So sorry, Ranate.
I apologize for offending or sounding like I was trying to be discouraging to you.
It wasn't meant to be negative - as I also enjoy and have done this, as I said.
I actually used to host fruit seminars on my farm with experts coming in a sharing teaching, so I'm not without experience.
Just trying to give a heads-up to people who may think that they will be able to propagate an entire fruit orchard by collecting seeds from the store.
It was from experience of my own - I am a huge experimenter and like to learn from my mistakes and share what I've learned with others.
This is a fun project. I've grown lots of things from seed. It's just nice to be able to see something growing in your window, even in winter.
Just be aware that you will not get the big juicy grocery store type fruits from these seeds.
Most seeds come from highly hybridized stock that does not reproduce true to the fruit from which it came.
You might end up with something fairly decent, you might end up with something inedible.
Mostly likely you will fall somewhere in between.
It's genetics - each seed will carry original DNA and you won't really know for sure what you will get.
Love this idea!
I tried to come up with all sorts of refrigeration ideas at one time - even trying to figure out if I could power one by riding a bike for an hour a day.
This would be a huge thing.
I want someone to do this and then tell me how to make one. LOL
I know that people have hatched eggs that were kept in a fridge temporarily.
The viability DOES GO DOWN with each successive day they are not under the hen.
However, I have no idea what the percentage of viability decline is.
I suspect you wouldn't want to use eggs that had been VERY cold, nor in for longer than two or three days, if you want good success.
There is often up to a week of adding eggs into a nest with broody hens.
She'll go off broody pretty much as soon as her chicks are wandering far, because it's her job to take them out and feed them.
If I had to make the choice, I'd not use eggs that had been chilled more than two days, and I'd not add more eggs to a broody clutch more than 3 to 5 days after the hen began to sit.
You can, of course, try anything, but I always think of the little suffering chicks. LOL
I've had one bad hatch and it was enough for me. Chicks were born alive, but.....
Some of them had innards hanging out and died almost right away, others within days and then weeks.
I had one survivor but she must have been deficient in many ways.
She was a reject from the chicken community, she acted a bit strangely, and when we culled her, we found that she never developed eggs.
Temperature and timing are very important for good hatches.
I"m in Greene County, just a hop, skip, and jump over the mountain from Asheville, NC.
I visited here from CA decades ago and the change in this area in the last 30 years is amazing.
Transplants are coming in by the droves and bringing in new ideas.
I love so many things about this place - the importance of family, the importance of tradition, the value of Christian heritage... but it can be also a little stubborn when it comes to doing ANYthing if Mammaw and Pappaw didn't do it. Mammaws and Pappaws have a lot of influence around here. That's a good thing, really.
You couldn't find anything but fluffy white bread 10 years ago.
Now you can find sourdough and good quality whole wheat.
"Organic" used to be one of those new-fangled ideas - now you can find them in almost every store.
What would be great is if the sticking to heritage went back further than 2 generations, and hearkened back to many generations - and permaculture style ideas.
With more people arriving, the transplants are getting to be almost as populous as the natives, so I am finding more and more like-minded people.
I have many friends interested in learning natural and healthful ways of life here.
One of them is actually an artist and does a bit of traveling back and forth to Asheville.
Another friend is just finishing up a cordwood house.
For myself - I have a bunch of people from church who want to come over and learn as they assist me in building earth ovens and heaters.
Permaculture is a new term for what we've always called self-sustained living.
If you said permaculture to a lot of people, they'd look at you funny.
But say you want to be able to fully support yourself and your family off the land in a way that increases the production rather than laying waste to what you've got, then there are quite a few people here interested.
(LOL - Edited to say, you pretty much know all this already. )
Those are pretty much the two easiest and fastest trees to grow tons of quick starts from cuttings in the spring.
If I were you, I'd simply drive around until I saw one in a field and ask the owner if you can take some cuttings.
People have always been very kind to me when I let them know what a freak (I mean avid gardener) I am and that I'd love to have some starts.
Or put an ad on craigslist or freecycle for the same thing.
Take 50 willow whips, strip the leaves except at the very tip of 3 or 4 foot sections and put them in a bucket of water along with the same number of fresh and prepared poplar whips.
Lots of different kinds of poplar, so be sure you get the kind you want.
Willow actually releases a growth hormone into the the water that will help other plants to grow roots more quickly as well - God's rooting hormone.
If you are in Kentucky, this is the perfect timing to gain a harvesting location.
Bud swelling should be right around the corner, the best time for those hormones to be ready to go.
Andrew - that worked for me when nothing else would either. Cool you thought of the same idea.
I had a lot of cover in my chicken yard, shrubs and bushes - the pair of hawks still got them. I usually lost 2 a day.
The more docile breeds tended to go first, and the roosters went right along with the hens.
One rooster fought pretty hard, lost almost all his feathers, along a 100 foot struggle path, but his skin turned blue-green and he was dead in a few days.
I had a very large chicken yard off my hen house, a 4 sided, but no two sides the same length - a bit cattywhampus, enclosure.
The longest side was perhaps 70 feet.
It was far too big to cover with purchased netting.
In desperation, my son and I went out one day and began criss-crossing the top of the pen with fishing line.
I think we went horizontal, vertical, and two diagonals in opposite directions.
I think we made sure there was no opening greater than 8 or 9 inches.
The sunlight glints off the line. It worked for a couple of days, then the hawks tried it anyhow.
The feathers told the tale....
A hawk did indeed come through and you could see the usual clump of feathers on the ground where the snatch took place.
From there, you could see plainly where the hawk had slammed against about 9 places all over that yard trying to escape with his prey, leaving feathers and chicken bits in each location.
He did get out, with the chicken... but he never came back. LOL
We had to restring every couple of years, as the line deteriorated, but it was the only solution I found for when hawks set up residence.
I've never had any chicken not know how to forage, unless you are talking about flying into trees and having a larger range of... ranging.
The closer you get to a wild game bird, the less you are going to be able to keep track of them and find the eggs.
I've raised all sorts of domesticated chicken breeds and, locking grown birds up at night, after making sure they know where home is, and letting them roam all around the farm all day, I never had to feed them anything. Only during times of predator load (and being locked up), growth, or winter did I supplement them.
Always keep cracked corn around as a lure, training tool, and supplement.
If you aim for 12 - 15 hens per rooster, your flock will be a much happier place.
Yes, an occasional egg might not be fertile, but the only time that would be an issue is one egg in a clutch might not hatch.
Just throw it faaaaaaar away into the woods.
I like to recommend the Buff Orpingtons to people who want nice, pretty hens in their yard. Great all-around bird!
But they are so docile that they will get picked off sooner.
Rhode Island Reds, and others are very similar but a smidge more opinionated and they will last longer in places away from people.
Am I understanding correctly that you only have a little space and you want your chickens to eat mostly from foraging?
If you will only have a small, yard-sized food forest, I wouldn't get more than a couple of birds, unless you want to add food.
Most people don't realize that most of CA was always rural - and I did grow up on farms and ranches both there and, since moving out here, as far out into the country as I can get.
I could be very happy on a million acres in the middle of nowhere, but I would fill my home with guests as often as I could. LOL
My goal was always self-sufficiency, as far back as I can remember.
A good work ethic is also my heritage.
Working smarter and more efficiently with thoughtful beginnings and low maintenance is my rule of common sense.
I also always knew that leaving things better than you got them was part of being an honorable person.
All of these things lead to natural living and permaculture fairly easily.
Growing up we raised almost all our own food; meat, dairy, eggs, produce, also raising as much feed for the animals as possible.
I've spent many a time moving irrigation pipe on my shoulders across the alfalfa fields, and listening to the amazing sounds at night of the crickets and the distant "chink-a-chink, chink-a-chink" of the irrigation sprinklers in the acreage down by the river. And we bought up old equipment, spent hours prepping and painting, then had gleaming colors of rakes and balers as we cut, raked, and baled our own hay for the year.
My parents paid cash for everything, so we lived frugally, but when you invest in your land, it will always pay you back.
I am grateful to have come into a time when I am the beneficiary of renewed knowledge; the power of the natural healing plants God gave us; research explaining why older ways of feeding ourselves worked, such as kefir, komboucha, and other fermented foods upon which our modern society had turned it's collective nose for a long time; learning that just because it is modern, doesn't mean it's better. My first child was born in a typical manner, by the time I got to my fourth, I had a home birth.
So my goal has remained self-sufficiency in material needs and I was blessed, for a time, with several acres with which to pursue this. Gardening in the west transferred to learning how to garden all over again out here in TN. LOL Lot's different. Organic in the west is soooooo easy compared to here.
I'm always trying to think of better and more efficient ways to get things done.
I've helped my dad build houses and barns and greenhouses and such throughout childhood. We dismantled army barracks in the blistering CA sun for reclaiming the materials and used them all over the ranch, from everything fencing to a greenhouse made of army windows. I've roofed, dug ditches, operated a caterpillar and a backhoe, cleared the ranch of rattlesnakes every Saturday morning, and rode my best horse bareback til the sun went down, or sang on a tire swing under an oak tree eating the strawberries I picked from the hillside as the tire went back and forth. All kids ought to grow up in the country!
As an adult I bought an old trailer and renovated it down through the joists and studs, including plumbing and some electrical. I built a studio for my arts projects. Decks for my home and pool. And sheds from scrap - if it's cheap, it's good.
Been wanting to learn alternative building for a long time. Being put in a position of having to start over makes you resourceful and I began looking for frugal ways to have a home, but ended up getting started with that small mobile home fixer-upper. Now I have had to start over again and I love cob, cordwood, straw bale, rammed earth, etc. techniques. I am in the middle of moving this month and I can't wait to get started learning how to make earthen projects. I'm especially looking forward to trying some plasters, such as tadelakt. I have some great ideas I want to try.
Kind of a jumbled response, sorry. I keep thinking of something else I've done. I should have just made it a simple list, rather than a series of paragraphs that developed.
On my little farm, I hosted small fruit seminars with the acre of small fruits I put in. My fruit trees were not large enough yet to do large fruit seminars. I had all sorts of plans, but my goals were interrupted. I would rather have a cow, any day of the week, but my little farm did not have enough room unless I crammed it all in and made it messy, not enough pasture. So I went with goats. Not a fan of goat milk, but I loved the cheeses I made every day, as well as the money it brought in.
I am an avid learner. I ask lots of questions of people. I think some of them think I am either stupid or just trying to make conversation, but I believe I can learn from anything and I am always looking to learn and be able to do more things - and then share with others what I know.
I will try stuff that no one else tries, and I will always ask WHY something works. If no one can answer me thoroughly, I try to figure it out by experimentation. So I had 112 grapevines in my vinyard, with 33 varieties to try to succeed. I learned a LOT! I learned more than I wanted to. LOL A beautiful kiwi arbor, bush cherries, berries of all sorts, figs - how I love figs and miss them. I like to plant wide varieties of edibles, have huge herb beds, and am interested in every form of gardening that reduces labor and increases production. Forest farming to French Intensive and everything in between.
sigh.... sorry. I love this stuff. I could talk all night.
I'm not sure a dog would be fooled by a tobasco-filled egg. They smell things, above all else, and would likely know it's not what they want.
You could give it a try.
I also like Nell's idea of training - it might work if you are perfectly consistent with it.
As for the rest who have chicken-killing dogs - I've been through that many times. Growing up on a farm as well as my own.
Tried everything you've ever heard of. None of those worked.
However, one thing finally did work with our last dog, Seth.
See, dogs are very pack oriented and they willingly submit to the leader of the pack.
I learned a very important thing with a dog about 17 years ago.
Yankee was a very strong and dominant dog. He was big, strong, and could be aggressive.
But he knew I was the leader.
I was pregnant with my fourth child and Yankee took good care of me.
Something very unusual took place however, when I introduced my baby to Yankee for the first time.
Probably a day or two later, I took the baby outside and wanted to introduce the baby to Yankee.
I was a little concerned, as I knew Yankee could be aggressive.
As soon as Yankee saw me come out the door holding the baby, he immediately cowered, cried, and rolled over on his back.
Nothing I could do could persuade him to come closer and look up.
I realized he was showing me in the strongest way possible that he knew that baby was mine and he was completely submissive to it.
Yankee, whenever I took the baby outside, made it his first priority to stand guard over him, until the day Yankee died.
He would never leave his post whenever we were outside.
I used that with our dog Seth about 10 years ago.
Seth killed many chickens and we went through everything to try to cure it.
I knew if we couldn't break him of it, Seth was going to have to go, or we'd have to give up on free range chickens.
I ordered in a bunch of chicks and when the weather was warm enough, they went outside in the sunshine, into Seth's territory.
I sat there and cooed over those chicks with such love and expressiveness.
If Seth came near them he got the full venom of my glare and verbal chastisement.
This occurred over several days.
It worked very well. Seth came to realize that these chicks were higher in rank than he was, and he left them alone.
I have a friend who also experienced this, but with older birds.
As a last resort, she ran outside when she saw a dead chicken, cradled it in her arms and rocked back and forth on the porch for 30 minutes, wailing in sorrow.
That dog never killed another chicken.
I've come out in the morning to bloody, mangled messes of dead and dying chickens by the score, on more than one occasion.
Ways I've lost more chickens than I can count...
Hawks - lose a couple of chickens a day that way if a pair decides some woods near your place looks like home. (I've got a cure for this one, though. LOL)
Weasels - you'll know weasels have been in your coop because there is blood everywhere. No chickens, just lots of blood.
Racoons - When you visit your chickens in the morning and find one hanging from the fence, headless. Like it got it's head pulled through, then chopped clean off. Which it likely did.
Neighbors - the puppy drowning kind. Yeah, I've lost lots of birds that way. His birds on my property were fine, mine on his - he shot and threw over the fence into my driveway.
Dogs - people move out from the city and think Fido finally gets to experience life as nature intended. Fido does. He wanders off his own place, goes to yours, and 90% of your chickens are dead - and Fido is bouncing around like drug-fueled lunatic, high on a happy killing spree.
Coyote - Same as dogs, but not as mean. They only hunt to eat. But they come back every time they are hungry.
Bobcat, Bear, Fox, and Mountain Lion - I've been spared these guys so far. They are pretty shy and prefer to keep their distance when possible. I've seen them around, but they've not bothered me.
I've been in places where the losses are not too high. Generally that is the result of the farmer having his own dogs who scare off the predators. Also keeping a wide area around the coop clear of brush and growth. I'd recommend 50 feet, at least, but the more the better. Enough so the dogs can easily see all around from where ever they are.
Towns can have a lot of these same predators. You just have to know what's in your area.
I built a small goat milking shed and feed storage with 6 large pallets, the kind the mower tractors are shipped in.
The parlor was about 6 foot square and the two side walls were 6 foot high, the ends I left open.
Two more pallets were used to created the peaked roof.
Then two more pallets were used to connect to the one side as a lean-to feed storage, which I enclosed with other scrap lumber.
I set it all on blocks to keep it from rotting, and anchored the walls in 6 locations to the ground so wind would not take it away.
I connected all the wall bases with boards so it didn't splay out, then filled it with a few bags of gravel so milking wasn't a muddy chore.
A few built-in shelves, including a short loft for extra storage, a cut open doorway between the two rooms, and a large tarp (which I replaced every 2 or 3 years) was stapled over the roof and remaining sides.
I built a beautiful and sturdy millking stand and it looked very nice, thickly coated in glossy green paint, sitting there being used by happy goats.
I had a very useful shed for many years for only 50 dollars - about 75 square feet, I suppose.
Correct, I've not had the chance to build one yet.
But I do have the book you mentioned.
I've been looking at videos and reading web pages for years.
You'd think after all that, it would be simple for such a seemingly simple tool.
However, it's one of those things that is so different than all we've been used to, that it's hard to get the mind around it and not be overly-concerned about blowing yourself up. LOL
That's why I want to get in some practice ASAP.
I think I've read enough and if I don't get my hands in there, I'm not going to progress much more.
I'd love a local workshop, but this really isn't the area for one to occur, I don't think.
You say the copper tubing wound around the bread oven cob has proven to be dangerous or give unhealthy water?
Or are you referring to something else?
This is just having a copper tube embedded into the final insulating layer of the cob oven and wound downward in a loose spiral. You leave a bit poking out at the top and a little spout sticking out at the bottom. While the oven is hot, you can pour water in the top, and it comes out hot at the bottom.
Wow - so you want to butcher 2000 birds a year and have 50 hens?
It depends on what you are looking for in meat birds, I would think.
I'm guessing you want to sell eggs and sell butchered chickens.
With that many chickens going, I'd set up two different operations.
You really need a hen house for egg production - simple and clean.
And for that many meat birds, you should have a system set up specifically for raising large groups of chicks in about 3 different stages, then out to a big yard.
So you might as well order separate breeds to fulfill the differing needs.
Brown eggs are not better than white eggs, but people think they are, so you can sell them either faster or for more money if you choose a quality brown egg layer.
There are lots of opinions on which chickens are best but honestly, all breeds that are bred to be egg layers produce roughly the same number and size of eggs.
Yes, leghorns will do more, but the breed can be a a little more challenging to deal with. So you might get 6 to 10 more eggs from one hen a year, giving you an extra 2 bucks, but you have to decide if that's worth having that kind of chicken. You'll be clipping more wings, chasing birds a few more hours.
If you want a nice, docile chicken, Orpingtons are great, very little trouble and more like pets, a couple fewer eggs.
All that to say, pick the laying breed temperment you will be happy with. I don't think the small difference in egg numbers is much of a factor.
As for the meat breeds. If you want heavy, unnatural production - if it's all about the production and the money, look into Cornish Rock Cross birds.
They do have problems, however. You will deal with broken and splayed legs, heart problems, etc. about a 30% mortality rate.
It may be worth the hassle to you to get them butchered in less than 2 months - they eat a lot, though.
Tasty because they are young and tender because they are physically unable to become very active.
You can't even give them perches because of the fragile legs they have.
If you want an easier meat bird the Dark Cornish is a good one. Nice broad and deep birds. Pretty good egg layers as well, if you want to use them.
Oh, and I apologize for not recognizing the forum section this was posted in.
I was going for chit-chat, but you were specifically going for business ideas.
We had been talking about actually building a series of tiny homes (we both do construction) and renting them out to people, rather than your idea - which is very cool.
Yes, I agree - having a ready market for your own produce would be terrific!
I've always loved the honor system.
It would also be nice to have a greenhouse that would be a walk-in and pick your own, as well as an outdoor version for summer.
You can actually grow berries right through winter if you keep it warm enough with perhaps a rocket mass heater.
I love that video's common building and can see that you would spend a lot of time there.
Too bad that woman had to pay 80,000 for her build.
I'm afraid she was taken advantage of, and the resale will not be there when she is too old to climb up and down that ladder.
I think a lot of people who like tiny homes like them because of the lack of labor involved in maintaining them.
Many are in it because they don't spend a lot of time at home, but are quite social and active.
I don't know that offering large spaces for each home would be beneficial.
I think tiny yards (low maintenance) with fast-growing evergreen screens between them so privacy is not an issue.
Maybe a mix of both - at variant prices.
Having a tiny home with low labor, having a common area for socializing out-of-doors, and having a ready supply of organic produce and products that they can walk out their door, purchase, and immediately make a meal from would be a really cool bonus that would be a big draw.
Actually, I am currently in the process of moving.
I've discovered that the entire home's grey water drains directly into a pond.
I've got to find a supply of cleaning solutions myself, that are natural and good for the environment!
Any standard chicken breed will do just fine in a zone 6 climate.
Birds do very well in cold, just remember those little cardinals in the snow.
You just need to take care of some winter precautions.
Don't use metal for roosts. Nest boxes would be nice if they were made from wood as well.
Throw some straw or litter down, if you want, but they won't really nest in it much. You'll just feel better knowing you offered.
Make sure you supply them with water than is not frozen.
If you really want to feel good, hang a light bulb down from the ceiling, low.
It will put off heat and increase your lay a bit.
You can seal off any breezes, but make sure it gets ventilated. Chicken houses can produce a lot of sinus-burning fumes.