Francis Oublieux

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since Jun 25, 2012
Great Bend, Kansas (border on zone 5/6, 20"-25" yr)
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Recent posts by Francis Oublieux

I must assess I don't mimic Paul's version of Permaculture close enough, you know, Paula-culture. Gosh, those evil chicken tractor tools, once in a life (if their naughty) wing clippings, and dirty permanent fences! Laughing... (Not critical of other members or passive now.)

Here is what first hand experience has told me since my initial post:

I cleared the nest a week after the chicks were born allowing mom to eat as much of the remaining shells as she desired. Then I put a dozen fertile eggs back in the nest hoping mom would spend enough time on the nest to hatch them. This was silly, but it is what you do when no one will answer your questions. It was silly because her instinct was to teach the chicks about scratching, eating, drinking, and fight or flight if you will. After about four days, the chicks were following mom all over the paddocks for most of the day, thus no temperature regulation happened on the fertile eggs.

Obvious to me now, none hatched. I removed the eggs and examined them finding zero development at all.

The chicks are now a week or so short of two months old, healthy as can be, and fully feathered. About a week ago, mom started acting anxious, and I noticed the chicks avoiding her. I allowed mom to go back to the original flock as it seemed she wanted at that time, but she was viciously attacked in front of me and quickly went back to the chicks. Keep in mind that nothing but a fence separates the two flocks, but they won't accept her now. It is almost like jealousy. Fours days ago a hen from the original flock got into the brooding paddocks, I let it continue to observe the situation; and within moments with a crazy look in her eye, she started chasing the chicks. Mom stayed clear of the situation entirely, seemingly scarred.

That is where I am at now (separated flocks), and this is my plan:

I will continue to try and introduce mom back to the old flock, but either way, I just have to keep the peace until fall at which time the original flock will be culled, including mom. (This after fattening up in the 1/6 acre end-season human gardens) I will then find someones cast away cockerel of this white rock variety to bring in new genetics next spring and hope for a new broody hen; which is a trait I will continually breed into their genetics..

Depending on how deep, or purist one wants to be with producing there own chicks naturally;;; I also have the idea to keep two different flocks going at all times so I don't need to find new genetics. In my small paddock system consisting of seven paddocks measuring 16x32 on 1/10 acre or so, I would want two 3-4 bird flocks as to not stress the land. All the same species, none of this petting zoo from the farm store crap. A sustainable population of true gold layers.

Finally, I asses that it will take months for a hen to go broody again, and maybe even a yearly spring then? Thus a double setting seems unlikely in a season.

One might say, "get an incubator," to which I would say, "*************, no thanks, technology is great, where it is truly needed. Any hen should be genetically able to rear young, or not have a place on this planet any more than GMO."

Some would say, "why cull your rooster so soon," to which I would say, "I was being respectful of my neighbors giving them a quiet season, and eliminating a very aggressive rooster that drew blood several times; and ************* because "I" unlike many am not a pre-expert on anything I have not experienced. It was total hind site issue considering not enough of the eggs hatched to provide what I feel is a good number for my personal square footage.

Tonnes of details are left out, so, assumptions won't progress the knowledge we as humans have a responsibility to compound upon; questions however, are a spectrum of color in the light of this world.

Best of luck to all those sincere in people care...

On a personal note, I hope this furthers your goals Bill, have a good one.
5 years ago
Marianne, it does look nice in photo form, but I am certain the walk from the deck to inside involves either shoe removal or a ritual tread checking... Ha.

I personally listened to many on the subject of chicken fencing before settling with what none recommended... 4' chain link... No one recommends it because they can fly right over it. But with basic nail care, (wing clipping with only the problem birds) I have had essentially zero problem with my white rocks leaving their daily paddock. They also recognize the security and want to stay inside.

Thus, in your circumstance with the grapes, and the deck, maybe basic wooden trellis (4' is fine especially with the added height of the grapes growing) around the deck. Then, possibly a basic gate even three foot at your stair locations or walk outs, that will slow their progress to the human space of clean feet? No electric needed.

Maybe my thoughts don't fit with your ideals, but chickens are easily grounded to a coop, and easily penned with proper nail care. And, please keep in mind if wing clipping bothers you; one chicken is often an example for the rest (at least in my experience), thus, minimizing any extra stresses. Heck, that is how grade school works in this world...

Best of luck.
5 years ago
Well Dan, everything can be improved. But I can't think of anything right now? Keep in mind that your layout will be different, as we like to say in the Permies world, it depends.

The hens might spend two hours a week in the tractor through summer here; again, this is just to trim the paths between my wondering polycultured beds. This translates into ten minutes of work a week for me, and nearly eliminates my need to mow in that area, thus function stacking. Chicken tractoring for me is a "stay out of the gardens while doing a job for me" kind of a thing, and they also love the field trips it gives them. Others try to sustain their birds in a tractor, not a healthy idea... I also use the tractor for slaughter time.

So my human gardens are already separate. The 7 chicken paddocks sit on approximately 1/10 of an acre, and my gardens sit on about 1/6 of acre. All spring/summer the hens get bounced from one paddock to another, all fall/winter the paddocks rest while the hens free range the human gardens. So I already do what you are saying by separating the chicken action from the home grow beds.

I just had a clutch of six chicks, these chicks will partially replace the hens I will slaughter this fall. I am personally trying to get to the point where I barely feed the chickens from the store, so that means I must keep my flock the size that the land can sustain. In addition, all food from Catalyst Coop is given away for free, thus more birds does not make sense for me at all. It would require more bag feed, cause too much harm to the land, and then give away lesser quality food.

This is a great system, I assure you. These hens are happy as all get out and this will get even better as things mature in the chicken paddocks. They know they are safe here, and that shows in many ways. Not to mention the ease of use of this system; which, will get even easier as I install automatic doors.

There is video of the paddocks at catalystcoop.com, as well as a smash up video showing progress of the site; none of it is good video.

If you have any money at all, your system will shine. Mine is built from a dumpster on less than poverty level income.

Enjoy,

5 years ago
Hi Dan.

I think this basic post/article might give you some idea of what your idea looks like in practice. http://catalystcoop.com/2013/09/16/rotational-paddocks-and-chicken-tractor-madness/

There are many more details than the post provides, but it gives a solid basis for the thought of permanent paddocks in a "wagon wheel" paddock setup.

Here, the chickens are only allowed free range in the 'people garden' through fall and winter to eat up the bugs. Through the summer they get tractor time along the paths, but are generally in there own chicken garden paddocks. I am still feeding bag food, but less and less as things mature.

Hope it helps.
5 years ago
Here in Kansas it is utterly illegal to move them, including the need to clean out live wells and the hull of your boat before leaving a lake. But, considering the Michigan area is close to where they were first introduced in to North American waters, then maybe the laws have settled in your region since it was a loosing battle from the get go?

Simply being a filter feeder, as mentioned, is enough not to use them as well. Our waters are simply not clean enough to not expect a transfer of the toxins.

Otherwise, you are thinking along the right path, and was definitely worth investigating.
5 years ago
Hey Permies,

When I can't help myself by finding the information I need, I come to the mecca of permologist's...

Two days ago my broody White Rock hatched six chicks out of ten eggs. This was great news on many fronts, two of them being "no-work free chicks," and "a loud and aggressive rooster in the pot."

In hind site: I needed to hatch at least 10 birds to keep my flock of 8 reproducing sustainably (approx. thinking of roosters), I have 6. My other hens will lay fertile eggs for two weeks now, but that would be way to soon to set the broody girl on another clutch right? Best case, 2 weeks of fertility, then a week of storage before setting her down on the eggs.

So has anyone been working in this area? I would guess a hen could hatch at least two clutches a year...? So how long before I separate her from her chicks, then set her down to work again while still allowing for plenty of rest?

Thanks in advance folks,
5 years ago
The uploader didn't catch the laid back me, so here you have it. May patience be with me...
5 years ago
And this would be me, myself, and my character painted with polk weed berries. Spirals also tend to show up on things around here?
5 years ago
Pics of the old and new "sink" from the SE perspective. Check out all the micro-climates!
5 years ago
Hello again Permies,

I have met a few wonderful people from this posting some of which I continue to be in contact with and several visitors. So since it has been two years since my last picture and ideal update I thought I might 'resolve' my last post (since there is no way to delete or edit it?) and dawn a new view.

My name is Jay, I live in Kansas where I have been slowly (frugally) constructing my ideal space on a single acre four miles outside of town since October of 2011. Too date the list of accomplishments is great, a few being a 7 spoked wagon-wheel-paddock style chicken system with companion tractor and fenced garden for winter grazing, a small but useful 240v solar backup, large earth sculpturing/woody beds/catchment etc, maturing soil conditions, polycultured and compounding, annual wild crafting, and plenty of grunts, moans, and stiff muscles.

Next up is a new water well and water tower, and a solar dehydrator amongst others.

The home here is a 1000sqft standard home, minus the clothes dryer, microwave, TV, and central heat/air. I participate in “modern” homesteading with my meaning essentially being “technology is good, just not always better.”

With that said, the hippie in me is only a small aspect; I am a metal head, cowboy, artist/creator, philosopher, lover, humanitarian, warrior for the down trodden, and a farmer. I am Not a pacifist, a traveler, rich, have rich parents, famous, or capable of leaving where I live - due to my daughters ages, 8 and 12 - to go live in a hut or wonder through the woods for months on end.

I am indeed looking for a companion in life here at Permies, a 'woman' companion. Fellas, please give a friendly hi, but I'm just not there brother, so not to friendly now... She will understand the need to participate ethically in the economy while seeing a better way. She will be capable of passion, not passive or hiding from emotions, and she will be a woman smaller than me. I rarely weigh more than 140-5'/10'. She will appreciate many concepts in line with permaculture obviously, also meritocracy, resource based ideology and transitions, spiritual not religious direction, introversion, and a distaste for undeserved handouts.

To contact me is easy, do it right here on this post, a private message, or mor4humanity@live.com. Just include Permies Singles in the subject line.

There should be plenty of questions, because I barely said anything here.

I will include some updated pictures below of the farm and I if i can figure this site out again.


I do not really participate in this site other than gulping free information, and of course here on the singles page. I have my reasons, but let it be known to the team: Thank you Permies and Paul, and your dailyish email is great as well! Someday I hope to buy something, in the mean time know you are appreciated.
5 years ago