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Topics - Farmer McGregor

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Doomsteading / Chicken & Egg Issues for Doomers
« on: February 20, 2017, 07:31:02 PM »
Greetings to LucidDreams, JDWheeler and others:
I find myself questioning whether it is worth it to compose a response like what follows (it take a lot of time).
Have the people I'm responding to moved on and will never read this?
Will anyone else read this?  Or does it spin off into The Cloud as a terrific waste of time.
Please let me know, dear readers, lest I despair.  I will be watching.  SG, just go somewhere else.

Speed limit changes to 50 mph about a mile from the house, so by the time people get here they're doing 55-60 mph.  We recently had a drunk driver flip three times, took out our chain link fence, and ended up in the middle of our front yard (which is why we don't let our kids play in the front).  It amazes me how many people build houses right on the fuckin' roads around here.
Our speed limit is lower here but we've had several incidents involving speeding drunks.  One idiot blew past here, scattered a cluster mail box all over the road before shearing a section right out of the middle of a power pole (he was airborne at this point, we went w/o power all night) then clipped off a blue spruce tree (about 10 inch diam. at the base) before coming to a halt upside in a neighbor's yard.  So I feel your pain.  Fortunately, I was blessed some years back by a few dozen dump truck loads of fill dirt from a nearby utility project that gave me a five foot berm across the front of the property -- protects the front of the house from such jackasses.

We were selling eggs back then for three dollars a dozen which basically just paid for feed.  I might incubate a couple more birds this year, but the four hens we have are able to keep my family covered up in eggs...
At $3/dz you were indeed barely (actually, probably not) paying for feed.  Definitely not if it was organic feed.  We sell ours for $6/dz and we know we're not making any money.  But people around here won't pay more.  If we were in big city yuppieville (down, SG, down boy!) farmers market we could easily get 7$ or 8$.  The only reason we sell any at all is because we have too many to use.

Only four hens?  I eat anywhere from 3 to 10 eggs a day.  Most of them I open, drain off the whites (albumin is hard to digest) and swallow the yolks raw, washed down with raw milk.  I want to up the number of those...

We tried ducks a couple of years ago, and we quickly learned that they are much more difficult to keep than chickens.  The wild life (around here at least) go absolutely bat shit crazy for duck meat.  I think we've had 6 total and every one of them was lost to predation.  I haven't lost one chicken in five years of keeping chickens.  My wife actually wrangled a hawk one time to keep it off of our ducklings.  I couldn't believe my eyes when she did that, grabbed that fuckin' hawk by it's legs and threw it about 20 feet away onto it's head...my mouth was hanging open watching her do that.  The hawk got up and flew up on top of our garage and preened itself for a few minutes before flying off.
That hawk story is hysterical!  Holy crap, don'tcha wish you had a video of that?
Reminds me of one time where I was in the chicken yard where I had a particularly aggressive and sneaky rooster (this was before we crockpotted him). For whatever reason that I was working in there I was carrying a broom with me.  The broom handle was thin hollow metal that had originally been coated in a layer of plastic which had worn off.  The little fargin' bastidge made a play for me so I swung the broom handle (holding it at the broom end) and when it connected with his head it made the most musical resounding "DONK" sound -- KO'd the little bugger.  I thought, oh shit, I'm gonna hafta do an emergency Gut & Pluck to salvage him.  Went about my chore for quite a while (15 minutes?), looked back at him laying there all sprawled out with one leg and one wing stretched out all wonky, his head laying on the dirt with one eye up -- and saw him blink.  So I bent over him and said "You can get up now you idiot".  And he did.  Shook the dirt off and walked away.  He didn't bother me so much after that.

As for ducks, too messy with their need for water water water.  Only had them cuz' somebody dumped them on us.  Can not cost justify their existence on my prepstead at this time.  Maybe never.  I would guess that the predation problem has something to do with the fact that ducks are stupider than chickens and are much slower on the getaway.  You know, the old thing about when your camping party gets attacked by a bear, you don't need to be the fastest runner...

Another post I could write would be about the unsustainable nature of keeping chickens, at least in my climate...

RE is all about aquaponics, and I've ran into other people that are all about it as well.  I've never tried, but I'm of the opinion that it's not worth the effort for several reasons
The reasons you've stated are a major part of the problem.  I'll work on a post about my experience

(many other)...projects like a soldier fly larvae operation to feed the chickens (have the SFL delivering themselves to the coop through their exit shoot).  Building a rocket mass heater.  Vermicomposting operation.  Pond build.  Spring is around the corner so I will be busy with annual seeds.
Man, that's a fine bunch of projects!  Definitely better uses of time.
SF larvae huh?  Bet you've been reading this book:
http://www.chelseagreen.com/the-small-scale-poultry-flock

I am interested in a number of possibilities with mass insect farming for the purpose of converting waste biomass (which would otherwise simply get composted) into protein for chickens (or heck, for that matter maybe for us!).  Obviously, red wiggler vermiculture is at the top of that list -- earthworms are a rich source of the amino acid methionine, an essential nutrient for hens, they are a breeze to produce in volume, the feedstocks are cheap and abundant, and the byproduct is black gold.  Super win-win-win.

Take a look at good 'ole meal worms, the larvae of darkling beetles.  Easy to grow in pretty good volume, and here's the kicker: they (according to some sources) can be raised on chicken manure.  The fact that I have them breeding spontaneously in the litter around my watering fount in the hen house shows the truth in that.  I just haven't mastered doing it on purpose in captivity.  Will keep trying.

Keep on keepin' on there, Lucid. We have a lot to talk about.

Comment to JDW:
If I get ambitious to do so, I could write some interesting posts for the doomsteading forum.  Some might be provocative, like "Why I Dumped Aquaponics".  Heck, that statement alone could provoke a firestorm.
LOL... you provided sufficient explanation when you said "We have 7 acres...."  Aquaponics is an intensive system, it only makes sense in small spaces.  Not much point to it if you have the room.
Sorry, not so.  Everything I do is intensive, including my annuals vegy garden done in the borderless wide raised double-dug bed method I learned from John Jeavons' work decades ago.  Bartholomew's square foot method is just a miniaturized version of Jeavons' "Grow Biointensive" style.  And I don't believe his production claims.*

My problems with aquaponics have nothing to do with having acreage.  I need every possible square inch of my earth to be productive (and profitable since 'not profitable = not sustainable'), and the most important crop I can grow is grass.  Properly managed grassland is said to be the most efficient harvester of sunlight available to us.  Look into Allan Savory's work.  I want to keep a milk cow and need desperately to minimize the amount of hay that I ship in from off-site.  MUST     GROW     GRASS!

*I should write a post about all those bullshit books that claim "grow all you own food on one-quarter acre".
Even the ones that claim to do it on five acres piss me off.  Grrrrr!

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