ONLINE COURSE - SELF SUFFICIENCY
Learn about making your own food
- Learn to grow food
- Learn to harvest food
- Learn to preserve, store and use what you grow
Perhaps you have dreamt of starting a small home based business, selling through markets or local retail outlets. Maybe you just want to become more self sufficient with food at home. Take this course to become more self sufficient; or as a foundation for working with food; either growing, processing or marketing food products.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Diet & Nutrition
Establishing A Kitchen Garden
Freezing & Drying
Producing Milk & Eggs
Growing & Cooking Herbs
Egg & Cheese Cookery
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Explain the importance of good diet and nutrition to good health
Discuss the potential for increasing self sufficiency by growing your own food in a kitchen garden.
Describe the potential and appropriate procedures for vegetable growing in your area.
Describe the potential for fruit growing and appropriate fruit growing procedures for your locality.
Describe the process of practices like bottling to extend the shelf life of produce.
Explain the process of practices like freezing and drying to extend the shelf life of produce.
Describe the principles of animal production and processing animal products, where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
Describe growing and cooking with herbs, where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
Describe the use of eggs and cheese where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
Describe the use of grains in a situation where someone is seeking to improve dietary self sufficiency.
What about Eggs?
You don't need a lot of room to keep chickens; and you don't need a lot of chickens to provide all the eggs a family might want. You do need to be prepared to do a little work though, on a regular basis.
Chickens are living things, and they can't be attended to for eleven months then ignored for a month while you take a holiday each year.
Chickens begin egg production at around 18-22 weeks of age and will continue to lay one egg most days; however the laying life of a chicken depends on a number of factors such as the age, breed, and health of the bird, and also environmental factors such as season and temperature.
Why Might they Decline in Lay
Every now and again your chickens will take a break from laying. They may just slowdown in production, they may take a break for a period of time, or they may stop all together. Here are some of the common reasons why a hen may stop laying:
- Molting- taking a break from laying allows the chicken to shed feathers and grow new ones. At the same time the hen’s reproductive tract is rejuvenated and you should see a slight increase in the number of eggs they lay and the quality.
- Sickness - many poultry diseases will effect egg production, if your hens have symptoms of disease it’s best to consult a vet.
- Seasonal -shorter day length may cause a decline in egg production. Egg production will start to pick up again when the days begin to get longer.
- Improper nutrition - it’s very important hens get adequate and balanced nutrition in order to maintain egg production.
- Broodiness –this is when hens incubate their eggs until they hatch (which is obviously never if they are not fertilised), some breeds are more prone to this behaviour than others.
- Too young –young chickens are usually inconsistent layers to begin with.
- Too old –Since chickens are born with the amount of eggs they will produce inside them; older hens will start to slow down in their reproductive ability and egg production will eventually stop.
Nutritional Value: are eggs the ultimate super food?
In the food pyramid, you will see that eggs fall into the protein foods category this is because eggs are a great source of protein. One serve (2 large 50g eggs) can supply approximately 25% of an adult’s or 30% of a child’s recommended daily intake of protein. Importantly they also contain all the essential amino acids that humans need.
Fat content is considered reasonable, with 2 eggs providing around 15% of our recommended daily fat consumption.
Do note that cholesterol content of eggs is high therefore recommendations state that no more than 2 eggs should be consumed daily.
Eggs provide a range of vitamins and minerals required for health body function.
Two eggs provide us with:
- Almost half of our daily folate requirement
- 32% of our daily vitamin A requirement
- 14% of our daily iron requirements
- 59% of our daily selenium requirement; selenium is an important dietary mineral which helps in thyroid function and antioxidant protection.
- As well as quantities of vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium.
PLUS eggs are yummy and extremely versatile for cooking. You can have them fried, scrambled, boiled or poached and they can be used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.
Collecting And Storing Your Eggs
It’s important to collect your eggs every day, this helps to prevent broody hens. It also means they will be collected and stored properly - which means fresher eggs when you go to eat them as they will not have been left in the elements for days on end. Collecting your eggs every day also means you can check on and monitor your chickens’ health daily.
There is no need to wash them as eggs after you have collected them; eggs have a protective coating which keeps bacteria out, washing the eggs destroys the protective coating. If they are muddy or dirty you can gently wipe dirty eggs with a wrung out, damp, clean cloth or damp paper towel.
You can either store your eggs in a bowl or egg carton in the fridge, or depending on the temperature you could also store them in a bowl or carton in a cool shady spot in the kitchen, it is recommended they be stored under 20oC.
Refrigerated eggs tend to last longer. They should be stored with the large end up, this helps for the yolk to remain centred.
Handy Hint: to keep a track of your eggs write the date on each egg in pencil, this way you know how fresh or old they are.