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Craig Dobbson

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since Dec 22, 2011
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
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Craig Dobbson currently moderates these forums:
Craig is a permaculture designer and consultant with a focus on temperate climate, perennial food forests and homestead management. He has been testing and implementing his own designs while sharing knowledge and experience with others for the past seven years. In 2014 he completed his PDC and began a larger expansion of his homestead and business. The future is bright, as long as you're willing to face it.
Maine (zone 5)
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Recent posts by Craig Dobbson

Stress, malnutrition, overfeeding and age are usually the main causes of trouble if you have a whole group of does that won't breed.  It could also be something up with the buck.  Have you tried them on a different buck?  Over feeding seems to be the big issue when it comes to a buck's performance.  They get fat and then they don't work.  It's similar for does, but if they are having litters 3 times a year, it's tough not to want to keep them a little chubbier. :)

When I had rabbits that wouldn't breed right away, I'd try changing the routine of the day.  For instance, try bringing the doe to the buck before you feed them for the day.  Or give the buck a little tiny slice of apple to eat, just before you bring the doe in.  She'll smell the treat and maybe more inclined to perform her duties, in hope of getting a piece of apple too.  If she breeds, return her to her space and then give her a treat. 

Without seeing and knowing more about your setup, it's hard to say for sure. Rabbit can be a little funny from time to time. Can you provide us with some more details on what your working with?

number of males and females
housing setup
-cage size
-barn, hutch, colony


Do you have other animals that would be a rabbit predator around?  A new dog or cat might be just the type of thing to set a bunch of rabbits off of breeding.  It could be the smell of such animals on your clothing as well.

I hope some of this was useful

I'm looking to start my rabbitry up again next year.  I miss having them.
2 days ago
Would you consider sharing photos of exactly what you're dealing with?  Advice can vary greatly based on what we all imagine in our heads.  If I could see the trees and how much shade they cast, I could probably give you a good idea as to what "I" would do. 

If that's not possible, could you give me a more accurate idea as to where the trees are located?

how large are they?
-canopy width

What percent of the land to they shade at noon on the shortest and longest days of the year?

What are your soil conditions like?

What are your goals for the land?
-other structures or projects

I look forward to seeing what you're up to.
1 week ago
My chickens, take a break every year for about a month or so.  They typically lay from february to december.  Everyone needs a break every once in a while.  Keep them fed watered and safe and they'll be back to work in no time. In my experience, there's not enough meat on a layer hen at this time of year to make it worth butchering anyway.  You're doing great by the sound of it.  Just keep doing what you're doing and keep an eye out for new eggs in a month or so.
1 week ago
By the way Steph,  Welcome to permies.  Glad to have you with us.
1 week ago
What kind of stove?

how cold does it get where you live, and for how long?

what kind of wood are you going to burn?

What else can we help you with? 

Fire away and let's get you warmed up.

1 week ago

Dylan Kirsch wrote: Is that link a list of seeds you sell or seed to consider finding?

Like Joseph mentioned, you'll probably fare better with seed and stock that come from your local climate.  Of course I'd be happy to sell you anything you see on the list from that link.
Thank you
I have some seeds for sale from my own food forests and gardens.  I'm in zone 4-5 depending on the year.  The last week was -30F.  Everything that I have for sale was harvested this past summer and fall.  Maybe the list will give you some ideas for what you might start with.   


Do cane fruit like raspberries survive there?  Some varieties of strawberries could also work.  Rhubarb, horseradish, and even some types of grapes might work too.
This is one of the spaces that I've used for trialing different seed mixes.  A lot of my favorite squashes have come out of this space, as well as a number of pretty awesome flowers that I've used to make my house smell nice throughout the season.

1 week ago
Just found a picture of one of my first polycultures, and look who's right there in the mix... Anise Hyssop.  There's probably 20 different plants in this one area.

1 week ago
Today it's so cold that everyone gets a swearing pass for the day.  I usually have a rule about being polite and not using crude language in the house. But today... I let it slide when the little one said "shiiiiit!, it's so cold!".   I was like " yup... pretty fucking cold, Kiddo." 

It's that cold.
1 week ago