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d.a. vatalaro

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since Dec 15, 2011
Zone 8b, semi-arid
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Recent posts by d.a. vatalaro

Summer: outside work is done early morning & early evening, other times in the shade only. Depending on the work, it's usually thrifted jeans that have been made into cutoff shorts, some sort of washable lightweight brassiere, and a tank top. Shoes must protect the toes, because I'm a klutz, so it's often Keen-style sandals of some sort or garden clogs, unless I'm working with the chainsaw or other such, then it's jeans, full hiking boots or steel toe. If I have to work in the mid-day sun, will wear one of those long-sleeve "fishing" shirts to protect my shoulders, and a wide-brimmed straw hat.

Winter: wool underlayers (top, bottom & socks), cotton flannel overshirt, neck gaiter & wooly cap. For pants, usually jeans, but as the quality of women's jeans continue to slide downhill (I swear they're made more of polyester than cotton nowadays, and rip when you look at them wrong) trying out some new work pants made for women. Dang spendy, but they're tough as nails, made of 12 oz. cotton duck fabric, double-panel fronts, with plenty of pockets for tools & such. AND you order by inseam & waist, avoiding the @#$! idiotic "women's" sizes that make no sense at all (ahem). Google "Red Ants Pants". Also have a pair of insulated Carhartt overalls for when it gets really cold. Footwear is generally cowboy boots or generic mud boots, but during deepest winter, I'll break out the insulated Muck boots - another spendy item, but worth the investment.

The joke amongst friends: all clothes and shoes eventually become farm clothes and shoes. So if I have to go shopping for clothes for other contract work that I do, I keep in mind whether they will survive an emergency dash through the pasture. Because eventually, that will happen.
4 years ago

S Haze wrote:I'm always looking for ways to be less involved in the daily care of the animals if nature can do the work better than I can.



I hear you. The thing I've noticed with the majority of domesticated animals, however, is that much of the "street smarts" has been bred out of them, mostly to ensure they stay docile and tractable. Take chickens, for example. I have a few that are terrific foragers, but the rest would have difficulty hunting enough food every day. And, of course, our geese and ducks don't go anywhere during the seasonal changes. Regular dairy cattle wouldn't know what the hell to do with themselves if left on their own, although one nature show supposed that Texas Longhorns would probably survive fine if people suddenly disappeared. So if you haven't already, keep that in mind when it comes to livestock considerations. Best of luck to you!
7 years ago

S Haze wrote: I suspect that they should really have some liquid water available at all times so I'm hesitant to experiment.
Thanks!



You're right - waterfowl need liquid water, and not just for drinking. According to Dave Holderread (author of "The Book of Geese"), geese specifically need to be able to dunk their heads to clear out sinuses and eyes.
7 years ago

paul wheaton wrote: […] Then the movie will list me as "Supreme Executive Producer with Bacon, Cheese and Sparkles"! Oh, how I want that title. Please support this project through this link!


Okay, I'll indulge you in that title - donated .
Fantastic! As someone attempting permaculture in a drought-stricken, thinly soiled hill region, I look forward to the conversations here!
7 years ago

Nina Jay wrote:
"Can I use electric netting with Ducks and Geese?
'We would not advise this form of fencing for ducks and geese.'



Interesting, I'd never read that before! We used electric poultry fencing for our geese and it worked well. We got our fence from Premiere One, and loved it. Premiere One's Poultry Page (I am not a shill, I promise

Yes, you do have to keep the fence area mown down to ensure the electricity doesn't get "grounded out". We'd take up the fence, mow the fenceline down, then put the fence back up. Every night, I'd walk the perimeter looking for weeds, twigs or other things that might be touching the fence. If I stayed mindful, all it took was a few scissor snips to keep up with initial re-growth, but after a few weeks, we'd need to mow again.

Our geese never got stuck in the fence, but our acreage is surrounded by goat fencing and guarded additionally by a couple of livestock guardian dogs. The geese were rarely spooked, and the fenced area was generously large - more than enough room to roam freely. We kept the fence in one place, as it was just for night protection; we let them free-range during the day. For added protection, we put up a small length of metal fence with an opening just inches paralleled inside from were we would open the electric fence to discourage "stampeding" into the gate in the morning, when they saw us coming to let them out. We'd open the fence, then roll back the internal metal fence and let them out.

WRT geese & children: yes, geese are bullies, and when they see anything "their size" that is not another familiar goose, they will often go after it - especially small children! And during egg-laying season, even the most gentle hand-reared geese can get a bad case of "the crabby". I don't think that's a reason not to have geese, but if you don't have the energy to watch after all the time or the safe space for the youngsters to hang out before they're big enough to understand how to manage geese, then it's wise to wait. Oh, and that electric poultry netting gives a wicked shock - if you have children, keep them well away. There have been serious injuries to toddlers who've crawled into this kind of netting.

Last but not least, porch geese == poo-pocalypse. I have to spray my porch down most evenings. I'm fine with doing that - it fertilizes the flower beds - but it's Yet Another Task on the list of regular chores.

Good luck to you!
7 years ago
One thing I've noticed is that our livestock have a routine, and once established, pretty much stick to it. For example (bear with me, point will be made eventually), morning routine is 1. giving the dogs a biscuit to get them out of the way, then 2. putting out scratch for the chickens to keep them busy, then 3. feeding a bowl of cut greens to the geese to keep them calm and out of the way, then 4. going to the duck pen and giving them greens to keep them busy while I turn off the electric wiring and roll open the fencing. THEN I get to do the regular morning chores - gathering eggs, dog feeding, feeder refilling, water replenishing, cleaning, etc. Do any of these out of order, and the critters get confused and chaos reigns. At dusk, the chickens naturally go to their roost, the ducks (usually) waddle into their night pen (or I round them up), and the geese & livestock guardian dogs hang out together close to both coop & pen.

With that lead-in, what I'm wondering you could do is perhaps bribe the fuzzy butts to the shelter area at night for awhile, long enough for them to associate "dusk" with a "go to the shelter" routine. Do they like scratch? Or greens? (I get inexpensive packs of Romaine lettuce heads at Costco). Once you get them out of the water and on shore, it may be easier to herd them into a close-by shelter. Or if the shelter is close enough, you can put the bribe in the shelter, let them waddle in, and close the door after them.

Hope you find a workable scenario soon - I know what it's like to worry about predators...
7 years ago
Saybian probably has the best answer so far. Personally, I just pressure-hose the poo off the porch into the surrounding garden beds every day (our cement porch is raised), which works well - the gardens get fertilized regularly . Although we have ducks, they've never had much interest in the porch... it's our geese that like to hang out and watch "People Television" through the large livingroom picture window.

One thing for sure: they will not be fed purple cabbage leaves ever again. Blue-green poo all over the porch. Took awhile for the stains to fade.
8 years ago

Kathleen Sanderson wrote: Saskia, somewhere I have a copy of Dave Holderread's book on ducks, but it's packed --



Here ya go:

"Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks" by Dave Holderread

And a bonus article:

"Raising Ducks: Choosing Breeds, Feed, Housing & More" by Liz Wright (Mother Earth News, excerpt from "Natural Living")

I have a short blog article on the making of a duck shelter (inspired by Dave Holderread's book above), but note that the shelter is specific for South/Central Texas temperatures - it rarely gets below freezing here:

DIY Duck Shelter
8 years ago
We water our fruit & nut trees with soiled goose/duck pool water. No problems.
8 years ago