Actifit and Homesteady Progress: April 8 2019

in actifit •  last month

Today's theme: happy accidents

I accidentally left my water hose running all day. I had Sophie turn off the water after I was done with it, and didn't check that she turned it off. Nope, wide open all day long. Overflowed the swale and ran into the chook run. Good test and happy accident, cause now I know I need a spillways to drain away from the chooks.

It's perfectly on contour though, so that's an awesome beneficial mistake. It'll be expensive when we get the bill though for sure. Oh well, nothing to do but learn from it. Hope the trees and comfrey love it :)

Chooks had a decent day out. We've got two broody hens, Mama and Turkey, each being allowed to keep their one egg. They better not throw me a pair of roosters. This rooster is going away soon. Way too aggressive to have a place on our property. The other girls (in the picture doing God's work of soil improvement) are 100%ROL for three days running! What rockstars!

It looks like we'll be getting more chicks this week, as we've found it'll be convenient to have more. Another half dozen hens would put us well over what we need daily, while we're just under daily needs now with two broody hens. That'll put us into the realm of being able to sell a few dozen eggs to offset feed costs probably by the winter. This leg of the project is funded by the sale of a graphics card that I no longer use.

Sam and I are learning as much as we can about farming now. Both listening to podcasts and reading books while we look for an acre of pasture to lease and experiment with some chickens or pork. We're developing a market, and both hoping to be farming within five years.

Today's steps were about 6k at work, the rest at home.

I planted lupines with the tree guilds today, so those guilds are now largely complete. Lupines, comfrey, and a nitrogen fixing forage layer. We'll see how it works :) I'm optimistic, of course.

Tomorrow is stock making day and Wednesday is milk day! We got another family drinking raw milk too! It's actually cheaper (at $4 a gallon) than the pasteurized organic pastured milk from the store, which is $6.50+! That's so SO encouraging to me that were able to conveniently increase that availability to others.

My salad bed has something growing in it (besides dandelions and violets). What it is is anybody's guess, cause I didn't really use consistent regular rows. Or mark what I planted where. So it's a surprise! My kind of style. Plant it and get surprised later :) I know this bed has two types of lettuce, spinach, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Maybe something else, but idk lol. Recording that kind of stuff isn't my style, I just know I planted mostly greens here because I wanted them to be easy to get to.

I'm starting to gather materials in anticipation of expanding and making the chicken area better looking. It's somewhat of an eyesore to everyone but me (I'm a haphazard type of guy). So I'm going to make it shorter (down below the fence line), and take it all the way back to the fence. I'll probably make the coop itself taller as well, and I'll make the top straighter. It'll be a fun project with the intent of giving the birds a larger run and easier access to the food forest area where I really want them to work. I may incorporate some kind of water catchment for them as well so I can limit or simplify my daily chores. Woot! Progress! Onward!

Be blessed

Nate :)

9398
Daily Activity, Gardening, House Chores, Moving Around Office, Shoveling, Walking

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Yikes! Hose running all day! It sounds like you got a crazy amount of work done, though. I hope you will be posting lots of pictures of your new chicks when they arrive!

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I misspoke. It'll be next week that we get new ones. Payday.

Was gonna be this past weekend but Melissa talked me out of it. Then two hens went broody and we ran out of eggs, and I sent her pictures of cute baby chicks. @bobydimitrov would be proud of my subversion campaign.

I think we'll add six more and pray that Mama and Turkey hatch a pair of pullets. Ooh, I'd be tickled pink with fourteen birds in production!

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Nicely done! Man, I wish I could send you some hens. We're overrun. Ours are not polite like yours. They sit on a dozen eggs and make a whole lot of babies! We're getting about 15 eggs a day and can only sell so many.

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Oh yeah, Turkey hoards them all and I have to fight her for them daily.

15 a day sounds awesome! I'm on a mostly egg diet lately because they're pure rocket fuel, so that many a day would make enough for me AND leave some for the fam. They don't eat em as much as me though, they're not as hooked on em.

If we get 14 hens, I figure we'd be able to sell a dozen or two a week. If we got $5 a pop, that'd pay for a whole lot of the feed. I'm gonna be switching to something that's organic, no soy, and no corn. It gets expensive when you get into the healthy stuff, so I'm really focusing a lot on ranging them more.

Still learning the balance :)

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I would love to go organic with their feed too, but aside from the cost, the organic stuff our feed store carries tends to go rancid pretty quickly. Then it becomes expensive and useless! We give them non GMO scratch grains though, which they love.

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We found our 18 hens, properly culled, will pay for themselves, as we sell the eggs for $5.00/doz. organic. It normally costs under that feeding organic feed to raise them. This includes everything, down to treats even. Plus we have more eggs than we need.

Be aware that raising hens without culling might not give you these numbers, and once they have molted, at (hopefully) 18 months, you will only get 60% of the eggs they sent out earlier.

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Ooh, I didn't know that about the molting! That's good information to have. How often are you adding to your flock and culling?

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We raise 90 new day old chicks hatched as close to May 1 as possible. They are culled at 18 weeks, just before Labor Day and the lucky ones are banded. The rest go to freezer camp.

The old flock, from the previous May 1 hatch may go to freezer camp then also, unless they are laying really well. Then they get a reprieve until the new flock starts to lay, sometime between early September and early November.

So each flock is all the same age. We tried holding them over 2 years but it was not financially feasible. Keeping accurate records made this more than obvious...

Man, I'm grateful my wife does not need any persuading or subversive action! OTHO, fending all the constant requests to "let's get some ducks! and some hens! and at least a few goats!" is getting tedious... :D

I'd really love a more general photo of the chicken amenities - what I've seen this far does not seem haphazard? Do you have a plan how are you going to move them from the food forest to their pen? A mesh tunnel? Having said that I just realized I have no idea of the overall layout of your place so that might be a redundant question.

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Aw man, the chicken run picture didn't upload. Here's their current setup with the coop and run. It looks a bit haphazard. It also shows the full swale :)

I'll just add a better door to the coop that I'll be able to open for them, as the coop butts up to the area where I'm planting. I'll make a short fence with salvaged bamboo panels to keep them over there and off the back porch. Melissa doesn't like chicken poop on the porch for some reason.

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So that whole area is their run? Wow, so much grass, don't they destroy it in no time? And you've placed a lounging chair in the chicken run??

As for the subverting, I don't need any, but we still don't live there, so animals are not possible atm.

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No, the stricture at the top is the whole coop and run. The photo was taken from inside the area that's becoming the food forest.

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You're the one that needs subversive action then ;) quack quack quack

@bghandmade, keep up the good work. You'll break him one day. You need ducks! Quack quack quack quack quack!

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