We Tried Butcher Box & This Is How We Got Free Bacon

We Tried Butcher Box & This Is How We Got Free Bacon

While recipes aren’t a big part of this website, from time to time, I come across a product so good, that I have to tell you about it.

 

(This article contains affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you join ButcherBox. This is my honest review of this product. I’ve been a customer for years, and I love it!)

 

I did a livestream of my favorite subscription box, Butcher Box, last month, and it was so popular, I’ve repeated it this month.

 

If you haven’t heard, ButcherBox is a subscription box that offers sustainably-raised and sourced grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, pork, and chicken.

 

 

butcher box

 

I get one sent to our farm every month – the all beef box – and I love that I can have grass fed, organic meat sent right to my house – something that’s otherwise inaccessible in our area.

 

We choose the beef box because we can raise pigs and chickens….but not cattle.

 

I started a search for organic, humanely raised meat a while ago – I was tired of staring at hormone-raised, corn fed beef at the grocery.

 

It wasn’t even fresh. It’s a joke.

 

If you’re looking for healthy, organic food that’s humanely sourced and raised, then watch the video below & see why I love this subscription box so much.

 

If you decide you want to join ButcherBox, then use this link here: Butcher Box 

 

Until October 31, new customers will get $25 off and a package of bacon with their first order

butcher box logo

Don’t even try to tell me you don’t want free bacon. The world turns on free bacon. It’s a good deal – check it out!

 

That’s also my affiliate link, which means that when you treat your family to ButcherBox through that link, I earn a small commission, which allows me to feed my kids more organic grassfed beef. So thank you if you use it! Enjoy the video!

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Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator Product Review

Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator Product Review

*** For this review, the folks at Brinsea sent us their Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator with fully automatic egg turner and digital temperature and humidity control test run.

Although we received the incubator for free, all the opinions in this article are true and accurate, and represent our own opinions. ***

 

What we reviewed

Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator with fully automatic egg turner and digital temperature and humidity control. Cost: $469.99 on Amazon (Buy here) or (accurate at time of print) $449.99 on Brinsea’s website here.

 Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator fully digital for backyard chickens

 Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator fully digital for backyard chickens egg cups

Description

The Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator with fully automatic egg turner and digital temperature and humidity control is an electric egg incubator with an automatic turning element and forced air heating element.

 

There are 8 egg holders that can accommodate all species of domestic poultry eggs.

 

There are also areas for water to maintain the humidity levels. The temperature and humidity are digitally displayed on the top of the incubator.

 

The Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator comes with a manual that explains how to use it and how to set it up.

 

According to the Brinsea website:

 

“The Ovation 56 Advance is a sophisticated, high performance incubator ideal for a wide range of species and applications. The high accuracy digital readout of humidity and comprehensive alarms help ensure high hatch rates.

A simple and highly accurate menu driven digital control system gives:

  • Digital display of temperature and humidity
  • Automatic temperature control in °F or °C fully factory calibrated
  • High and low incubator and room temperature alarms
  • Programmable automatic egg turning
  • Periodic Egg Cooling feature
  • Fan assisted air flow with Induced Dual Airflow system
  • Ventilation control
  • Good visibility of the eggs
  • Robust hygienic ABS construction with Biomaster™antimicrobial plastics
  • 56 hen eggs capacity with standard egg carriers provided but suitable for a wide range of egg sizes (optional small/large egg carriers)
  • Easy water top-up with level indicator
  • 3-year warranty”

Our experience

Let’s just say that we gave the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator a real run for its money, and it came through with gold stars.

 

We tested it twice, both with duck and chicken eggs (mostly from my brahma chickens). We had to try it twice because on the 18th day of our first test run with 30 chicken and duck eggs, the cat knocked over the incubator and cracked every single egg.

 

Despite this error on our part, our experience with the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator was overwhelmingly positive.

 

The first test run of the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator

Setting up the incubator was easy, although I did have to consult the manual to make sure all the settings were accurate. The manual is well written and easy to follow.

 

I selected 30 duck eggs and enough chicken eggs to fill up all the cups.

 

Days 1 – 10 went uneventfully, and I appreciated how easy the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator is to use.

 

On Day 10, we pulled out the eggs that did not develop or were never fertile, and left the remainder to incubate. Out of 30 eggs, we pulled out less than 5. In any hatch, some eggs won’t develop, and it’s not a reflection of the incubator.

 

Before the incubator crash, we candled all the remaining eggs on Day 18, and they appeared to have embryos developed enough to hatch.

 

After the crash on Day 18, we had 5 chicks hatch immediately, and they were all healthy, and have lived to tell the tale. We lost the rest of the hatch, but it was no fault of the incubator.

 

The incubator itself was unharmed, which is a testament to its craftsmanship.

 

The second test run

The second time, we tested the incubator with 15 duck and about 20 chicken eggs. All went as planned, and we loved that we didn’t need to worry about the temperature levels, and adding more water to maintain the humidity was easy.

 

The temperature stayed a constant 99.6 degrees F throughout the entire incubation period, except when we replaced the water in the humidity trays. When the temperature dipped a few decimal places because of the water, the incubator returned to 99.6 degrees quickly.

 

When we removed the top of the incubator to candle, again, the temperature returned to 99.6 quickly. Candling the eggs was easy, although I had to be careful to grasp the eggs tightly to remove them from the turning element safely.

 

We kept the humidity at 55%, and removed the chicken eggs from the turning element on Day 18.  The duck eggs remained in the egg cups, which protected them when the hatched chicks rolled around to get their bearings.

 

On Days 18 – 21, all the chicks hatched, and are healthy and now happily running around our farm. Because of the automatic turner, we didn’t have to open the incubator at all while the chicks hatched to turn the duck eggs, allowing us to incubate both types of eggs simultaneously.

 

The duck eggs remained in the cups until Day 28.

 

We removed some duck eggs before the final 3 incubation days (the eggs were never were fertile) and all of the remaining duck eggs hatched on Day 28 and Day 29. We now have 10 healthy ducklings.

ducklings try swimming for the first time

The Good

This incubator is very easy to use, and is as close to set and forget as you can get with an incubator, at least until it’s time to remove the eggs from the turning element to hatch.

 

The temperature stayed the same the entire time, and the humidity was consistent as long as the water level was constant.

 

The egg cups that are part of the turning element are easy to use, and accommodates our very large Pekin duck eggs well. For goose eggs, the manual recommends laying the eggs on their sides, which we had to do with a couple Pekin eggs.

 

We noticed that the incubator did not draw a lot of energy, even though it maintained 99.6 degrees for well into 2 months, so it seems to be quite energy efficient.

 

Some key points about the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator

This isn’t bad per se, but more of a piece of advice: Consult the manual carefully and keep it handy when setting up the egg cups and automatic turner.

 

In the confusion of the day 18 crash on our first test run, we panicked to get all the eggs back in the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator as quickly as possible to avoid shrink wrapping.

 

I had to consult the manual to figure out how to place the egg cups so they lined up with the automatic turning element because I completely forgot how they fit together, and it wasn’t 100% intuitive in the heat of the moment.

 

If not set up correctly, you run the risk of the eggs falling out of the cups, which is initially what happened when I tried setting up the incubator for the 2nd test run. The eggs were unharmed, but it’s best to keep the manual on hand.

 

Some other points:

The timer for the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator automatic turning element is set to go off every 45 minutes by default, so be sure to consult the manual to select an interval that works for you. We set it to turn the eggs every 2 hours.

 

We couldn’t figure out how to turn the beeping off completely for the timer, and it kept my husband up at night, but it didn’t bother me. If you’re a light sleeper, take this into consideration when deciding on a location for your incubator. Because we have special needs children and cats who get into things they shouldn’t, we kept ours in the bedroom where we could keep an eye on it.

 

[UPDATE: Brinsea contacted me after this review posted, and let me know how to turn off the beeping sound:

 

  • Press all 3 buttons simultaneously to unlock the calibration menu
  • CAL TEMP
  • OK < >  will show on the screen
  • Keep pressing the OK button until you see TURN ALM
  • Press the OK button
  • The screen will now show
  • T ALM: 1
  • OK 0 1
  • Press the – button to select 0 (off)
  • Keep pressing the OK button until you save and exit.]

 

The heating element on top of the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator isn’t easily removable, so it made it difficult to completely clean it between hatches.

 

When I emailed my contact at Brinsea for help, I was promised a reply with the information, but didn’t hear back with instructions for cleaning around the heating element.

 

[UPDATE: After this review posted, I did hear back from Brinsea about the cleaning instructions, and you can view them here. They are easy to follow, so print them out and keep them handy. Their customer service was friendly and very interested in helping us solve the cleaning riddle.]

 

Overall Experience

GREAT – I love this incubator, and had great hatch rates. The fact that we got 5 healthy, beautiful chicks after the crash speaks to the quality of the product. I haven’t lost a single chick or duckling that hatched, and they’re all healthy.

 

While a bit pricey for beginning chicken and duck keepers, the peace of mind and craftsmanship is well worth it if you plan to incubate eggs frequently.

 

I plan to use the Brinsea Ovation 56 Advance Incubator again and again, and it’s my prime recommendation for a mid-priced chicken egg incubator.

We tried an Eglu Cube Chicken Coop & Here’s What Happened.

We tried an Eglu Cube Chicken Coop & Here’s What Happened.

This article is sponsored by Omlet. In exchange for an Eglu Cube and run, we agreed to review the coop. However, this review is our objective opinion and honest thoughts about our experience with the Eglu Cube.

 

Testing out Omlet’s Eglu Cube

We tested the Eglu Cube with 5 young chickens – 3 pullets and 2 young roosters. We had been eyeing it for a while, and thought it would be perfect for our latest crop of Brahmas, Speckled Sussex, and Jersey Giant chickens.

 

We’re very excited about this coop – it’s beautifully designed for any backyard farm, and we were thrilled to give it a test run and review it.

 

During the 2 weeks we tested it before writing this review, our flock was very happy – every day they got fresh grass (aka new bugs to eat!) and happily spent a few hours every morning eating nutritious greens in addition to their grower feed.

 

The first night, they didn’t understand they could go up the ladder and spend the night in the coop area – we had to put them inside it. However, the second night, they surprised us – they went into it themselves. So, clearly they felt happy and secure in it.

 

(If you want to buy the Eglu Cube, go here and use the coupon code FRUGALCHICKEN – you’ll save $90 on this exact set up).

 

What’s the Eglu Cube look like?

Here’s a full video walk through:

Why you need the Eglu Cube in your life right now.

Posted by I Love Backyard Chickens on Tuesday, September 12, 2017

 

The coop arrives in the mail in several boxes – it was easy to put together though. No special tools were needed, and the manual was easy to follow. Our chickens were able to go inside their new home in just a couple hours!

 

The Good

The Eglu Cube has several features that make it a great choice for your flock. The design is attractive – it will fit easily into any backyard and your neighbors will love how it looks.

 

It’s also important to note that this is a tractor, and not a permanent structure – this is an important distinction since many areas have laws about building structures in your backyard.  You might be able to slide around those laws with the Eglu Cube.

 

The entire coop is secure – predators will have a hard time getting into the run, and as long as the doors are all closed, they don’t stand a chance against the safety features. To open the main coop door, you have to pull up on the knob and twist.

 

The backdoor and the door to the nesting box are also twist and pull – no predator will be able to figure it out.

 

Ever try an eglu cube?

 

The run has wire safety features that make it difficult for digging predators, such as dogs, to dig under the coop to get at your chickens. It’s also hard to knock over (we did test it!), so a dog can’t just pounce on it to get at your birds.

 

Ever try an eglu cube?

 

The coop also comes with wheel attachments, and it’s easy to push the tractor to move it to a different area of your yard. The advantage, besides getting green grass, is your chickens aren’t living on their own feces – this could potentially reduce illness because their not reinfecting themselves with bacteria or inhaling their urine.

 

The coop is also easy to clean. It’s made of durable plastic, so we were able to just wipe it down with all-natural cleaners. There’s also a drop tray to collect manure, so your chickens aren’t sitting on their own poop. It also makes composting their manure very easy.

 

Ever try an eglu cube?

The Bad

There’s nothing really bad about this coop – I truly love it and think it would make a good home for your chickens. There ARE some things to think about though.

 

The run is well constructed and will keep your chickens safe from predators, but the top will have to be covered in the rain, snow, and sleet and in heavy winds to keep your hens out of the elements. In the daytime, they’re unlikely to go into the coop themselves.  

 

However, because the Eglu Cube can be rolled, you can bring it under a barn or other structure. Another option is to tarp the run in really bad weather and then remove it when the weather is better.

 

Another consideration are the locks for the double doors. The doors are secure – it’ll be hard for predators like raccoons to open it. But if you have small children or other curious parties (like nosey neighbors), you’ll want to consider adding an extra clasp as a double lock entry. Our 3 year old daughter learned quickly how to open the doors, and let our small flock run free several times!

 

Finally, we realized that we will have to modify one of the doors in the summer with a screened area – because our summers are so hot and humid (it can be well into the 90s with high humidity at night), the coop area will be too hot for them in peak summer. However, this is an easy adjustment, and doesn’t diminish the quality of the coop – any coop we used would need SOME sort of customization.

 

Final thoughts

The Eglu Cube is a great investment, and perfect for your small flock. We love it, and will not hesitate to buy another one for our chickens!

 

(If you want to buy the Eglu Cube, go here and use the coupon code FRUGALCHICKEN – you’ll save $90 on this exact set up).

Get 101 Recipes For Homemade Products In A Single Valuable Resource [Product Review]

Get 101 Recipes For Homemade Products In A Single Valuable Resource [Product Review]

On our farm, I try to make things instead of buying them.

 

While part of that is about living a more natural, real-ingredients life, the other part is that I just don’t really like leaving my house. It’s just my personality.

 

If I can make it at home, I’m more apt to do that than run out to the store to buy an item.

 

That’s why I love 101 Easy Homemade Products For Your Skin, Health & Home, a book by Jan Berry that without a doubt lives up to it’s name. 

 

(Click here to see it on Amazon)

 

101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health, and Home

 

101 Easy Homemade Products For Your Skin, Health & Home teaches you how to make every day items, like soap, shampoo, salves, lotions, and other health-related products from herbal ingredients you probably have growing in your backyard.

 

For someone like me, it’s pay dirt because I can make soaps for me and salves for my livestock, and all the recipes are housed in one simple resource!

 

If you’re like me, and are interested in making your own homemade herbal products, then 101 Easy Homemade Products For Your Skin, Health & Home is for you.

Product Description:

101 Easy Homemade Products For Your Skin, Health & Home is a 256 page, full color book by Jan Berry of The Nerdy Farm Wife blog. It’s published by Page Street Publishing, Co. 

 

The book is priced at $22.99 (less on Amazon), and it contains—wait for it—101 recipes that teach you how to make homemade products using herbs as well as healthy ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter. 

 

Recipes include tutorials about how to make soaps, shampoos, bath melts, lip balms, as well as herbal remedies like salves, throat syrups. You’ll also be invited to discover recipes for all-natural laundry detergents and wall washes.
At the beginning of the book is a full explanation of the ingredients, their beneficial uses, and tutorials about, for example, how to infuse oils with herbs to use in the recipes. 

You’ll also find a detailed Table Of Contents, which makes it easy to flip to exactly the recipe you want.

 

The Good:

 

101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home is one of those resources you absolutely want on your shelf if you’re trying to avoid chemicals.

 

You’ll find natural alternatives (that actually work) to products like shampoos and lotions, which tend to be full of unrecognizable ingredients if you buy them at the store.

 

One particular feature I like about the book is that Jan lists alternative herbal ingredients in case you don’t have access to certain herbs.

 

For example, I wanted to test out the “Peony & Orange Sugar Scrub” but I don’t have ready access to peonies.

 

However, roses were offered as an alternative, and since I received this book to review when roses were abundant on my homestead, I was able to safely substitute roses for the peonies and end up with a wonderful sugar scrub.

 

You’ll also find alternatives for carrier oils and butters. For example, I don’t have ready access to mango butter, and the book offers plenty of other choices that also work well within the limits of the recipe.

 

You’ll also discover little-known nuggets of information about common flowers and herbs. For example, before reading 101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home, I wasn’t aware how valuable all the violets growing on my front lawn really were. 

 

In 101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home, you’ll discover a recipe for Violet Leaf Lotion Bars, and the leaves are a wonderful source of vitamin E.

 

There’s also recipes for animals, and one of my favorites, and one I tested out, was a rose salve for livestock.

 

On my farm, this was a wonderful addition to my natural first aid kit, and it’s extremely useful for our chicken flock.

 

The recipes are easy to follow, and many of  the recipes also have accompanying photos for reference. 

The Bad:

 

I don’t have anything negative to say about 101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home.

 

The Bottom Line:

Five stars *****

 

This is a resource you will turn to time an again. For the list price of $22.99, you’re getting a valuable resource for your homestead.

 

If you’re a DIY person who is trying to avoid chemicals, then this book is absolutely a must-have.

 

Here’s where to buy 101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home on Amazon

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you think you’ll read 101 Easy Homemade Products For Skin, Health & Home? Leave a comment below!