How to Whitewash Your Barn and Chicken Coop

how to whitewash a barn or chicken coop

Wanna know how you can instantly feel like a homesteading rockstar?

Whitewash something.

I say this because:

(a) It’ll make all your friends give you a weird look (I always enjoy that)

(b) It’s delightfully old-fashioned

(c) It actually does provide some benefits to your barn/coops (besides just making you feel cool)

Whenever I think of whitewashing, my mind instantly goes to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. But before we dive into a bucket of whitewash, let’s talk a bit about why this is something you’d even want to mess with.

What is Whitewash?

Sometimes you’ll hear people referring to “whitewash” as simply painting something with white paint, but in the most traditional sense of the term, whitewash is powdered lime (lime as in limestone, not the green fruit!) mixed with water.

Whitewashing has been a favorite paint/sealant in farms and homestead for centuries because it is effective, simple, and cheap. It’s also safe for animals, and you don’t have to worry about paint fumes.

It’s important to pay attention to what type of lime you are using in your whitewash–be sure to select hydrated lime (also called mason’s lime)– NOT dolomite lime or garden lime. We were able to find ours at our local building supply store, although you might check feed stores too. Hydrated lime is different than the type of lime you spread on the ground/garden, so make sure you have the right stuff!


Why to Whitewash?

Whitewash is the perfect coating if you want a bit of old-fashioned charm, but it also has some practical applications too. The main reason I chose to whitewash my chicken coop is to brighten the dingy, dark wood. Whitewash also has some antibacterial properties, which makes it a handy option for sealing tough-to-clean surfaces against bacteria and insects.… [Continue Reading]

All About Guinea Fowl {And why you need them on your homestead!}

raising guinea fowl

Today I’m learning just as much as you are! I’ve often wondered about raising guinea fowl, but have not yet taken the leap. After reading this post by Charles of The Chicken Review blog, I’m ready to bring home some guinea keets from the feed store next spring. I think they’ll make the perfect addition to our homestead–especially as snake repellent!  Read on as Charles shares the scoop on why you need guineas on YOUR homestead—->

The guinea hen is often referred to as a guinea fowl. This unique bird is not native of the United States but actually comes from Africa, south of the Sahara.

The helmeted or domesticated guinea hen is a larger species than other guineas. This particular guinea fowl weighs almost 3 lbs.  This is the common guinea we find here in the USA, and it displays grey body plumage sprinkled with small, white spots. This domesticated Guinea does not fly well, but is very apt at running and they are very fast. Their flight is a short glide and they are running upon touching the ground.

I still remember being raised around this unique bird and finding it was one of the hardest creatures ever to sneak up on! Our next door neighbor owned a good-sized farm and raised these birds, along with hundreds of chickens. They had a large, long chicken house and the chickens and guineas would all roost together. I was never able to to go to their home without the guineas announcing my arrival.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding guineas to your homestead:

The Benefits of Owning Guinea Hens

  • Guineas are excellent free range birds
  • They provide excellent bug control
  • Guineas are talented at catching small snakes and small rodents
  • Guineas give loud warnings when they spot a stranger or predator
  • Guineas will consume about 90% of their food when free ranging
  • Guineas will not scratch up your garden seed like chickens do

(Jill: I’ve always heard that Guineas were excellent at keeping snakes away from the barnyard![Continue Reading]

Do Your Goats Eat Seaweed? The Scoop on Feeding Kelp to Livestock

feeding kelp to animals

I like to post a variety of content here on The Prairie Homestead, and for the most part, we keep it pretty light and fun. But every once and a while, I like to dive in a little deeper and explore the science behind some of my crazy natural choices. I am ecstatic to be welcoming Eric Zielinski back to the blog today. He is a health coach and skilled researcher who specializes in natural topics that are right up my alley! From time to time, he’ll be joining us and sharing some of his research, as is the case for today’s kelp post.

Have you fed your cows their kelp today?

I know… I may have just confirmed your suspicions that I’m a little bit off my rocker… but hear me out. ;)

In its most basic sense, kelp is simply a type of edible seaweed, and yes, some folks do indeed feed it to their livestock. Read on for details!

A Little Background on Kelp…

Kelp is a marine brown algae that is loaded with nutrition (more on that below!). It’s similar to nori, which is what sushi is traditionally wrapped in, but is used much differently. If the thought of you or your livestock eating sushi or seaweed grosses you out, then I have to warn you: you’re probably consuming kelp in one form or another on a regular basis!

Algin, an emulsifying and bonding agent, is extracted from kelp and is commonly used to make:

  • Dairy products
  • Frozen foods
  • Puddings
  • Salad dressings
  • Shampoos
  • Store-bought cakes & baked goods
  • Toothpastes
  • And even pharmaceuticals

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), each year 100,000 – 170,000 wet tons of kelp is harvested from California waters alone. It’s mind-blowing to think that we can use almost 3 million cubic feet from America’s West Coast underwater kelp forests!… [Continue Reading]

Come Take a Walk Around The Prairie Homestead! (Video)

farm video tour

For those of you who have been following me since the beginning…

You know that my photography skills started out a little rough.

I still don’t claim to be a pro, but at least they have gotten better. However, my video skills are definitely still in the “I have no idea what I’m doing” stage.

But today, I put aside my hesitations and perfectionist nature, and drug my camera out to the pasture anyway. Just because I love you guys. :)

Wanna Go for a Walk?

Let’s head down the barn and I’ll show ya around. I took this video first thing in the morning when the grass was still wet with dew, and the animals were wondering why I was taking a video instead of feeding them (sorry guys!).

In this tour video you’ll meet:

  • Oakley and the rest of our little cattle herd
  • The opinionated pigs
  • Our cute little turkeys
  • Annie, one of the resident equines
  • The goats who firmly believe they are horses
  • And various yard birds

Let’s Go!

If you are reading this post via email, click here to watch the video directly on YouTube

(There are a couple of mess-ups with the sound, but don’t worry, you didn’t really miss anything–I was just rambling)


homestead video tour


 … [Continue Reading]