I have begun an adventure on my property. There are a series of 4 ponds down a south facing slope on our property. They are all in terrible condition after at least 30-40 years of neglect. Side note, I purchased just over a year ago. I'm beginning to video some of the progress and post it to youtube and facebook. Check it out. Be sure leave questions or advise.
I believe the best practice is cleaning up the swale berm in one way or another. Try to break up large clumps on the surface and make at least an area that can act as a seed bed. In our area of Missouri, we have lots of clay. When you dig, or have one done, try to place at least some of the top soil along the top of the berm to help you grow things quickly.
Not all clumps need to be broken up. Your berm does not have to look like a garden bed!!! The clumps will eventually break down with some rain and the area will evolve sediment will wash into the ditch and provide good growing conditions for other grasses and plants.
We see many farms that have similar form to this in Missouri. We would typically call it a Terrace. As noted by S Bengi, there are a lot of similarities.
You may also not see it on all farms but many have drain systems built into the ditches. They bury drain pipe that then moves water away from the property during heavy rain events. So rather than catching and holding the rain, they are used to move water away.
Typically the biggest reason why farmers want the water to go away a symptom of their poor soil management. The soil in most row crop fields does not absorb water very quickly, or at all, thus causing large puddles that kill the crop.
Its all about the feeding schedule. Be very consistent to go out each day around the same time and always have feed with you. Try to feed them in the location that you want them to go or be kept at night. My ducks are to the point now that they will wait at the back fence each evening if i'm past the time i would normally come out. If they see me pass by a window or flip on a light I can hear them begin to quack in anticipation of my arrival. Check out my video i just put out with a brief overview of my ducks and duck house setup.
Welcome to the group. I recommend Cornish Cross for Meat chickens. At this time I really don't believe there is a great cross-over breed that converts feed efficiently and isn't too tough by the time you cook and eat it. We incubate/ hatch chicks each year and have kept a number of roosters for the freezer each batch. I have 6 now that were born in February and they will still only dress out to be 3.5 lbs each if i'm lucky. I feed them twice a day and the free range through out the day. The cornish cross i tractor for 9 to 10 weeks before butchering.
In regards to the wind turbine. I went deep down that rabbit hole and actually bought one about a year and half ago. I was preparing to set it up when i finally ran legitimate numbers and realized that it would never pay for itself. The cost of the turbine is expensive, then a good tower is equally costly. The turbine should be quite high above any structure or surrounding trees to capture prevailing winds or it will be even less efficient and take longer to payback. The other issue with having a turbine to low is turbulent air which causes premature wear on the unit. Then you have to determine which voltage of turbine you want to run. If you stick with 12V you have to pay a ton for heavy gauge wire to transfer the power effectively to your controller setup and battery bank. If you go with a higher voltage unit all the components are more expensive including your inverters, plus you will have to think about setting up your battery bank a bit differently. All in all i love the concept of wind power, but the situation must be just right for it to really make sense.
I don't believe I have anything going on the 27th. I'm just south of Odessa about 15min, so I'll try and make it up. If you all are interested I'll bring my drone up and produce some aerial video/ photos of the homestead and event. I've used for some of my personal videos here at the homestead which are available on YouTube.
KC area folks. Please spread the word!!! I'm working on putting together a bulk purchase of meat chickens for this spring. I know many folks are interested in running some birds for their personal freezer but due to cost and lack of the equipment have avoided doing so. The price per chick drops significantly when buying 100+ birds. I am starting a sign-up list to see how many we need to order (get the bulk price on small quantities)! I will be selling the chicks at cost. I have an entire processing setup available for rent. The whole setup is all portable and fits in any standard truck bed. Kill cones, scalder/burner, plucker machine, stainless steel draining tables for evisceration, and shrinking freezer bags. I rent the entire setup for $50. I know some folks would rather just purchase the bird processed and frozen. I can help with that too, but this offer is for those trying to get started or have limited space to run large numbers of birds. I may even put on a small processing class for any folks interested in that as well. If you or someone you know are interested, shoot me an email or pass it along. MidwestHomesteadSolutions@gmail.com
I have also built a portable tractor similar to the texas prepper one, but lighter weight which I will be posting a video on my Youtube channel soon. It held up great even through some 50+ mph winds this year.
I really want to help folks in the area out and enable them to put their own food on the table. I may even be working out a deal to purchase feed in bulk as well. If it all works out I will pass that savings along as well. Spring will be here before we know it and March / April is a good time to start your meat chicks. If you are interested in the rental and not the chick purchase, that's great as well.
Nice, Chris. You are not too far north of me. I'm located about 10 min south of Odessa. Sounds like you've been busy. Its always seems difficult to prioritize what to do first and how much you want to put off before putting in any main-frame design. If anyone around the area is interested in aerial photos or video let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org I put up another short video of my place the other night. [youtube]https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=video&cd=7&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiKgdWB2e3JAhWFqh4KHa0pAcMQtwIIMTAG&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_FiJMch3e5M&usg=AFQjCNFdZaiNp9OOYLiwsZcymW3zRYDjWQ&bvm=bv.110151844,d.eWE[/youtube]
I had the chance to go down to Nick Ferguson's place for his earthworks course. It was a great time to hang out with some like-minded individuals and Jack from the Survival Podcast, as well. Chris Prater did a class on bee keeping and opened my eyes to some different methods and concepts that I hadn't thought of or just didn't even know.
We've been lucky so far with the mild start to the winter, but keeping all the animals and poultry happy is going to get more difficult soon i'm sure.
Keeping chickens is a commitment. Its great having the fresh eggs, but you really need to do an analysis on why you really want them. If you only want 4 or 5 birds you will adding a significantly more work into your life than you will get in return. You will also have significantly more invested in these few hens than you will recover in eggs. In the winters you will hardly have enough and will be searching for local eggs from other producers. I always recommend automating what you can to limit your trips to the coop. Then when you go out it is either cause you want to, or the one time a day in the evening to check water, feed, and ensure all the chickens have made it in safely. There are tons of options and ways that people keep chickens, and much of that is dependent on their location and ordinances.
I often encourage folks to just find a local chicken owner, see how they do things and just purchase eggs from them.
I would recommend an IR trail camera. If you aren't familiar, they are very popular for deer hunters who want to scout an area prior to hunting it. They are motion activated and can be set on a video mode. I'd pick up a noisy rooster off craigslist for free or next to nothing. Use it as bait for the intruder to catch them on camera. Just a thought... Good luck and happy hunting.
Thanks for your opinion Elle. I like them to find more of their own food as well, however, I would think that the egg yield would suffer from such practices. I'm looking to balance the input of feed and their ability to forage with a steady egg production. The net yield / return in egg sales compensates for consumption of feed. Not all properties have sufficient food available for a large flock of birds.
I have both chickens and ducks. My chickens always have feed available in their coop, but they spend most their day out an about on the property. The ducks have been a different story. I had raised 10 ducks of my own but then purchased 31 more. The 31 have a much different personality than my original 10, (good and bad), but they seem to be chow hounds in comparison to my original birds. I'm not sure how they had been feeding them, but I imagine they gave them a lot of feed. They come running and quacking when i come out in their pen area near the feeders. Thanks for your opinion Guerric. I'll probably give them a bit less feed in the morning just as a snack, and concentrate their food more in the evening. They do get a lot of exercise between my pond and property. Once I cull out some drakes it will help with the feed consumption.
I had bobcat in the back of my mind when i posted yesterday. They can leap over a 4ft fence with ease, especially if it is a mature cat. I'd recommend thinning out the bobcats in the area. Put out an ad seeking local trapper. Any local trapper would be happy to come out and set some traps to catch the bobcats and/or coyotes. I would also try and configure a wire to run near or at the top of the fence so that anything that would jump up and then over might get a shocking reminder. I would hesitate cooping up ducks in a tight space just due to the mess they will make.
I'm looking for advice in regards to feed requirements for full grown egg White Egg Layer ducks. I currently have 41 ducks and feed them about 12 pounds of feed a day. (comes to roughly .30 lbs per bird) also dependent on which one eats the most first. They are free range and have access to my pond which is a roughly 30 yds in diameter. At the current feeding quantity they don't seem to be searching the yard too hard for bugs or additional food. They seem to just wait for feed to come their way. It wasn't much of an issue when I only had 10, but I just acquired the other 31 ducks. They were all born this spring and early in their laying careers. Thanks again for your thoughts.
This does sound like a raptor of some sort, however with such a large prey such as a duck or chicken, they would probably post up somewhere close to consume it vs. taking far to eat. They like to take prey to the top of power poles and other perches that are easy to pen the animal/bird down and tear it.
You didn't state where you were from, if you are close to a body of water, is the property wooded or open. i've had a very large hawk come around the past few weeks and chase around my chickens. My coop is build so that the chickens can go under it when they see flying predators and the run and hide when they see this hawk. My also have a pen that they can go into when scared by flying predators. Tracy, was right stating to look for crawl under spots in fencing.
Trapping them indoors will not solve the problem. Once a predator knows a location/ source of food, they will continue to return so long as they are alive or can get to the chicken/duck.
Talk to some friends who hunt and borrow a trail camera to possibly capture a video of the predator or maybe try some sort of scarecrow and or coyote decoy for flying predators.
Missouri conservation dept. has a good program for ordering seedling trees. I've ordered trees the past 2 years. I directly planted some of the trees but others I put in a temporary home for the first season and will be transplanting them this fall. I was able to water and manage them more closely and I have had a much higher survival rate this season. I'm excited to get the trees transplanted here soon in various locations throughout the property. This year I primarily focused on Persimmon, Pecan and Burr Oak. The black locust trees that i planted have tripled in size just this year. Many of them were 2.5 to 3 ft tall when planted and are currently 7 to 8 ft at this time. Here is the link for ordering trees when the time comes on Nov 1. MDC tree order form
When I have a rooster or bird to cull out. I get up before day break and pull them off roost. There is very little stress or fight at that point. I take them straight to the kill cones and get started. It is also nice to do them early in the morning because their crop will not be so full with food. If the bird has free ranged or is past 15 weeks or more they are often a little tough and the skin seems to be thicker. People are so use to the store chicken that are much more tender and thinner skinned. There is also a big difference when a bird is plucked via a plucker machine vs hand plucked. The plucker tends to clean the skin off as it tumbles and is sprayed with water leaving a cleaner whiter skin. On older tougher birds I often just breast them out and forget many of the other steps, unless you plan to use the carcass for broth or soup. I still personally prefer the cornish cross for the grill or smoker just due to the tenderness.
If you wish to totally free range or semi-free range, sometimes you can get away with a stationary coop because they will roam about throughout the day. I recommend building coops or pens that the birds can go underneath. Chickens and ducks alike are pretty aware of flying predators and will seek shelter. I actually watched a large Red-tail hawk land within 10 yds of my mobile coop. When he was heading towards them they all went underneath and my rooster posted up for a fight. The hawk didn't stay on the ground long, but did come back around for another look. If you go with a bit larger breed of chicken, I believe it helps against them falling prey to hawks or owls. I also believe in having at least one rooster, if possible. I recently posted a video on the following thread: chicken coops/runs/tractors
My portable coop / chicken tractor has held up great through its second year now. It wasn't designed for large scale production but i have added a few new roost bars to accommodate additional chickens that will be added soon. I created an overview video which is posted at
Let me know if you have any questions. I actually just did an update to my automatic door yesterday.
I had a one year old drake that lost his mate to a predator. He imprinted with the chickens and even flew into the coop at night with the chickens. I eventually had to end his existence as he kept trying to mount hens and pulled lots of their feather while trying to catch them, leaving several of them with major bald patches. He would also attack my rooster in the coop at night. I now have both my chickens and 10 metzler white egg layers which are kept separate at night and most the day. During the evenings I often allow the chickens to free range and there is no conflict between them. The chickens always head straight for the duck area to clean up any feed that they may have left behind for the day. Search Metzler white egg layer, on you tube and you will find a couple videos i've posted of the ducks.
Side note. if i had limited space and was trying to pick one over the other, I'd go with just chickens. You can automate the door (limiting yourself to one visit a day to collect eggs), they don't make a mess of their water, and you can leave enough food for multiple days. Ducks don't put themselves up at night, but can be trained to go back to a pen as mine do each evening with some gentle coaxing. Don't get me wrong i really enjoy my ducks but i have 3+ acres for them to free range on each day. Chickens however, as Jack has said. like to get into garden beds and make a mess, especially if you use the deep mulch. You will have to focus more on how to keep them out of certain areas if you intend to free range at all.
Ok. I pulled up my link that i had saved for http://www.twisted-tree.net/ which is run by Akiva Silver. I learned about him from Permaculture voices, and have contacted him about ordering some plants and trees. He said that he ships plants during November and April. I just need to put a list of what i want together and he said he'd get me a total. If anyone local around the Kansas city / Lee's summit area are interested in going in on an order to save on shipping let me know.
If you are interested in some of what i have going on, check out my YouTube channel "Midwest Homestead Solutions" I also have a full setup available to Rent for processing chickens, including kill cones, scalder, commercial grade plucker, evisceration tables and more.
I'm looking forward to designing swales and other earthworks onto my property. I already have a pond which i plan to work with but modify some of the catchment and discharge during heavy rains. This spring east of KC had it completely full and running off the property. Luckily i had done some work to catch much of the nutrient before it left the property by slowing it all down, but a swale will allow me to spread it out even more and move the water to another section of the property vs. running off to the neighboring property. On another note I'll be heading down to Nick Ferguson's class this October http://www.permacultureclassroom.com/earthworks-workshop.html Is anyone else from KC signed up for this or thinking about going?
I'm excited to find this thread. I've been following permaculture for a number of years now and have made it part way through my online PDC. I've been working on my property near Pittsville, MO for 3 years now. I now have egg layer ducks and a flock of chickens. I had issues with buying the seedling trees in years past. This year I created a sort of nursery bed for them and I'll be transplanting pecan and persimmon trees over the next few weeks. I have a good resource for trees in the fall as well, but I'll have to look it up on my work computer.