KW Homestead

Pasture Raised Poultry from Our Family to Yours

Tag: livestock (page 1 of 3)

What’s Up at KW Homestead? Animal Picture Edition

We are running full steam here at the homestead this Spring season! Between selling our free range Pekin duck and duck eggs at the Corner Farmer’s Market, kickstarting and expanding our garden, and getting ready to offer the most nutritious, delicious, truly free range chicken in Greensboro, time is flying by!

But so much is happening here, that we wanted to share some of it. This brief post will focus on the animals here at the homestead, a quick check-in with some of the stars of the show.

pot belly pigs on pasture

Our young weaner pigs getting moved to fresh pasture.

dexter cattle pasture

Ruby, our new Dexter momma checking things out.

dexter calf

Little Johnny is doing great! He loves running around and exploring.

freedom rangers on pasture

The Red Rangers are out of the brooder and out on pasture!

pasturd poultry greensboro

Our 2 African geese stand guard inside the electric fence and sound the alarm if anything goes awry. Or if they get bored.

Stay tuned for a plant update, and more details in the future!
And don’t forget to reserve your Free Range Chicken or Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey today!

What Do Free Range Turkeys Eat?

Our flock of heritage turkeys are getting bigger everyday and will be nice and plump when Thanksgiving rolls around. They spend their days free ranging and foraging the fields, pastures and woods of our farm, but what do they actually eat?

heritage turkeys greensboro

Free range turkeys enjoying the sun.

First off, we supplement them with the highest quality non-GMO feed available. They get a small amount in the morning, and a bigger ration when the sun starts to set to entice them back to the safety of their coop. Because we raise the slower growing, heritage Bourbon Reds, they aren’t as interested in the feed as a modern factory raised bird. They seem to prefer to forage for their food.

Our turkeys graze on green grass, clover, and other broad leaved plants. I have seen them devour a thick stand of pasture, and jump up to grab a midair bite out of 6 foot tall amaranth plants. They eat anything green, from chicory to plantain, and this helps to produce that wonderful rich flavor and the amazing health benefits of pastured poultry.

heritage turkey winston salem

Because our heritage turkeys are out on pasture for their entire life, they develop flavor that can’t be found in a supermarket.

In addition to the green portions of plants, they also eat a fair amount of seeds. Some they pick off the ground, and others the harvest directly from the plant. We have stands of lambsquarter, grain amaranth, sorghum, and chia, and I have seen the turkeys eat them all.

One thing they love are surplus vegetables from our organic garden. They seem to favor heirloom tomatoes above all else.

thanksgiving turkey triad

Searching for seeds and bugs.

But they don’t eat just plants while out on pasture. They also hunt and chase all sorts of insects and bugs. Grasshoppers are a rare sight on our farm now that the turkeys roam the fields.

And boy do they roam. While they spend a lot of time in the open pastures, they also range the wooded acreage too. Mature oak and hickory trees provide a hearty mast crop of acorns and nuts that the turkeys strong beaks and gizzards make short work of. This is another important aspect of their flavor development, and contributes to the terroir of all the animals raised on our property.

piedmont heritage turkeys

Reserve your free range bird today!

As you can see, your heritage thanksgiving turkey has been busy free ranging for both its food and it’s flavor. There’s still time to reserve your bird this year and lock in the special $7/lb. price. Please check out our heritage turkey page for more information on how to order.


On Catching Pigs (Almost)

We didn’t get him.

We came close, oh so close, but we didn’t get him. The pig that is.

His number has come up, and our plan was to isolate him for a few days before the deed was done, but after an exciting evening complete with blood, sweat , and tears, we didn’t get him.

silvopastured pigs

“Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Bacon should not be highly rated.” ~Thomas Paine


Cleanup Ducks

Our flock of Golden Layer and Cayuga ducks are a hungry bunch. They spend their days hunting bugs and nibbling on weeds in between twice daily feedings of our non-gmo feed.

feeding ducks

Some of our ducks, lining up to be fed

We keep them on a pretty tight diet, otherwise they would get a little too big and their egg laying would suffer down the road. As such, they are always on the lookout for a snack, usually a grasshopper or a bite of clover, but their ravenous appetite can be put to other use on the homestead.

turkey tracto

hungry ducks following and cleaning up after the turkeys

You see, our heritage turkeys are currently in a move-able tractor that we paddock across the pasture daily. They also get a ration of non-gmo feed, but they tend to waste a good bit of it, especially the smaller pieces. This is where the ducks come in handy. Because they are so keen on finding food, we can easily herd our flock to the recently vacated space left by the turkey tractor where they furiously search for and cleanup any leftover and wasted grain. They glean a fair amount of food value form the turkey leavings, which otherwise would go to waste.

A win-win for all!


How Much Feed and Water do Ducklings Need?

Now that you have your day old ducklings  in their brooder(seriously, aren’t they cute?)it’s time to feed and water them.

feed ducklings

baby ducks!

What to feed them?

We feed Non-GMO Starter, a 22% protein mash that provides all the nutrients and energy for fast growing baby ducks. We also like to throw in a chunk of sod from the pasture, to give them some exposure to soil microorganisms, grit, grass and bugs.

ducklings grass

learning how to graze pasture!

How much do they eat?

The rule of thumb for ducklings, and most other baby animals, is to give them free choice access to their feed for the first days/week. After this point, ducks that are being raised to breed, or for egg production, are best off being fed a restricted diet based on age. This helps to control excessive weight gain, which can lead to lower fertility and decreased egg production.

ducklings water

ducklings are very messy, the paper towels help somewhat to keep their bedding dry

Metzer farms has a great article on the daily feed/water consumption and manure output for ducklings based on age. According to this chart, our 67 ducklings should have eaten .5 lb of feed each over their first week of life, or about 33.5 lbs. total. Judging by whats left in the 50 lb. bag of starter, I don’t think they have eaten quite that much, but they were traveling in a box for 2 days, so that might have skewed the figures.

The chart also shows that each duckling will drink almost 1/2 gallon of water during their first week of life, and up to 2 gallons of water per week as they get older. I think that our duck nipple waterers help them drink more efficiently though.

ducklings funny

you talking to me?

As for manure output, after 1 week, ducklings deposit almost 1 pound each, and by 7 weeks they are dropping 7 pounds each per week! That’s a lot of fertility! Now, these numbers are “wet” numbers and are mostly water,but still, that’s pretty impressive.


*Tired of feeding chemical genetically modified chicken feed to your flock? Check out our freshly milled, non gmo layer feed!

Non GMO Duck Starter

What do you feed 67 day old ducklings?

Non GMO Duck Starter!

In this video our new ducklings give their opinion on our 22% protein Chick Starter feed. It’s high in protein and nutrients for rapid growth and development of goslings, ducklings, and chicks and made from 100% GMO free ingredients with no antibiotics or hormones.

If you are in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Stokes or Rockingham county make sure to pick up a bag of the freshest Non GMO feed in the Triad. It’s duckling approved!

We also have layer, broiler/grower, pig, and any other livestock feed you can think of, as well as organic fertilizers and mineral supplements. Find out how to order here.

Non-GMO Feed Now In Stock!

We just received a ton of Non GMO livestock feed. Literally, 1 ton.

We got some high protein turkey starter for our Bourbon Red Heritage Turkeys, some 16% laying feed for the chickens, a bunch of 18% grower/broiler feed for the teenage chickens and ducks, some pig food, and a few bags of chick starter for our next batch of ducks that will be showing up soon.

Non GMO feed greensboro

40 Bags of high quality, freshly milled GMO Free feed

We are very excited to start feeding only GMO free feed to our livestock. For some of the reasons why GMO free is important us, check out this post.

It was very hard to find a source for Non GMO chicken and livestock feed in our area, but after months of searching for an affordable option, we are excited to finally be able to offer some of the highest quality feed available to other small producers and backyard growers in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Rockingham and Stokes County areas.

GMO Free Chicken feed Greensboro

High quality feed means happy hens, and happy hens mean delicious eggs!

This feed is milled fresh (as in 3 days ago) from high quality, 100% GMO free grains and without any medications, hormones, or antibiotics.


All feeds in 50 lb. bags

  • Layer – 22.50
  • Broiler/Grower – 24
  • Chick Starter – 25
  • Turkey Starter – 26
  • Pig – 21
  • Sheep/Goat – 24
  • Cracked Corn – 17

Soy free feeds are available for an additional fee.

In the future we hope to offer some of the other supplements we use on our homestead (for both plants and animals) like kelp, rock dust, diatomaceous earth, and other types of mineral and protein supplements.

If you would like more information, send us an email at or shoot us a message on Facebook.

Morning Chores!

We put together a short video of our morning homestead chores.

Emma feeds, waters, and lets the chickens out (both the laying flock and the teenage cockerels), while Jason feeds, waters and checks on the ducklings and the pot belly pigs.

The geese are okay until the afternoon, when they get some food, fresh water, and maybe a paddock shift.

Our morning routine is going to change somewhat when our batch of heritage turkey poults arrive, and also when our ducks graduate form the brooder to their new shelter.

*Don’t forget to pre-order your GMO Free Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving!

Duck Nipple Waterers

One major difference between raising ducklings and raising chicks is their water preferences. Ducks drink a lot of water, way more than chickens, and they love to splash, play around, and make a mess.

We manage our ducklings water use by allowing them limited bath time in deeper water to play and clean themselves, and with “nipple” waterers for drinking. These are the same devices we used for our last batch of chickens, and they work just as well for ducks.

duck nipple water

They are kind of shy.

One addition that we put in place for the ducks is a raised platform that’s covered in 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Under this platform is a drip pan to catch the water that our messy ducklings still manage to waste. This keeps their entire area drier which helps with odors, and means less changing of bedding.


duck nipples

The hardware cloth lets any wasted water fall through to the drip pan.


We are already brainstorming an expanded version of this system for when we increase our flock size and use an old outbuilding as our new brood house/farrowing pen.

For now though, we dump the pan of water about once a day, and swap out waterers whenever they are empty. Next up, a protected outdoor brooder where we can acclimatize these guys to outside life! We want to get them out there much quicker than the chickens!

*Don’t forget to pre-order your GMO-Free Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving!

“On The Anatomy of Thrift”: An Inspirational Video Series from the Farmstead Meatsmith

I want to share some amazing videos that Emma and I watched the other night. It’s a mini web series from the Farmstead Meatsmith, an artisanal butcher shop that focuses on the long lost traditions of home butchery, charcuterie and real food.

On the Anatomy of Thrift is a collection of 3 informational yet inspirational videos on pork butchery. It covers (and shows in detail) every part of a hog harvest, from killing to cooking. Brandon Sheard, the farmstead meatsmith, takes the viewer on a mesmerizing trip with stops at evisceration, cooking offal (the perishable organs like hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys), identifying and parting out specific cuts, making old fashioned delicacies (pate, blood sausage, and rilletes), and preserving pork flesh by curing hams and making bacon.

If you, like me, have carnivorous tendencies (and aren’t too squeamish) than I highly suggest you check out these videos. They really are stunning. The production is great, and Brandon’s passion is extremely contagious. Emma and I immediately started day dreaming about making bacon, prosciutto, lard and pate from our future pig production.

I can assure you that we will take Brandon’s techniques and philosophies to heart, and utilize every part of every pig we butcher. To do anything else would be a disservice to the animal, a waste.

*Don’t forget to pre-order your GMO Free Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving!

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