Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!

Noel Baker

+ Follow
since Dec 12, 2012
Apples and Likes
Apples
Total received
0
In last 30 days
0
Total given
0
Likes
Total received
1
Received in last 30 days
0
Total given
0
Given in last 30 days
0
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Noel Baker

I've taken a local beekeeping class, and my first 2 nucleus should be here around May. One hive I'm getting from my dad who is splitting a hive, the other I'm buying locally from the instructor of the class. I live in Oklahoma, and from what I can find, top bar and warre hives are few and far between. I've heard different theories about cell size and if your bees were raised in a langstroth, you need to keep using a langstroth. Since I'm starting all new, I really don't want to use anything but Warre hives. I'm not so much into this for honey as I am to help pollinate my trees and gardens.

Have any of you successfully taken bees from a langstroth hive and moved them into Warre (or even top bar hives) without any problems?
6 years ago
When we got our chickens, I got some Black Copper Marans, some Rhode Island Reds, the second round I got more BCM's and some Australorps. What we found from people buying eggs, they all want the dark, black speckled Black Copper Maran eggs, though as far as I can tell, they all taste the same. So we made the decision to start selling off our other breeds, bought a small incubator and hatching our own on a small scale. Since its winter here, we keep the newly hatched chicks in a box indoors for around 3 weeks. They they go out to the garage in a 2x6 ft brood box. Just for fun, when I got to doing the math, those stupid 250watt heat lamps cost $12.36/month EACH! We have to keep one on the chicks indoors, and on the older ones in the garage, they require 2 lamps to keep warm. Thats close to $40 a month just to keep stupid chickens warm! The moral of the story: don't hatch chicks over the winter. Here's the other problem, chickens are abusive little monsters. You can't put your 3 week old chicks in with your 2 month old, they'll get the hell beat out of them. So now I need a hatching box, a brood box, and since they're not big enough to go into the coop with the adults, an inbetween box. So I'm in the process of building a tractor, which I'm calling "Chicken Internment Camp". I should finish it up today, and I'm sure within a week I'll find all sorts of problems with the larger tractor model.
6 years ago
I'll start by saying we got our first chickens in June of last year, so keep in mind I'm no expert as I type this stuff. We fed ours commercial starter then grower for the first 2 months. By that time I had found a source for organic feed; I live in Oklahoma and have to drive to a mill in Kansas for feed, nobody in Oklahoma sells or is willing to order organic. My chickens all did fine. I have a friend who raised a small batch of Australorps and bought a little bit of organic grower from me, he started his chickens on it at around 1 month old, his have all done fine.

As far as I'm concerned the first rule of chicken housing is try to make it pretty, or your wife is going to hate it. Just because I live in Oklahoma doesn't mean it has to look like it belongs in a trailer park. Now before I started building, I hadn't read Paul's treatise on paddock shifting chickens, so here's what I did:




I got the idea from a book published by Backwoods Home, where you set up your coop so chickens can exit either side. One year you let them out into a run on one side, then the next year they get the run on the opposite side. The idea is they poop and kill every bit of insect and vegetation to prepare your garden. Their waste you just shovel out one side and you have a ready made compost heap you can just drag into whatever side you're planting. And rainbows will shine overhead, unicorns will show up and poop marshmallows too.

What I do like about it, its off the ground. At least this way when there is a foot of snow on the ground, the chickens can go underneath and get real dirt to scratch around on. What I don't like about it: Its hard to get underneath to rake out the poop and straw that falls through. I wish I had made it a bit higher, but many of the dimensions of the coop were dictated by what material I had around the house, not what suited it best. The compost idea doesn't work so well. Sure I get a lot of poo and straw from the coop, but it turns out just dragging it out of the coop, then rotating the compost pile, then moving said compost into the garden is a lot of handling of poop. I'll discuss what I would do differently later. Also, I call the structure "Chicken Fortress 2000", because I was really worried about raccoons with superhuman strength who can tear poultry netting and have the intelligence to dismantle my coop. I dug a trench 1 ft into the ground around the bottom, put up chain link fence around the base, then put hardware cloth over that (since raccoons can reach through chain link), then concreted all that into the trench, one foot in the ground. I then sat back and dared any animal to try to dig underneath or break in by any means. Turns out my chickens just fly over the run fencing, and they coyotes get them when they're outside. This prompted me to put a bit taller fencing on it, so now the run/garden is almost 7 ft tall. By sheer luck I did buy cheaper green vinyl covered wire, which hides pretty well and doesn't look too gawdy.

My chickens do get to free range when I'm home, when I'm gone there are just too many predators. We didn't clip their wings because we thought if one of them gets out and is being chased by a coyote, it would be beneficial for the chicken to be able to fly. The problem/benefit with keeping them in one area is they kill any vegetation. So now if I plant a bed of asparagus or any other perennials, now you have to keep the chickens out of that bed when they're rotated back in. In the beds at the base of my cute little gate, I'm planting grapes and strawberries, I'm hoping it looks kick ass when covered in grape vines. But now I need to find a way to keep the stinking chickens out of it...year round.



So what would I do differently? The composting is too much work. The solution would be to get pigs to move the compost around. I haven't been able to talk my wife into getting pigs yet, and even if she was onboard, I still have to fence the other side of the coop before we plant our garden this year. I've never raised pigs, but I'm guessing they need a lot more fencing than chickens do. Instead of handling the compost more, I would leave the stairs off the back side to where I can just pull up with my atv and cart and fill the cart rather than making a pile on the ground then moving around the pile. If I had a skid steer or tractor with a bucket (on my wish list) I would put the chickens far away from the garden. We are about to deal with the problem of keeping chickens out of the food forest. We're planting quite a few fruit trees, and its just a matter of time before we have to figure out how to keep the chickens out of the trees and out of the mulch. Lots of other small problems I really don't have solutions to.
6 years ago
My chickens don't seem to go outside much when the ground is frozen, snow or not. It can be cold and sleeting/raining and the little morons will stay out all day so long as the ground is still soft enough for them to scratch. When I built "chicken fortress 2000" it was before I read Paul's article on paddock shift, I built the coop a few feet off the ground, with the below ground area fenced. They can get underneath whenever they like and scratch for food that has fallen from their food bowls up above. The ground there is usually much more dry, and as the straw falls through it doesn't really stick to the ground. My opinion is the result is they can get undeneath even when the ground is frozen solid and feel like they're scratching around. Even when they can go outside, they tend to hang out inside or go underneath.
6 years ago
This podcast was beyond awesome! Not too long ago I discoverd a local pig farmer who raises happy, healthy pigs and the taste of the meat is incomparable to any commercial pork product. After hearing Brandon's explanation as to how meats are cured in America along with how bad quality the meat is, I'm glad to know its not all in my head!
I was pretty thrilled by the podcast and review as well. So everyone says its a lot of info for a level 2 gardener, I think of myself as a level 0 gardener. Paul mentioned in the podcast, if you're not taking a soil sample correctly, there's no point in taking the sample, you're just getting bad info. For anyone who's watched the DVD, do they get as basic as showing you how to take a sample? If they just talk about how to fix soil, can someone point me to a resource that tells a proper way to take a soil sample?

Yeah, meaning to get more on the way, that order was from my state nursery, they are native trees. Definitely on the list is a few Linden trees for my bees. Right now about every inch of my property has oaks or hickory on it, many of them dying due to a really bad ice storm in 07 that broke the tops out of most of the trees. Eventually I want lots of peach, walnut and apples among others, but I want to see if I can keep this lot alive first.

I was interested in burying wood and making a hugle-hole if you will, wasn't sure if that was okay to do. So bury like a 3 ft deep by 4 ft round hole and fill with dead wood and topsoil? Should I worry about over watering?
6 years ago
I just ordered a bunch of seedlings. Yes, I know Paul is big on planting from seed, but apparently my thumb isn't that green. I can get a seed to sprout, but it seems to die soon after. So I ordered some black locust, mulberry and American plum trees, they're supposed to be around 20 inches tall when I get them.

Are there any hard and fast rules for planting them? I've read not to plant them deeper than the original root line. Is it a good idea to make a big hole and fill it with topsoil so it has a nice area of non-compacted dirt or will that make for a weak root structure later on? Any certain time of year that works better than others? I'm in zone 7 and my soil is mostly a sandy loam if that helps any.

Thanks for the input!
6 years ago
I'm on my first flock of my chicken empire. My older chickens are about 7 months, but I have some younger ones that are only about 4 months old. I was worried about the younger ones keeping warm so I made sure to give them a couple heat lamps. Little did I realize this confuses the roosters. They go in at night and roost, sleep for a few hours, then wake up in the middle of the night, see light and decide they need to start crowing at 330-4am. We are just now getting into the really cold temps and I'm afraid it would be too sudden of a change to remove the lights now. As soon as I can, I'm taking the lights out and they're staying out.
6 years ago
Thank you! So my first question is "how deep do you make the swale". And the official permaculture answer is "it depends". I'm sure it depends on how steep the hill is, what kind of soil do you have, how much rainfall do you get and a host of other issues I'm sure.

I do get heavy spring rain (usually) and my first concern is erosion. That the swale is going to fill up, wash over the dirt mound and flood everthing down the hill. So is it possible you can dig the swale too deep? After watching Lawton's video, I assume so, especially since you're wanting to grow stuff in the soft earth above the ditch. If its too deep the water isn't going to soak into the root area right?

Lets say I cut my swale, plant all my goodies and sit and wait for rain. As the rain continues I nervously watch my swale and notice its holding too much water and I'm worried about it running over. Presumably I can always cut my swale out further on the ends, and for that matter dig a small holding pond for the water to run into just to keep the water from running over the soft dirt?
6 years ago