Thank you all for your input.
To me heating water and pumping it through pipes requires too much attention and will also be fairly costly. The solar idea is for set and forget, heating in winter, cooling in summer. Panels running direct energy to an a/b switch for either heating cables or cooling fan. No controllers or inverters is my way of thinking.
Currently I have no solar system. I'm thinking it should not require too large a system as low amp heating cable does not require more than a 15 amp 110v to run. I may have problems to get the full length to heat up. Just assuming mostly, hoping an expert will comment.
In the wild, inbreeding is common and used to better survival in most herd species. Take a bull elk that that will be dominant enough to mate with often up to 3 generations of his offspring. Even when replaced by a young aggressive bull it will often be one of his own sons which will still keep the inbreeding intact. This gets repeated over and over through multiple generations.
The drakes should be about 11-15 lb., ducks 4-7 lb. live weight to be mature. I think for young birds, 12 weeks and then again about 20 weeks are your window of opportunity. Unless you plan on skinning them you want to make sure they are not growing new feathers. I would catch at least 2 and inspect their breast feathers carefully. Run your fingers through them, if they feel rough, bumpy or you see shorter feathers than the full ones wait a few weeks.
Ducks are a lot of work to pluck and the more you can help yourself the better. Enjoy, Muscovy are delicious.
Dem Krebs your right on. The one that doesn't ripen is from the hardier root stalk below the graft. The one that ripens is the grafted intended tree. I would heavily prune (40% ish) the one that doesn't ripen after leaf drop or late winter about a month before the buds swell. This will encourage the good tree to grow. Do this 2x and then the following year you should be able to remove it totally or just keep it very pruned back. Most of the tree's energy will go to the unwanted side if you let it.
I grow hydroponics using the "Kratky Method" It is a set and forget system with no circulation system. I use tanks made from 2 x 6 lumber, 32" x 48" will grow 24 nice deep green/red lettuce heads every 6 weeks. Sure you have to buy a 3 part fertilizer but the bags i bought will last a few years growing 100 a week. My geese and chickens love them, especially in the off season. Cuts down the feed bill, sell enough to make a little cash too.
Mine is modeled after the "Bialecki Farms" set up on Youtube. You can review the comments section for more details.
Sounds like the soil is ok. Too much sun and not enough rain causes bitter lettuce. Wait for the wetter fall season with cooler nights, maybe add some shade.
Most people if introduced to the bitterness slowly get used to it, enjoy it and then find rapidly grown lettuce bland. It's all what we are accustomed to.
Hold off on solar purchases for a little while if you can. With the price of oil where it is you are going to see amazing deals on solar in the near future. They predict many solar companies won't survive from this so they need to dump inventory just to stay afloat.
Most plants are ok to plant in pots for up to 2-3 years. If it is only for a month or so they would be better put in the ground as a bunch. Make sure to open the bundle to get soil to all the roots. Choose a spot that is sheltered and mostly shaded and not water logged. When ready to replant remove them carefully as new roots may already be growing.
May your crops prosper.
I've tried haskaps and really didn't like them. It's true because they are so early the birds will get most and the rest seem to drop off very easily and deteriorate quickly.
Here is a link to a very detailed catalog that should give some great ideas. It is Canadian but once you know what you want I'm sure you can find it more locally.
Mine really don't like whole oats but it's very inexpensive here so I turn it into fodder about 4" tall. I feed that every 2nd day and some pens love it, others not so much but it helps keep the yolks darker in the winter.
Welcome from Nova Scotia. 17 horses on 3 acres. Yes you will have lots of manure/compost. I would mix your best compost with fresh manure and spread it out about 12" deep. Build a nice hoophouse over it, ventilated at both ends. Pile 6' of small square straw bales up the coldest side. You will be amazed what that will grow from your second season onwards.
I agree with Jenn, definitely a case of not hilling them enough. Some varieties can produce potatoes along the stem growth while others are restricted to the root zone. If you keep the tubers that were underground and plant them they will also be this type. Just hill them next year for bigger yields.
If you are looking for home remedies and cures you may want to look into older books From E-bay or Abe books. There were a lot of books published from 1900's to about the 1960's on animal husbandry and veterinary. Nowadays everything is so controlled by the veterinarian lobby groups to be the only source for treatments. There can be a lot of good information in some of the old books but read with a grain of salt as some cures have been proven not to work. If you find something you would like to try do another search specifically related to the cure for more opinions.
A quick search of antique veterinary books produced a page of results.
In the old days, sawdust was used as insulation to keep big slabs of ice all summer long without power in ice-houses.
Maybe you could invent a way to combine the two, like using solar to cool a liquid that only circulated through the refrigerator that is covered by a huge amount of sawdust.
Duck eggs are very salable in urban areas. In fact they are larger than chicken eggs and richer/higher in protein. For this reason generally they sell at a premium price to chicken eggs. Especially desirable for baking or the Asian market. Generally once you find a few customers they are loyal as supply is limited.
Actually in colder climates, all smaller tree roots freeze solid as frost goes up to 4 feet deep. This is normal, and no they do not need more water until late spring. Too wet will kill them faster than too dry.
As it appears you are mostly wanting high butterfat rather than milk volume. Why not forget the cow thing and go with a dairy breed of sheep. This would make it more plausible to keep a ram and easier to adjust animal units as needed.
Also agree that mixing ducks and fish is just asking for disaster. Muscovy ducks do not require a pond and 1 male 2 females will give you way more offspring than you will consume. They hatch their own and require very little above foraging.
I have to disagree on your whole corn comment Bryant Redhawk.
I have raised hobby chickens for more than 50 years and in the cold months whole corn is always part of the diet. Never lost a bird from that and have always had more than 50% laying even in -20 degree temperatures.
The reason it works so well is because it is hard to digest thus increasing the birds metabolism and vitality.
Corn is there favorite treat by far.
Also in my early days we raised common barn pigeons as our pets. Probably had about 50 birds. Kept production records and daily journal. Whole corn was always at least 30% of their diet. Never had exploding stomachs.
If you in fact diagnose the problem accurately as whole corn related than maybe there were high levels of toxins which can be present in soggy spills.
I suggest a nice scoop of whole corn every morning before they go foraging.
I also noticed your location and are you close enough to the coast to smell the ocean. If so then the plants probably absorb more of that taste than normal.
Most likely you will eventually find the taste normal to your liking.
I have a large incubator and any eggs/chicks, as well as all shells get buried in the garden about a foot deep. Earthworms will eventually bring it to the surface for the plants.
Many people marvel at my gardening results and that is one of my secrets.