Tag Archives: layers

Time Management Lesson

Too many times I engage in projects which end up as time wasted. Case in point this 12×12 chicken tractor. After spending time and money on it, I’m now faced with more time wasted disassembling it. I have no intention of raising layers on pasture again and it’s too awkward to move very far and a waste of space to store it. The high quality tarp from Troyer Tarp will be stored, however, since it is a $100 item. I’m learning, albeit slowly and with the wisdom my children bestow upon me, to utilize my time more wisely.

Cheers!

tauna

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Yom Kippur

Thankfully, I’ve accomplished quite a lot despite being inside most of the days.  I did mess up by mowing a small bit of tall lawn after my recip cows had grazed a spot about as short as they were going to.  Yeah, i was pretty shut down the next day.  My bad.

I had posted on facebook about building what The Seed Guy calls a lasagne bed.  By that he means to layer brown and green compostable stuff to build soil for next spring’s garden.  I scrounged around for a couple of 16 ft boards and cut a couple of 2 ft boards and lag screwed the four pieces into a long box.  Yes, i know that a 4 by 16 foot bed would be more efficient, but as you can see from my photo, i can only reasonable access two feet because of its proximaty to the propane tank.  Plus, this is plenty big for me; i don’t particularly like to garden and i’m not good at it at all.  But, I like a particular variety of heirloom tomato and my Asian long pole green beans.  I might throw in a few lettuce and spinach seeds early in the season.

16 ft x 2 ft raised bed.  Will start layer with cardboard, then add green grass clippings, then maybe hay or food scraps, then top with a sprinkling of soil and wet it down.
16 ft x 2 ft raised bed. Will start layer with cardboard, then add green grass clippings, then maybe hay or food scraps, then top with a sprinkling of soil and wet it down.

Also, managed to defrost and clean out the freezer amongst a host of other tasks.

Vacuumed out first.
Vacuumed out first.
Frozen food stacked outside while the freezer defrosts.
Frozen food stacked outside while the freezer defrosts.
I like to scoop out the ice before it melts. Much easier to pack out ice, than mop up water.
I like to scoop out the ice before it melts. Much easier to pack out ice, than mop up water.

Yom Kippur!

Starts at sundown and goes until tomorrow at sundown.  A shabbat.

What is the prophetic meaning of Yom Kippur?

Grass Eating Chooks – Replication 3 – 3 days

Final three days of testing for chooks verifies eating/trampling about 3/4s of a pound of grass per chicken per day.  We’ve had about 7 inches of rain, however, on the last 6 days of testing and they really had scratched out some mud holes.  In weather like this, they really need moving more often to avoid bare spots.  Open soil not protected by forage will invariably be eroded by weather.

Mud holes scratched out by only 14 chooks in three days.
Mud holes scratched out by only 14 chooks in three days.

Egg production has stayed at 7 eggs per day.  After this trial, their grain offering will increase up to whatever they’ll clean up in a day – probably close to 3-4 lbs per day for the lot of 14 hens.

They are over two years old, so that may have something to do with decreased production as well as the constant rain and no sunshine will also cause stress.  That has certainly caused stress to all of our livestock and people as well.  However, our hearts go out to those who are flooded beyond imagination.

Next project is to build a 7 ft by 16 foot low profile chicken tractor with little wheels light enough to be pulled by hand.  Hopefully, this will take out the chore of moving all that electric netting!

Cheers!

tauna

Chooks Eating Grass – Replication 2 – 3 days

Next 3 day replication started morning of 5 Jun 2015 with Dallas moving poultry netting to fresh pasture before letting the chooks out of their tiny eggmobile.  Day 1 egg collection – 7 eggs.  Day 2 egg collections:  7 eggs. Day 3 egg collections: 7 eggs.  We’ve continued with one pound of the wheat screenings cleanout, but that is really not enough for them since they are eating it all and still seem like they want more.  However, for the next replication, we will continue with one pound and increase it after the grazing trial.

More and better quality in this paddock with up to 65% red clover and a good deal of plantains, although both are more mature than what chickens usually desire, they'll still hammer it pretty good.
More and better quality in this paddock with up to 65% red clover and a good deal of plantains, although both are more mature than what chickens usually desire, they’ll still hammer it pretty good.
Lovely thick forage in same sized paddock of .39 of an acre.  Estimating 300 lbs of forage per inch with 6 inches available for 1800 lbs times .39 for 702 lbs in the paddock.
Lovely thick forage in same sized paddock of .039 of an acre. Estimating 300 lbs of forage per inch with 8 inches available for 2400 lbs/acre times .039 for 93.6 lbs in the paddock.

We  have discovered that this size paddock with this much forage results in far too much trampling of quality forage and not enough eating.  Now that we are getting an idea of how much chooks eat in a day, we can determine how many chooks can be managed in smaller, more easily handled housing.  A full length 164 foot poultry netting fence is too much work for only 14 hens eating .75 lb of grass per day.  In other words, to be more cost effective, the 41′ by 41′ enclosure allowed with a poultry netting should allow about 41 hens, of course depending on forage quantity and quality.  This would include realising that the taller forages would be unavailable for chooks to eat.

We realise that, by the book, chooks typically eat only 4 ounces of feed per day.  However, i think that is a purely grain diet which would be more dense than grass, legumes, and forbes.  Probably, most of what is being utilised, however, is actually scratching and trampling.  Nevertheless, this needs to be considered to keep a healthy sward.