Flat on the back. Absolutely heart attack. If I see it happen or rigor hasn't set in it's absolutely dog/cat/pig food. I've never eaten one but mostly because chicken isn't hard to come by with the numbers I've raised. I've harvested injured birds and eaten the breast and given the rest to pigs, those that don't bleed well in that case, the meat can be soaked to work out the blood. And I swear offal from processing and losses in the field is what makes our compost so good
Mycoplasma hyosynoviae from the Pigsite link above is quite common in the environment. Many pigs are resistant. If treated with antibiotics quickly those pigs will finish just fine. If not, it will kill around 20% of those infected. All of our growers that we buy locally don't get it. Litters we have gotten two years in a row from out of state have been affected after we received them. Its too bad because they are such nice looking pigs, but the vet bill and cost of antibiotics the last two years really cuts into profitability.
This is Michael from Polyface Farm in Virginia. He is an Anatolian/Akbash cross. We have one of his brothers here in Rhode Island. Shepard. I've also met Michael and can say they both have much lighter coats than Pyrenees, which is what all of our other dogs are. We really don't have to brush Shepard out in the spring like we do the other dogs. We still do because he seems to enjoy it. Also he personally eats quite a bit less than the other dogs, but this may just be him. Shepard kind of loses it over thunderstorms and I know Michael will spend the whole night during a storm running around and barking. Shepard seems more scared by them, and Michael, challenging of the big noises. This all may just be individual to the dog though and not a trait of the cross.
I think growers should always have access to feed. Any bulk feeder you can come by. Something you can pretty easily keep track of their feed intake. As soon as you notice an increase in feed consumption(checking daily), it's time to move. They have eaten all the good stuff.(this will change as they grow) And generally haven't rooted too much yet. The only time this doesn't make sense is if you've made the paddocks too big and they are spending more than 3 weeks in one paddock. You want to try and stay ahead of most common parasite life cycles which is about 3 weeks. When its time to move, open the gate that you have already installed between the two adjoining paddocks and move the feeder, water, and shelter (if they have any). If they don't follow, leave the gate open and check on them later. They will most likely have moved. 10 pigs eat a lot. Even on pasture. They will grow slower and on less feed if you ration them, but it is something to consider.
As for fence. Double strand at pig height (nose and knee?) is the way to go. Galvanized steel is cheap, easy enough to bend by hand if you have to make a repair on the fly, and carries a good spark. Here's a list of links for products we use. Some you can probably find locally. I think the energizer is a must. They are simple and durable. If you go with a solar and battery set up it can be in the field up to 4 weeks without having to charge the battery. It also comes with an A/C plug.
Solar posts insulators energizer insulators tester gates
Other things to consider.
10 Hogs will lead to a pretty large processing bill unless you are doing them yourself. Keep that in mind.
If you are running this as a business, consider the difference in labor and even infrastructure of managing 30 egg layers as opposed to 100 or even more. Not too different. Your'e already there feeding them and collecting eggs. Whats a few more minutes?
In my opinion, it's not good that you have already had to back down from one of the dogs, but it sounds like you did it in the best way you could. That being said, being safe is very important, and I don't think this will be a long term problem. We have 5 LGDs. Mostly Great Pyrenees and a few crosses. All new workers on the farm are told not to approach the dogs without someone else who can confirm that they themselves are comfortable with that particular dog. (Each dog is contained with different groups of poultry and not free ranging on the farm) When we introduce new people to the dogs we always have those people feed them, which we do twice a day,(The people with the food are the good guys) and always have and experienced person with them. <~ read that as "respected dominant human". We never hit the dogs but all bad behavior (ie. growling/barking at farm employees, chasing chickens, eating chickens dead or alive) is met with a stern "No! Bad dog!" and we approach the dog and make them lay down. The people receive training as well. They are reminded that how you feel and act around animals affects them greatly. We tell them to stay calm and remain aware of the dogs at first but essentially just carry on with chores. If the dog approaches them we remind them to greet the dog (They all know there names) and allow themselves to be sniffed and even pet the dogs briefly to make a positive interaction. I feel this all works well within just a few days, depending on how often the person and the individual dog see each other. (We have a lot of part time help so this can take a few weeks) Remember that every dog is different. I personally had to have a few standoffs with our largest male when I first started the job. It was a little nerve racking but we worked it out. I made him lay down every time I fed him for quite a while. I wasn't comfortable reaching down to place his bowl on the ground if he was standing next to me.(Food guy = Good guy) Mostly our standoffs were a result of me having to correct bad behavior. Things like him guarding a single egg and chasing chickens. Another example is with our female. For a short while even after introduction, I tell new employees to try not to walk between her and myself while we are in the enclosure. I'm not sure whether she tries to protect me or just sees the opportunity to act up without me near by. But these are just examples of learning about individual dogs.
For yourself I recommend this.
Voice your concerns and don't let anyone brush them off as you over reacting.
Have the owner/dominant human with you at least once a day for feeding in order to correct bad behavior towards you.
You feed each dog.
Talk to each dog positively. Use their names. Do make eye contact.
Let them check you out/sniff you each day. Maybe give a quick pet on the head and then carry on with your work.
In a short while be ready to correct bad behavior, even towards you. They should react appropriately.
I hope this helps. If I think of anything else I will edit. Good luck. Don't get eaten
First, brooder problems happen. Determining the problem and fixing it is important to success. The Cornish are essentially race cars, fill them with what ever gas, park them on the lawn and don't change the oil and they will fail. Plain as that.
Second, they don't have many feathers to begin with. If your birds are gashing each other I would recommend increasing feeder space. 4" per bird. They're little fatties and they need some space.
As for feeding scarred birds to the dogs, I say Why!?! I'm sure you've put a lot of time and effort, not to mention money into those birds. That's some expensive $$ dog food! Learn how to bone out a chicken, and do that when you process. A scarred back doesn't look nice, but those breasts, (boneless, skinless or bone in) are still good. Not to mention wings, legs and thighs, necks, backs, and giblets for making stock! Then feed the rest to the dogs.
If you've got a dog that goes after chickens, you have a dog that goes after chickens...not a guard dog. Electric fence helps. Harsh maybe... but my dog knows it and stays away. That being said, the presence of any dog deters predators.
Grind up the carcasses and feed a raw chicken mush. This really isn't necessary, but my dog for example is far less inclined to bury the mush in my garden for a later snack, than she is to bury a carcass. The only concern I'd say is if you've never fed raw food before it may cause an upset stomach. Just feed sparingly I guess. Also, the raw bones are safe. Cooked, not so much unless you cook them till soft in which case I'd make sure the dog gets the broth too. Don't want to waste all the good nutrients. I've seen the ground carcasses baked into chicken cookies for dogs too.
If you take your birds to a USDA plant rather than processing them yourself, the inspector will make the call on weather its good to eat. You may get some birds back with one wing, no wings, legs missing, whatever. The rest is good. I assure you.
I have spent the last 5 years involved with and currently in charge of raising, processing, packaging, marketing, and selling anywhere between 9,000 and 14,000 broilers, with live stock guarding dogs fed solely a raw diet of mostly chicken(parts, organs, carcasses, and ground).
To sum it up, process and save what you can, feed the scraps to the dog. I realize I'm a bit late on this post. I work a lot and don't get on here much. :-/ I hope this helps.
Its not the cheapest option but we use nipple waterers. The ducks figure it out just fine. They still make a wet spot but not nearly as much. This guarantees fresh clean water to help prevent disease. And we occasionally give them a pool so they can clean their nasal passages and the rest of them selves.
Dipping their legs in some oil (veg, olive, canola,etc.) Will suffocate the mites. You may have to do it a few times to clear it up. Mites unfortunately will continue to live on and wood and bedding in the coop, so I would try the above suggestion, or maybe try some oil in a pressure sprayer to give everything a good coat.
I've done it before. I used to work next to a GNC and we shared a dumpster with them. When their products "expire" they just throw them out. I took home about a quarter of a pallet of stuff, including chocolate protein bars and such. I also had waste milk and whey from a cow at the time so I would mix a whole tub with that. I also did it with water. I don't know if it was necessary, but I thought that if it was me, I'd have a tough time trying to choke down a half a pound of powdered whey protein. The stuff is high in protein so they seem to convert it pretty well. They didn't get fat. They just kept growing. The stuff I got clearly said on the back that it was made with GMO soy. I didn't worry about it because at the time I was buying feed from the local feed store which most certainly was not GMO free. I did manage to finish and fatten them for two months on pasture and organic feed stuffs from the garden. I don't know if that undid the GMO feeding for sure, but it made me feel batter either way.
We have Belted Galloways here in Kentucky. They do great in the winter and good in the summer. I think they have a little too much black on them for the summers here. They are great foragers. Galloways over all tend to have great mild temperaments, especially for those new to cattle. They are also a few hundred pounds smaller than say a standard Angus, so they are a little less intimidating. They would be great for year round grazing in Mississippi if you found some light colored ones. They can be white, red, and dun colored.
Premier 1 is good money spent. I'd recommend at least 3 lengths of it to make paddock shifting easier 4 is even better. And then a Speedrite 1000 fence charger by Tru-test. It can be used with a deep cycle battery, so you can keep it charged over night without concern about the barn electric.
Locating your gates in the corners will make herding pigs easier. Most times they will follow you to the next paddock, especially if you have food, but not always and there are sometimes stragglers. Those stragglers are always the fastest and most wily too. Or so it seems.
Seeing as the chicken house is movable, I think the pig house should be too (huts on skids). Its more tractor work, but it eliminates the idea of a "sacrifice area" (the high traffic area near the center of your wagon wheel design). This does a few things.
Each time the house gets moved back into a paddock its placed in a different area, so the area of high impact is moved allowing the previous spots more time to recover. This leads to a more productive paddock seeing as most "sacrifice areas" end up being significantly less productive than the rest of the paddock.
Secondly, "Sacrifice areas" tend to take more labor and inputs to avoid problems for parasites and disease. Avoiding them helps with the problem.
Also, no need wait to move chickens behind pigs. Unless the pigs took it all down to dirt which they shouldn't have.
All of these suggestions have other things to consider, ( ie; time for management, money for inputs) so make a design and management plan that works best for you.
I just realized that with this design, moving the gates for the pigs really isn't necessary, seeing as you would already have a funnel at the center to move pigs though. That being said I don't favor of the central house design, so I would move the gates for easier management.
They will freeze in the winter, but by then even if you have stock piled forage your paddocks will have to be bigger so leaving cows access to your ponds will be easier.
Other options would be a solar trickle pump of some type from a pond to a cistern/tank on the highest spot on your land. You could let gravity take over from there into 3/4" poly pipe to a stock tank with a float valve. Very easily moved with hose hook ups along the poly pipe. Depending on the size of the cistern it should keep up with regular demand. Have a back up (like the tank truck) in case the system fails. Doing mob grazing you would be out there often to check on things anyway so the risk of catastrophe is lessened.
Does it taste good? If so, eat it. If its pasture raised, you know it's better for you so what is there to worry about. That being said, if you're really concerned, castration isn't nearly as difficult as it may seem.
Shade, Air circulation, and breeding/culling for heat tolerance(light color,large slightly lopped ears). For a smaller rabbit herd you could provide frozen water bottles in the cages on hot days. We have also used irrigation misters under the cages to create a cooler micro climate around the cages. These misters pointed down and watered the vermi-composting beds under the rabbits. We grew comfortable rabbits and lots of worms.
Rock Phosphate or Colloidal Phosphate for phosphate.
Limestone rock dust to balance ph.
Not always easy to find, but worth it. Try local stone quarries. Slow release of nutrients and cant "burn" plants. Probably wont need reapplication for quite a few years.
I would go with a liming first and retest soil next year. Balancing the ph will allow the plants to grow better and microorganisms to thrive, which is likely to contribute to changes in the other important nutrients. Your local extension service should be able to recommend an application rate based on the results of your test. It might even say somewhere on your results.
I don't know much about Bindweed, except that I'm pretty sure cows will eat it. I know Bittersweet is mostly a hands on problem. And the NRCS Organic method for Honeysuckle is cutting and spraying of high percentage vinegar. Both can also be managed with mob stocking of goats. As for other weeds that are problematic but not necessarily invasive, like Blackberry, it could be a matter of ph. Soil testing will likely reveal an acidic soil where there are thickets of Blackberries. Liming can make a big difference. Balancing ph helps to release nutrients that are present but cant be used by desired species(grasses).
The important thing really is that they are still growing and don't look sunken or thin. Back in the day, they say pigs were set loose and fed a bit of corn each week or so just so keep them around when it came time to fatten in the fall. They don't grow as fast as they would on full feed but they still grow.
There are a few things to consider here. I have found, to spread out your costs its good to feed them smaller amounts twice a day. I have read what ever they will clean up in 20-30 minutes each feeding will keep them growing well. Keep in mind they will suck down a mash, or your "pig cereal", a lot faster than it take them to chew up pelleted feed or whole corn. Another thing that happens with this is just what you said they eat and then nap. We are omnivores just like pigs. Imagine what happens if we eat twice a day and then nap after, as opposed to eating small meals through out the day. We would get large fast. I'm not sure this could be called whats know as compensatory gain, but its a similar idea. Your pigs should be excited to see you at feeding but not overly excited.
Its important to consider protein content of what ever you feed them. That's what keeps them growing. A store bought complete pig ration will range from 16% to 20% protein. This winter I successfully kept a few pigs growing on 50% oats and 50% corn as well as scraps. This gave me about 16% protein and saved me about $5 per 100 lbs, compared to a complete feed. Not much but its something. I will point out that I intended these to be breeders, so I didn't want them to get fat young anyway. Scraps and such are great for vitamins and minerals, and I like using "waste" to make bacon!
Keeping breeders can get expensive. I would consider finding feed in bulk if possible, by the ton. It will save you at least a couple of hundred dollars a year. That being said selling registered piglets, as breeders, can be very profitable.
Lastly get your pigs in the woods ASAP. I don't know what you have for a forest, but regardless, it will reduce your feed costs some. I would recommend dividing it into smaller paddocks, 1/2 or even 1/4 acre. This will allow each paddock plenty of time to regenerate and eventually increase the carrying capacity of the land.
I hope this and my other post on your other thread help some.
Finishing on pasture or in the woods give a great quality meat. The forage available also converts the fats to good healthful fats for you. We finish on feed and forest forage. Occasionally on corn and forest. Some breeds fatten differently than others, (usually a difference in percent body fat) but often its just a matter of how fat you want your pig to be. We try to finish at 350 lbs. Usually 7-8 months. This usually gives a hanging weight of 250-275 lbs. Stopping feed for weeks will starve the pig and it will lose weight fast. The processor might appreciate it if you cut feed the day before killing, but this just helps keep the processing cleaner as the pig will likely have less manure in its guts. I just read the book Tree Crops the other day and it said that pigs finished on nuts alone, (which can be done) will have fat that doesn't congeal. This means the lard will not solidify and changes the bacon curing process. I thought that was interesting. I say put the pig on full feed in the forest and send it when its a good size.
I'd accept losses and cull hard. Buying from outside the flock always carries some risk. As far as breeding within the flock. Line breeding can work but it can get pretty complicated. Also keep in mind that line breeding is still inbreeding although generally not as close as parent offspring breeding. With a little bit of leg work and probably banding some birds you could try cyclic breeding. It seems a little confusing at first but it's actually simple and ensures genetic diversity within a closed group. Choose your best animals, divide them in to four groups and only breed in a circle while selecting for desired traits. In your case things like feed conversion, foraging ability, number of eggs, egg size and uniformity. The selecting and culling of animals is the hard part.
Walter covered it well. Moving them is important. Spending time on the initial set up will make management easier.
Some tricks we use to make moving pigs easier.
~Use a bulk feeder of some kind. anything that will hold say 100 lbs of feed of more that will keep it dry and allow the pigs to get to it. This does a couple of things. It keeps them well fed and gaining weight. It keeps them happy and inside the electric fence. And it can be used as an indicator of when its time to move them. When moved to a fresh paddock and the feeder is full, we have found that the pigs will hardly touch the feed. They find too many other good things to forage. We check the feed regularly, and when they start eating it down quickly we know that they have used up most of the good forage in that paddock, so we plan to move them just as they run out of feed. It gives them good motivation to follow you to the next paddock. And for me this is a sure fire way to avoid overgrazing and negative impact. When the pigs are little they could stay in an paddock as long as two weeks maybe more. But you should move them at least every three weeks to break up the parasite and pathogen cycle, in order to have healthy naturally raised pigs. Once they reach a couple hundred pounds they will likely need to move once, or even twice a week, But by this age they should be following you around like dogs. Easy. On the off chance they don't want to move, just moved the feed and water to the next paddock and leave the gate between paddocks open. They will make it there eventually, and you can just close the gate behind them.
~Gates. We have found pigs move easier through some sort of "permanent" gate. Not even a gate really just physical barrier that they can see you have moved. We used electric line once for out gates and we found the pigs were hesitant to walk through the opening. I once saw a pig limbo and crouch under an electric fence that wasn't there. It was funny but troublesome. You only need three that you can move from one paddock to the next. Two could work but as you take up the back one the pigs might get excited and think they are moving that direction rather to the next fresh paddock.
~High impact areas. The highest impact areas will be where you place the feed, the water, shade areas, and any wallows they make. You will eventually come back to the first paddock you started in, and it will have grown back wonderfully. Just try to make note of where the water and feed was last time the pigs where in that paddock and place them somewhere else. You will likely still see where they were last time, but by the third time around, if you get to it, you probably wont even be able to tell. The same goes for shade, if you provide a movable shade structure. If you don't, the next season you can move all of your paddocks to the next 1/4 acre and those areas will regenerate in time.
~ Training. Train them to electric fence in a closed barn or corral. This makes for less time chasing piglets that don't want to cross an electric fence again. It can take up to two weeks for them to really get it.
~Breed. Really a matter of opinion, but we find flop eared pigs easier to manage than prick eared pigs. They can't rely on their sight as much with their ears in the way, so they tend to move a bit slower and really train well to electric fence.
I hope this wasn't too confusing. I'm not so sure I explain things well in writing. Mostly I hope this helps ease your mind about moving your pigs. It really can be simple and enjoyable, and absolutely nothing beats raising your own pastured pork
Where to start in the simplest explanation is as close to the house as you can, no matter what kind of agriculture you do. Become efficient at managing a quarter acre, then a half, and so on. In the mean time I would find someone to responsibly graze animals on the rest. Grazing will add to the soil, haying just keeps taking. With that, take everyone's suggestions and read, read, read. Then prioritize, put it on paper, and do it. Good luck.
I'd say forsythia as well. You should see and possibly remember seeing the whole plant covered in very bright yellow blooms the the early spring. It's quite a show when there are a lot of them planted together.
It happens sometimes. I think the most important thing is to make sure the legs are pulled back before the kill is made. Sometimes smaller birds will get a leg or both forward and that gives them the leverage to kick out. The size of the cone and angle of the sides can make quite a difference, as well as the opening on the bottom. The bungee cord may help you , but I would spend more time fiddling with the shape and size of the cone. I'd say there is probably no perfect design but making the killing process as quick as possible makes the whole of processing chickens more enjoyable. Adding a step of securing the bird would slow things down a bit. We have purchased some real bad factory made cones so I wouldn't necessarily count on that being the best design. I hope you figure something out. Like you said about your last batch, sometime they're just a little more wily! I realize I didn't offer much help but it's another opinion at least.
Adam Klaus wrote:yes this is defnitely possible. for all the details, Joel Salatin discusses it thoroughly in Pastured Poultry Profits.
The basic idea is that you have a henhouse with sawdust floor for the chickens to live in. Then you hang wire bottomed cages 4 feet off the ground for the rabbits. rabbit poop drops down into the sawdust, where the chickens incorporate in into the compost bedding. I have done it. It works very well. Please dont try to have the chickens in wire cages though. Chickens need to be able to scratch about on the floor, that is their instinct.
This is about the most space and time efficient system for meat and eggs I can imagine. Good Luck!
Salatin's system for rabbits and egg layers does work really well. I've seen it in person. The only concern with it is the problem of mites. Chickens can have mites , (usually indicated by scaly legs) with little problems in regards to egg production. These same mites get into rabbits ears. For the rabbits it is a problem causing undo stress which will reflect in things like smaller litters and lower finishing weights. The best solution I've seen to keep your chickens with your rabbits is to be sure to use metal posts to support your rabbit cages. Mites tend to live and travel between hosts much more easily on wood, so avoiding it will help combat that problem. If mites do become a problem with the rabbits, putting worms under the rabbits and raising the chickens somewhere else is still a good option giving you rabbits, worms, and excellent compost all from the same area.
Hey there, just set up an account and I managed to mess up my log in name.(Duh!) My display name is fine, but for my own sanity I would like to change my log in name so I don't have to remember that I misspelled name each time I want to log in. If some one could help me out or direct me to a moderator I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!