting bars higher than nesting boxes to satisfy your hens’ natural instincts.

6. Exterior Nesting Box Access

  • Make your life easier with exterior access to nesting boxes for quick egg collection.

7. Heavy-Duty Tires and Hardware

  • Choose quality tires and hardware to ensure smooth mobility.

8. Human-Sized Access Doors

  • Include large doors for easy access for feeding, cleaning, and medical care.

9. Durable Materials

  • Invest in quality materials like corrugated metal siding and high-quality hardware.

10. Annual Maintenance

  • Regularly check and maintain your chicken tractor to ensure its longevity.

Additional Insights

  • Roosters for Peace: Consider adding a rooster to maintain peace within the flock.
  • Eco-Friendly Stains: Use eco-friendly stains to preserve untreated pine lumber.

Wrapping Up

Kelsey also offers downloadable, printable Mobile Chicken Tractor Build Plans that come with a materials list, step-by-step instructions, and bonus tips. So, if you’re serious about building a chicken tractor that stands the test of time, make sure to check out her original blog post for all the juicy details!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your tools and start building the chicken tractor of your dreams today!