118: RAQ #7 – missing the city, working fulltime, too many roos, meat bird terms, life is nuts

118: RAQ #7 – missing the city, working fulltime, too many roos, meat bird terms, life is nuts

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It’s another random audience questions podcast episode (and blog post) where I pull five questions from my giant mason jar of topics you’ve sent in. Today I answer your questions about: a significant other struggling with country living, suggestions for getting things done when working full time away from the homestead, issues with too many roosters, clarification on meat bird terminology, and finally, “Amy, I cut out a bunch of things and my life is still nuts, please help.” As always is the case with these random audience questions episodes, the podcast episode is more in depth than the blog post.

If you’d like to add a question to my jar for a future episode please email it to [email protected]


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1 — Significant other struggling with country living

So, my wife (a city girl) is really struggling with country living. Complaining that our kids have no one to play with. Can’t ride bikes down the sidewalk, can’t run over to the neighbors house and play, can’t run to the grocery store, etc… – Chris (first part of email)

It’s always hard to move from one life to another. I’m positive that your wife’s concerns come from a place of love and wanting the best for your kiddos, and we tend to latch on to what’s familiar to us and how we were raised. If she grew up in the city, it makes sense that she’s thinking, “who will the kids play with? How will they ride their bikes down the sidewalk? Why are we so far from the store?” That’s the normal she grew up with. Much like I would wonder how kids in urban families survive without spending all day playing in the woods (like I did!)

There are people who like the city and people who don’t, and that’s okay! Sit down and have a conversation about her pros and cons, your pros and cons, and don’t be afraid to include the kids in the conversation. After talking you will have a better idea about where everyone stands and how to look for compromises to bring about a happy country home. (Note: Much longer answer to this in the podcast version.)

2 — Getting things done on the homestead when working full time away from home?

… It’s just a struggle. Both of us work an hour away from home and by the time we get out of work, get the girls from daycare, get home, cook dinner, (there’s) not much time for anything. Any suggestions would be helpful. – Chris (second part of email)

I generally tell people to do a time audit. First, how much time do you actually have at home? Take a good hard look at that number. Then, think of how much time your homesteading ventures actually require. I mean, REALLY think of a number. Is it 30 minutes every morning and night? Is it three hours each day? Is it an entire weekend? Be aware that sometimes homesteading is so exciting to us that it can take up a way bigger piece of our brain than it takes in our actual schedule. For instance, chickens seem like a big deal. They are the gateway animal, after all. But how long do chicken chores take everyday? Ten minutes?

Next make sure to include all the other things that have nothing to do with homesteading in your time audit. We all do more than work, sleep, eat, and feed the chickens.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and you’ve got to be realistic about what you can fit into those hours. You either have to find time where it might be hiding in your schedule, manage the time you have in a different way, or admit that you’ve got plenty your plate for the place you’re at currently in life.

3 — Is this what roosters do?

We butchered our own chickens for the first time this summer and we ended up butchering sooner than planned due to the boys starting to fight. Have you had issues with this? We ordered straight run chicks and a dual purpose breed because I also wanted laying hens. – Milissa

Yep, you’re right. A bunch of boys together will fight, generally about the time they realize that there are girls in the room with them. In the past when we have ordered straight run and received a lot of roosters, they’ve never made it to “full grown” because, like you, we ended up with a bunch of gangs running around trying to knife each other and become the king of the chicken yard. 

We don’t order egg birds very often anymore since we try to hatch out our own, but if we do have to restock/restart, we order mostly females and a couple roosters (for fertilization and protection). For meat, we order meat birds (Cornish), and because they grow fast, they are in the freezer long before any testosteronish aggression issues rear their ugly heads.

4 — Clarification on meat bird terminology

Thinking on getting meat birds for the first time and my wife and I are confused. We know you usually get cornish cross but when we look in the catalogs now it says cornish broilers (male and female) or cornish game hens. Is there a difference? Does it matter what I order? What do you actually order? – Matt

The difference is the fancy terminology. A cornish game hen is just a cornish pullet (female) that’s butchered at about 3-4 weeks instead of 6-8. If you purchase a cornish game hen and let it grow to 6-8 weeks… you’d have a Cornish broiler. Likewise, you could butcher a cornish broiler at 3-4 weeks and have a cornish game “hen”.

If you order cornish game hens, you will get all females. If you order broilers, you will get males, females, or a straight run (both sexes). You can butcher either at either time and they are edible. There is no cost difference in ordering cornish game hens or ordering female cornish broilers. They are  exactly the same thing. 

5 — “My life is nuts. Help.”

A friend sent me your episode 115 (“Sometimes You Have to Wait”) because she thought it was something I needed to hear. And it was. And now I know about your podcast, so that was like a double prize. My question is this: Ok, I get it. I can’t do all the things right now. I have to wait with some of the things I want to do. But even if I wait…my life is still so freaking crazy right now, I feel like I’m meeting myself coming and going. I’ve looked at what I can cut out and I’ve done some of that but life is still so nuts! I guess what I’m looking for is advice on how to know what else to cut out, or confirmation that maybe, sometimes, life is just, you know, nuts?  – Rachel B.

Yep. Here’s the thing that no one really talks about. Life. is. Crazy. And it’s always going to be crazy. If you fall into bed thinking omg my life is insane! it might not mean you’re doing anything wrong. It might just mean you’re alive.

You’re never going to have as much free time as you think you want. Know why? Because when you get more time and think “hey, now I can do…” guess what you end up doing? You take on more things and fill up that time.

Part of the problem with “being busy” is that we’ve got all the big gurus telling us we’re not supposed to busy, or that being busy is bad. And as much as I agree with the statement that we should stop glorifying “busy”, I think we do just as much disservice to people by pretending they’re not supposed to be busy at all.

The life you choose to live and the path you decide to walk on will determine the stress you’re going to deal with. There is “stuff to deal with” no matter what path you’ve chosen in life. When you think of what “relaxed and stress-free” looks like to you, make sure your particular brand of it lines up with the path you’re on.

But yes, Rachel. Life is generally pretty nutty. Those times we get to sit on the couch and eat bon-bons are called “vacation”, and let’s be honest. If we did it for too long, we’d be bored out of our minds. 🙂

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Today I answer your questions about country living struggles, working full time, too many roosters, meat bird terminology, and "when life is too crazy".



2 thoughts on “118: RAQ #7 – missing the city, working fulltime, too many roos, meat bird terms, life is nuts”

  • Wait 3-4 weeks from hatching to kill? Wow, we have the wrong birds! (Faverolle cross black copper marran)
    Do you allow ‘natural’ hatching with the broodies or just replace your flock periodically?

    • Cornish Cross birds are made for meat, so they grow really fast!

      Regarding hatching, we generally let our egg bird broodies hatch out their own chicks. We’ve had to replace entire flocks a couple times in the last ten years by purchasing from the hatchery. And sometimes… I just want to try new breeds. But yes, generally we are letting the broodies or our incubator take care of things. 🙂

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