kerri leach

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since Dec 31, 2013
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hugelkultur fungi chicken
SE IA Zone 5B, Clay highly eroded hillsides
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Recent posts by kerri leach

what does her vulva look like?

have you checked her temp (even though she doesn't appear ill)?

is an ultrasound in the budget or just going to wait it out? she can certainly lamb with the ram in with her if she needs to stay with the group.

she's a Katahdin, she can do anything  like have no bag and still pop out twins!

keep us posted!

Kerri Leach

Awesome. We like it hot too. I may experiment with just how much nettle I can cram in (after what you have concocted which sound terrific) and make it as a winter critter tonic too. Thanks for sharing!
4 years ago
Dave, if you felt inclined to share your recipe for the brassica/nettle ferment I would love to try it. Thanks!
4 years ago
Thank you, Walter. I appreciate your experience. I am wondering as far as chickens eating pigs - this is offal, organs, and other from processing? Frozen, fresh, cooked, or it depends? Are you producing enough pig "extras" to keep your layers happy without much else beyond compost piles and some hay though the winter?

Thanks again! Kerri Leach
4 years ago
A little lardy pig helps with winter. I keep Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black, Tamworth which are not high lard pigs. I have selected them for more ability to put on weight on pasture - to deal with scant calories. People who buy our feeder weaner pigs and put them on a grain diet see them explode as a result. On a high calorie diet they get very lardy. On our diet we get about 1/2" to 1" of back fat depending on season and sex. I would think the Mangalitsa and AGH would do well with this but from what I have heard they have a slower growth rate.


Walter, they DO explode on grain. The Blond Mangalitsa on grain can get to 5" backfat. The Manga grain fed is about a 12-13mo grow out, and no grain could be 18mo, however the management used on some of my breeding stock is growing them slower on much less grain input 4 7 generations, and that slower carcass helps the marbling. They are long and lean, not the typical bubble with 4 little legs poking out. My goal is to keep it under 2" and my chefs are happy with that. I tried to calculate from eggs alone and the Lysine per egg that it would take something like 47 eggs per KG of pig growth (if 100% egg diet, which of course makes no sense). The 80% hay, and the rest in various other forage/feedstuff is our current next stage. I have hope that with generations we will see more adaptation to zero grain, and are culling heavily. I think a clamp is in order for future winter root crop feeding for sure. What you have done with the pastures as you describe certainly is our goal, and our poultry and sheep have been helping the pasture improvement for sure.

Have you had experience with any other silages like french mammoth sunchoke or comfrey as a perennial forage source for winter feeding? I would think a 1-2 acre intensely managed crop like this with an old timey forage chopper could provide a lot of winter feed (I think/hope) without having to intensely manage a garden seeding annually.

Do you worry much about winter fat sources, as the whey and hay and stored vegetables would be pretty low (other than their own reserves)?

Thanks Walter! Kerri
4 years ago
hi Grant, Walter and others. I have a question about winter feeding while trying to avoid grain. When one doesn't have whey available, and pigs can't get at roots worms, and grubs, what other suggestions do you have, or observations have you made? I still feed a small amount of grain due to grazing old CRP wih some clover and reed canary. It needs work. My current plan is supplementing my gestating and nursing sows and growers with eggs (ideally running layers on compost and scraps) in addition to fish oil and Fertrell premix. I can hard boil the eggs as they are better for digestion, run through the meat grinder, mix the rest in and feed it out from the freezer. This sounds like a lot of work just to avoid feed, but will hopefully ensure my less than ideal hay will be not so deficient and rate of gain adequate. I run Mangalitsa and AGH. Overkill? Other ideas not so intensive? Thanks so much!! Kerri Leach. SE IA
4 years ago
Hi Victoria and thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! I am wondering if you could share your strategies for management of pasty butt and coccidiosis in young birds? I am always looking for new ideas that are NOP allowed. Also, any of your pearls of wisdom for managing or observing disease states in older birds too if you could? Thank you.
6 years ago
Jami, I read your message again -crossed with Guineas. Have you ever seen them crossed with anything else? Curious as far as retaining the big litters and mothering.
6 years ago
Jami, questions for you:

What area are you located in? What are your Kunes crossed with? Our Guineas seem to have a refractometer in their noses and if those roots are brixing higher (usually the case), they will start to dig. I would ideally have them in the orchard end of season, not digging, but am currently using them to clear old CRP for new pasture and clear regrowth forest into a savannah situation, so they can dig in those areas for now. Do you experience the Kunes not rooting when the pasture is lush?
6 years ago
Grant, it is great you are bringing Ben to IOWA! Thank you so much for making this happen, and spending a week on the site.
6 years ago