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Poultry in the Permie Orchard

 
Kevin Searcy
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Location: ST Albert AB Canada
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Hey Stefan, Have you grazed poultry in the orchard?
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
permaculture orchardist
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Kevin Searcy wrote:Hey Stefan, Have you grazed poultry in the orchard?

Kevin we have had a few thousand over the years: turkey, chickens (broilers and layers), ducks, geese, guinea fowl, quail, pheasant. Also rabbits, guinea pigs and at one time 100 sheep in the 12 acres to do all the mowing. The subject of animals in the Permaculture Orchard will likely be a subsequent film in the future since there is so much to cover on the topic. Would that be of interest to you?
 
Kevin Searcy
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Location: ST Albert AB Canada
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Yes I would. I want to create a fodder orchard and e-establish hedge rows of fruit and nuts for us and some animals. Diversity is the key to healthy soil, the best legacy we can leave.
 
Patrick Mann
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I'll give another thumbs up - would love to see another film covering that topic.
 
Margie Nieuwkerk
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Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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Me too, would love another film on integrating animals into the orchard! I was considering doing a chicken tractor, but i think my trees are still too small and will not provide enough shade for the chickens, and it does get very very hot here in July and August.
 
Hugo Deslippe
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Location: Nagano. Japan
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Me too!
I was a little disappointed that it wasn't on the DVD but I understand why. It was especially surprising because you talked about in the Radio-Canada's La Semaine Verte.

So, indeed, I would love a sequel on the subject.
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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Sorry it's hard to summarize 20 years of learning into 2 hours!!
 
Margie Nieuwkerk
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Stefan Sobkowiak wrote:Sorry it's hard to summarize 20 years of learning into 2 hours!!


Whattabout a series then? Could be a 2 or 3 or 4 part series?

Anyways, not to stress you out, I am delighted that you did this video, and as soon as my next pay comes in I will order it, and I know I will see it many many times.

If you don't do another one, I will be ok, but if you decide that you would LIKE to do another video, count me in!
 
Beth Mouse
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I was considering running turkeys in my future orchard based on the video's principles. But I imagine it would be hard to keep turkeys in the alleys and out of trees and shrubs because they are flighty. I haven't owned turkeys but am in preliminary pondering stage...and wondering how they would work in conjunction with my orchard. As an aside--I have some fruit trees already but they are offset rather than planted in rows.

Maybe dwarf fruit trees would work better as far as keeping turkeys from flying up high into them. I would prefer to not have to do a fully-enclosed turkey tractor with roof. Stefan, what do you think of dwarf fruit trees for an orchard?

Thanks,
Beth
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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I have a few young (2yr old) apple trees (5' tall) in the paddock where my turkeys are. They're a little too small for the turkeys to roost in. The chickens have been more damaging, scratching up the mulch I put down. I did lose a 2 year old hazelnut very close to where I feed the turkeys but it might be a coincidence or the chickens may be to blame.

The problem with dwarf trees is that they are relatively short lived.
 
Paul Ewing
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Location: Boyd, Texas
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Beth wrote:I was considering running turkeys in my future orchard based on the video's principles. But I imagine it would be hard to keep turkeys in the alleys and out of trees and shrubs because they are flighty. I haven't owned turkeys but am in preliminary pondering stage...and wondering how they would work in conjunction with my orchard. As an aside--I have some fruit trees already but they are offset rather than planted in rows.

Maybe dwarf fruit trees would work better as far as keeping turkeys from flying up high into them. I would prefer to not have to do a fully-enclosed turkey tractor with roof. Stefan, what do you think of dwarf fruit trees for an orchard?

Thanks,
Beth


My grandmother's first job on the farm was herding turkeys down the rows of cotton to eat bugs. This was in the 1920s when kids for labor intensive things were common and pesticides were not on the farms.
 
Tina Paxton
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Paul Ewing wrote:My grandmother's first job on the farm was herding turkeys down the rows of cotton to eat bugs. This was in the 1920s when kids for labor intensive things were common and pesticides were not on the farms.


There is also a breed of goose called the "Cotton Patch Goose". They were used as weeders for the cotton fields. Perhaps they would still do well for orchards and food forests?
 
Beth Mouse
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I am wanting to plant blueberries, some grapes, and other edibles amongst the rows of fruit trees so I would keep the turkeys out and not have access to the rows and they would stay only in the pasture grass alleys between rows. I worry they would fly above the poultry netting on each side of alley and up into taller fruit trees even if I clip their wings, but I don't know this for sure. How much shorter-lived are dwarf fruit trees from standard?

Thanks,
Beth
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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If you get a heavy breed, they wont fly over the netting once they are big enough. I have Royal Palms and the hens only way 12ish lbs live and they will fly. In fact, I've had to shoot them to harvest for Thanksgiving because I couldn't get closer than 3 feet. The toms are heavier so I could catch them if need be.
 
Paul Ewing
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The turkeys we have left here don't fly. The hens very occasionally will if startled, but the toms can't. They are a mix of Naragasant and Standard Bronzes. When they were young (under 6 months) they would try to roost in trees, but now they hop up on something about three feet up.
 
Cj Sloane
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Beth, the dwarf trees are substantially shorter lived. Decades v hundreds of years.

In one of geoff lawton's urban vids, he shows a guy keeping full sized trees dwarf sized by pruning 2x/yr.
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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Beth Mouse wrote:I was considering running turkeys in my future orchard based on the video's principles. But I imagine it would be hard to keep turkeys in the alleys and out of trees and shrubs because they are flighty. I haven't owned turkeys but am in preliminary pondering stage...and wondering how they would work in conjunction with my orchard. As an aside--I have some fruit trees already but they are offset rather than planted in rows.

Maybe dwarf fruit trees would work better as far as keeping turkeys from flying up high into them. I would prefer to not have to do a fully-enclosed turkey tractor with roof. Stefan, what do you think of dwarf fruit trees for an orchard?
Thanks,
Beth

Beth turkeys are a natural in any orchard, assuming it is not sprayed to death and has vegetation other than trees.
They will roam but should return to their home, roost and grit pile. As long as they have all they need in your orchard (food, shelter, roost, grit and water). Our orchard is well fenced but the turkeys would fly up and over walk along the road and eat the gravel then come back in. I knew it was time to refill their grit pile.
We set up a mobile roost near their bulk corn feeder and moved it every of days. A GREAT WAY to build up a weak soil area is to simply put the roost over it.
Here's one of my photo albums, from it you can see older albums. In some older ones you will see the roosts with turkeys.
http://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/118058223492813216717/albums/5967302463022268545?authkey=CNXkjMSzn97zRw
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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Cj Verde wrote:I have a few young (2yr old) apple trees (5' tall) in the paddock where my turkeys are. They're a little too small for the turkeys to roost in. The chickens have been more damaging, scratching up the mulch I put down. I did lose a 2 year old hazelnut very close to where I feed the turkeys but it might be a coincidence or the chickens may be to blame.

The problem with dwarf trees is that they are relatively short lived.

You may not want the turkeys roosting in your trees. They can kill them by dropping a little too much LOVE onto them. Best they move around where they roost. Mobile roost works great.
 
Beth Mouse
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Thanks for the input everyone--I am now thinking maybe I don't need to keep the turkeys out of the tree rows with fencing. I have a bit under 1/2 an acre of pasture though so it is not large. Despite the dwarf only lasting decades I am still thinking of going with those and so would have maybe 6 rows of trees. I was hoping to keep 6 turkeys so I don't know if they would destroy all the other plants in the row with the trees. I was going to purchase chicks in July and butcher in November--no Toms either. So the turkeys wouldn't be around for a large part of the year.

It would be much easier to let them roam pasture without the fencing but I don't want them eating all the berries and maybe some veggies planted in rows as well. My pasture is divided into 3 paddocks with field fencing and all 3 paddocks lead to a small barnyard with the coop in back of barn. I could rotate turkeys through the paddocks and possibly have the plants that are ripe and I don't want them eating in one paddock the turkeys can't get to. I have never raised turkeys and am in design phase of most of orchard. We have some fruit trees in far end of pasture already and they are staggered and not in rows and are not dwarf.

Thanks,
Beth

Just got my video and am very excited to watch it. Thanks for your input Stefan!
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
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Beth Mouse wrote:Thanks for the input everyone--I am now thinking maybe I don't need to keep the turkeys out of the tree rows with fencing. I have a bit under 1/2 an acre of pasture though so it is not large. Despite the dwarf only lasting decades I am still thinking of going with those and so would have maybe 6 rows of trees. I was hoping to keep 6 turkeys so I don't know if they would destroy all the other plants in the row with the trees. I was going to purchase chicks in July and butcher in November--no Toms either. So the turkeys wouldn't be around for a large part of the year.

It would be much easier to let them roam pasture without the fencing but I don't want them eating all the berries and maybe some veggies planted in rows as well. My pasture is divided into 3 paddocks with field fencing and all 3 paddocks lead to a small barnyard with the coop in back of barn. I could rotate turkeys through the paddocks and possibly have the plants that are ripe and I don't want them eating in one paddock the turkeys can't get to. I have never raised turkeys and am in design phase of most of orchard. We have some fruit trees in far end of pasture already and they are staggered and not in rows and are not dwarf.
Thanks,
Beth

Just got my video and am very excited to watch it. Thanks for your input Stefan!

Beth I suggest you watch it 3 times. It's information rich with a lot of 1-2 sentence bits that you don't want to miss. Otherwise easy to miss take
 
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