Saybian Morgan wrote:Woodchips are your answer in a 3 fold yield, you can't compost sand, the ducks will muck through it and erode it and if it's too coarse it will get hot in the summer. You getting your bedding from the chips, you shovel off well manured bedding into a heap and add water. Next you plant your wetland forage system with your compost until your sick of the fertility in woody plant growth that produce herbaceous forage without them destroying it. I've grown insane comfrey in block gravel mud by filling holes in the wetland with this hard compost, the drainage and water retention go through the roof. I end up with allot of oil pungent tree's so I leave the chips where they dump it and let it roar off the hot oils in a precompost you could say for 2 weeks. It all comes out brown and absorbent, the stuff in there exposed run is probably 12 inches deep, our runs are on a torrential winter mudscape. It makes crazy soil even if you just keep layering it with mud and shit, but over a much longer time and a ground full of worms they can't get to unless you flip the chips. Even in something as pedantic as bedding there are permaculture means catalyze synergistic connections amongst elements in your project design.
John Polk wrote:1400 Ducks per acre is certainly big commercial.
At that stocking rate, manure disposal will become one of your biggest tasks.
On a year-round basis, 1400 ducks could produce enough manure to burn 30-40 acres beyond use.
Perhaps, a huge pile of 'soiled' wood chips could be composted for sale to local farmers.
It wouldn't be as 'hot' after composting. Secondary income.
John Polk wrote:For chickens, the numbers range between 40-50 birds per acre for sustainable operations.
That works out to around 1,000 square feet per bird.
This considers both feed requirements AND manure output.
Anything higher will eventually degrade the land.
If you are providing feed, that eliminates that requirement.
But essentially, what you are describing is a CAFO.
Hopefully, your designers will devise a system that works for you. I still believe that you will have excess manure to sell.
I used to work on a large (by South American standards) egg farm.
The owners used to (half jokingly) say "If it weren't for the chicken shit (manure sales), we'd be broke."
Saybian Morgan wrote:Sorry my setup sounds convoluted but I had no idea you were trying to keep over 1000 ducks on 1 acre, it's basically a feed lot vs an apartment complex. If its a labour issue scooping out the bounty for windrow composting then i don't know what your going to do about your birds flying away outdoors. Muscovy's fly and are not loyal during egg laying season, maybe the labour was frightening because the surplus manure wasn't factored into your business model.
I didn't get an answer on how the ducks won't scorch themselves in summer, your gravel idea is the most stable but it's really just sidestepping a concrete floor which is what you end up at with that much overstocking. It seems the constant human need to bypass labour is how your going to end up with an effluent stream that produces the same ill effects as conventional systems. 60 birds to the acre is a sufficient manurial input year round, i don't know where your going to get 20 or so acre's to take that off for you yearly.
I know i want to do it by flooding run's into swales that feed downhill, but it's another empty suggestion if the machine or human power isn't there to windrow woodchips to create soil that grows forage or sells as surplus. There are plenty of people selling mountains of chicken manure, not many selling composted chicken manure. Im not going to talk you out of this plan but I did hope to amend it with a few surplus insentives to get you to diversify your reason's for doing it. Bill M. use to say by all means keep your cow but sell the worms.
jacque greenleaf wrote:Have you any personal experience with Muscovies? The reason I am asking is that your plans, if I understand them correctly, run counter to allowing the Muscovies to express their "duckness". 12 sq feet for range space is barely enough room for a full-grown Muscovy to turn around. True, a 3-month old Muscovy won't need so much space, but a Muscovy at that age is still a slender teenager, so I don't see how they would make good meat. I also don't see how it will be possible to keep that many birds at that stocking rate on anything resembling a natural surface, without it turning into a mucky mess, nor keep anything resembling a "natural" pond or wetland clean.
Also, you should check with USFWS regulations regarding keeping Muscovies. They are covered under the migratory bird treaty, and a couple years ago, the USFWS proposed a rule banning private ownership. Due to the reaction from private hobby bird breeders, the USFWS was reconsidering the proposal to allow for hobby breeding, but I can see no way that an operation such as you are proposing would fall under that. It seems to me that you might also need a water quality permit.