I wonder if its possible to teach the birds to use a door 3' above the water level, with a small gangplank. Ducks are able to lift off from the surface of water better than any of their predators. The hard part will be teaching the ducks to use it. So maybe have an easier door where you can herd them in at night, but keep closed once the ducks have figured out the program.
I haven't tried this exactly. But I have noticed that teaching chickens to jump to a high door to get inside a coop is not easy.
Mark Shepard points out that a Savanna has more photosynthesizing surface area than any other landscape. A jungle only gets light in the canopy. On a Savanna overstory trees are stacked with understory trees bushes and grass. Mark's farm in Wisconsin is ripped following keylines and planted to trees on the same lines. He works hard to get new things going. But perennial plants will only survive on his farm if they can tolerate STUNG - sheer total utter neglect.
When draft animals are not available, these type of devices could be pulled with a cable. Perhaps using a hand powered winch, or pedal power. Or any ATV, car, etc can provide the power, if cables and pulleys give it a place to drive.
I think it might be practical to build a simpler (though perhaps heavier) all in one cultivator using off the shelf parts. Such a device could be assembled on vacation and given to villagers in a poor country for beta testing. The material that enables strong machines to be built by a novice is telescoping steel tubing.
The wheel being nearly centered carries the entire load. Unlike a front wheel wheelbarrow where the operator carries half. This allows the Chinese wheelbarrow to handle 6 times more weight. Using animals and sails to help pull wheelbarrows long distances is extremely practical.
Wheelbarrows sometimes have landing gear in the front or back. Some require the user to push down on the handles, rather than lift up.
I recently got to meet Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network at the 2012 Acres conference. His talk blew me away. Good breeding of poultry is an urgent need (it is degenerating much like the bee buisiness). I would highly recommend hiring Jim as a consultant or going to one of his workshops.
I strongly agree that chicks raised by their mothers will outperform motherless chicks every time.
There is a lot of variability in the toughness of corn's seed coat. Conventional US field corn is not selected for digestibility. Cultivars intended for human consumption will work better. Bloody Butcher is a variety of corn I like. Mature birds with a gizzard can grind corn. Pullets might require a milled ration.
You say you want to feed whole ears. My question is how do you avoid the chickens wasting half of it?
It's kinda fun to shell corn with your bare hands if you're spending a lot of time sitting indoors anyway.
My favorites right now are Delaware chickens, possibly the strongest dual purpose breed. They were recognized as a breed in 1940 made from the Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock. The Delaware is practically just as good as those two in laying, foraging, and hardiness, but the Delaware is a far superior broiler. If you cross a Delaware back to either a RIR or a Barred Rock, the offspring are sex-linked color hybrids.
I'm not opposed to hybrids. But, if you depend on buying new hybrid genetics every year from a large coroporation, how can you call yourself sustainable?
I am investigating the idea of raising 100-300 layers on pasture behind a dairy herd. Obviously I'm going to need a lot of lightweight housing. Right now my biggest question is how large a structure can I build given that weight is the primary constraint? We have a tractor that could move multi-ton stuff, but I'd rather not depend on it. Our four-wheeler is rated to pull 250 lbs, so that is one limit. By hand I would probably not want to regularly pull more than 80 lbs.
Here are some questions and ideas in no particular order:
Is it reasonable to make ultralight nest boxes using recycled billboard tarps or thin plastic roll up sleds? (floor of wire fence and straw)
Any other ideas for nest boxes that weigh less than 1lb each?
Hoop houses build of cattle panels work really well, but the weight is high. Does PVC work equally well if protected from UV (by used billboard tarp)?
What is the largest house you could build out of PVC before weaknesses become apparent.
I'm planning to have the houses on skids, and the skids are going to be soled with black poly pipe. This stuff slides really well on grass, and keeps the wood drier. The only problem is hauling it over gravel which shreds the poly pipe. I got an idea from Eliot Coleman. Basically it entails building 4 special roller skates. Then you can jack up each corner of the house, put a roller skate under, and voila. The idea is especially nice if the roller skates fit using simple 2x4 lumber and fit every such skid structure on the farm.
Emerson White wrote: @Mangudi, I've had some great sustainably grown food, and I've had some crap sustainably grown food (mealy apples, I hate! mealy apples) I've had good conventionally grown food and crap conventionally grown food.
I think that it's down to anecdote that biodynamic is better than another form of little o organic.
Surely you must look at their literature and see that what they are selling has nothing at all to do with actual quantum? Do you not get offended when someone is lying about what they are doing? Would you not be offended in Monsanto started labeling roundup as "permaculture weed spray"? These folks are committing intellectual theft, and not actually testing their product. They aren't actually building anything quantum, so they much have a fantastic profit margin (80% markup is what I'd guess based on product size and price) they could spend some of the money they are making to actually test something, but it would kill their market share. Scammers never put their products to any sort of real test.
I am offended by lying advertisements. And I don't take the theory seriously. However I have met people who take these field broadcasters seriously, and I am advocating on their behalf... devils advocate.
Among the biodynamics crowd there are many folks with heightened sensitivity. For example, they will say they feel the energy radiating out from a cypress tree. When I inquire about the theory they usually do not make serious distinctions between auras, chi, aetheric energy, chakras, quantum fields, or whatever. They feel something. The same sorts of concepts are invoked for alternative healing of the human body. I personally am not very sensitive to this sort of thing. But I have met enough respectable people who are, that I don't dismiss their feelings. Sometimes I have been very impressed with the results.
Most of the believers in this sort of thing would not use them anywhere. Just as in acupuncture or feng shui, location is the most important variable. An advertiser who promises it will work anywhere is just an unscrupulous salesman. If people are sensitive to this sort of thing, then go for it. For people who are not very senstive, like me, it is probably not worth using.
Emerson White wrote: @Mangudai, what from those classes leads you to think that these towers might have the kind of effect they are advertised to have?
Nothing. And I am not convinced these broadcasters do anything.
I read and read about farming for a long time before going into it full time. All the science put forth by the USDA sounds really good in theory, in practice its crap. The Biodynamics community have many completely crackpot theories, in practice their food is outstanding.
I took several QM classes in university. And, I don't like to see it misused in popular culture. QM is vital to much of our existing technology, some of which of which Joel mentioned. I would add the transistor which is the fundamental building block of computers.
These broadcasters are very popular among the bio-dynamics crowd. Much like the cow horn mixtures, or water witching, everyone is skeptical when they first hear about it. Nevertheless, the quality of the food convinces me that sometimes the bio-dynamics people are on to something, even if their theories are junk sometimes the discoveries are not.
Land tenure is very important concept for permaculture, so I believe the thread is relevant.
I don´t know anything about local politics in Portland so I can´t comment on that. Also I don´t really view property held by the government for its own purposes as relevant so far as the georgist system goes.
My primary interest in this system has to do with farmland being overpriced. Non-farmers can hold the land with very little downside. While farmers cannot afford to buy the land and pay the morgage through farming activities. Higher land taxes would force out the absentee landlords, and allow newcomers to purchace land at reasonable prices.
Georgians argue the opposite. Less space will be underutilized, and land prices and rents will be lower. So unemployment and homelessness are partially helped just through the system of collecting taxes, even if the tax money were completely wasted these problems would be helped.
The government does not sit on foreclosures, it auctions them off fast. It is banks and private landowners who let vacant buildings languish. Landowners can do that because the taxes are very low.
The incentives with the Georgist scheme, is that people will want as much land as they can personally use and no more.
As for the questions of how much money the government should collect and how to spend it, people could fall anywhere on the right left spectrum and still support the Georgist system.
The game monopoly was created by Georgists to teach young people how an appreciating real estate market enriches somebody and bankrupts everybody else. A strong local property tax may be the key to affordable land and housing, and more sensible development of transit infrastructure. Price appreciation in real estate is due to community developments and therefore the community should have the benefit of it.
I would not have believed it would work if I had not seen it.
A friend of mine has 6 week old Cornish X on pasture in Illinois right now. Temperatures this week have been as low as 5 F ( -15 C), and stayed below freezing four days in a row. The birds are standing on the ground with only partial protection from wind. No heat lamp. Most of the birds have incomplete feather coverage. Its pretty amazing they can survive.
I don't know the laws in BC. But there are a few dodges that might work anywhere.
If you need electricity and telephone lines, you can build a simple barn and have it hooked up by the utilities. Then build your house and wire it yourself from the barn.
If you are totally off the grid, then don't tell any government official you built a "house". If asked you could tell them you live in a tent, and the building you are working on is a storage shed or a sweat lodge or whatever. Land that is unzoned or agricultural zone needs no permits for outbuildings (in most of the US).
Raccoons can tear through regular chicken wire. However that PVC coated chicken wire might work in the ground according to your original idea.
We have used the trick of a single hot electric wire in front of a metal fence. I believe it works well, especially if animals investigate with their nose. We used apple scent and bottle caps to make the electric wire alluring.
The Premier site has helpful guidelines of how much output energy is appropriate for how much fence. Output energy is measured in Joules. This is the most important number in judging the punch of a solar electric fence.
Ludi Ludi wrote: I think comparison in terms of calories would be relevant.
How many calories are produced by each method on the same size plot of land for the same period of time under the same climate conditions? That, to me, would be useful information.
Good point about calories, but there is still irreducible complexity. Potatoes have about double the yield of zea maize and eight times the yield of wheat. So just by switching to a potato based diet, would be like multiplying the amount of farmland.
Can anyone guide me to the origins, for instance, of:
Using Permaculture " ...a skilled gardener can produce up to six times more than a conventional farmer working land of comparable size"
John Jeavons in the book "How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine" claims 600% higher yield than conventional farmers. Jeavons is strong on the double digging method, which is not quite the same thing as permaculture.
Also, it is not clear to me how you can compare yield across crops. Crops like watermelon and tomato are incredible high yielding, but they are largely water. A dehydrated vegetable doesn't count. However, commodity grains must be low moisture.
Watermelon might yield over 600% more than blueberries (watermelon is also much more efficient to pick). Often the price difference more than compensates the blueberry grower for her lower productivity. However in my opinion, to discuss value principally in terms of yield or price is unwise.
machinemaker wrote: Here is a product that my son has seen used in military Field shelters. their products are a bit expensive in my opinion, but the idea could be easily modified. I would think that a similar idea could be made with field fencing or cattle panels and landscape fabric. You might want to explore this web site: http://www.hesco.com/rhouse/gallery.html kent
Good ideas. This style also works well with rip rap or cobblestones.
Bloat is caused by too much nitrogen intake from amino acids and proteins. Nitrogen in plants is the most concentrated in new growth close to the ground. The tips of grass leaves contain the most sugar (a carbohydrate). Plants like rye are really good in springtime, sucking on the stems you can taste the sugar. Balancing nitrogen with carbon is the key. A diverse pasture has enough to enable the cow to balance its own diet.
If a cow has the scours it can mean too much nitrogen. Feeding hay may be beneficial.
>90% of the dairy cows in the United States will not cut it. I would not consider anything other than a jersey or a hybrid jersey. I'd watch carefully to see that the cows have no difficulty walking, and that several generations of her parents were raised on pasture.
Good hay is almost as good as pasture, except on the pocketbook. Hay is the cheapest fertilizer you can buy and it has seeds in it.
I've done it once. Loading it all onto a wagon, then building the haystacks took 3 men most of a full day to do 1 acre. I found the work very pleasant. It felt very easy until about 6 hours into it my shoulders and back started to protest loudly. My pitchfork technique must not have been perfect. Handling the hay twice takes a long time, if you were building the stack on the same acre where you cut it, then you might only have to handle it once.
We stacked outdoors on top of four pallets 10'x10' at the base and close to 20' tall. The main thing is to walk on top the haystack while building it to make sure there are no cavities. The hay can lay any direction so long as it's flat. Pam knows what she is talking about.
Acorns - Best food we found, the pigs harvest themselves and seem to never get enough
Corn - We soaked corn on the cob, the pigs would consume about 2/3 of their diet in corn but they wasted a lot
Vegetable Garden seconds (eggplant, sweet pepper, tomato, squash, etc) - the pigs would eat all of these in moderate portions, but if they got too much they would refuse to eat any more of it. They would only eat squash if we chopped it up and soaked it.
Wheat - they loved wheat porridge with whey or meat drippings and so forth. Wheat was more expensive than corn, and they often just wasted the dry stuff.
Animal Carcass - they loved these. Importantly scavenging and hunting are two completely unrelated activities in the mind of a pig. We fed our pigs with dead chickens. On occasion they were mixed with live chickens but the pigs did not display predatory behavior.
Pasture Forage - pigs would eat all sorts of grass and weeds, but in our paddocks they would consume everything they liked within a day or two.
Single wire electric works. However we have not solved the problem of feeding slop over the fence, and having a movable feed trough that the pigs push into the fence. We had to walk into the pig paddock to deliver slop, I do not recommend this.
Mangudai wrote: I've never worked with Ferro Cement. Suppose one wanted to build domes or barrel vaults. Do you think Ferro Cement might be superior to other types of form work?
The magic of domes and barrel vaults is that a good design might potentially eliminate any tensile load on the material. They can be built from masonry with no reinforcement.
In order to pour wet concrete into an arch a formwork is necessary. I was wondering if ferro cement could handle the weight of all that wet concrete, and if this is better (simpler, cheaper) than a temporary wooden form.