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Jennifer Kremp

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since Aug 23, 2014
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Recent posts by Jennifer Kremp

Oops, forgot to add one thing: meat birds will either not want to roost, or will roost lower than the layers. Unfortunately if they do get up high they'll break legs getting down.
You may need to keep very low roosts for both sets of birds, or make sure the meaties have a clean area that isn't directly below roosting poles.
5 years ago
Hi Katrin,
I just love the wealth of info on this thread. I also know how hard it can be to handle significant disability (in my case a daughter). And books! Books! I love them, but what others have said about the internet is true -- the best info I've found has been from doing lots and lots of searches. You get a tiny grain of good useful info from each one. And for what it's worth, having spent around $400 on books, I still haven't found any that provide a really great and thorough 'how to' for food forest production near me. Even a book is only useful for that tiny grain of info it might have that's different to other sources and that adds to the knowlege bank incrementally... But mote by mote you get your mind around the whole. And then suddenly, it all makes sense, and you can dive in. (No, I'm not there yet...)

Basically I'm saying, spend your time building up the knowledge bank in small bits, experiment in small bits, and make yourself ready for the change when you're able to bring it about. (Besides, in a future permie economy those with knowledge might be as or more useful than those with trees!!)

So even if there's no acreage on the horizon, build up the bank of personal know-how, do tiny-scale practicing in your apartment/flat/park, and you'll find all that small scale rehearsing helps heaps later.

A silly example, but here goes: I decided a few months ago to learn to weave to eventually make a wattle-and-daub hut for chooks, sorry, chickens. I looked up online everywhere I could about how to weave twigs, and made a miniature version to suit guinea pigs. It was pretty wonky and terrible, really, but I learned a lot and would definitely be able to construct a fair-enough kind of chook pen. (Sorry, chicken pen.) Even usefulness aside, weaving is absolutely calming for the mind. I recommend it!!! Great for zoning out while still making something. You can feel better about life and a day gone by if you've made one basket! Honest...

Back to internet — unfortunately I've also noticed that Google is tending to shunt the most neutral and 'free' info to the last pages (if there at all) while commercial interests climb higher up. Sigh. So get in now, while you still can, and do lots of searches, before all the great noncommercial stuff disappears or stops working properly due to throttling (I'm not sure what's happened to, but I can no longer look up anything on it...).

For just starting out with building a knowledge bank, I reckon focus on just a few or 2 little things, one a type of animal, one a vegetable/fruit. Learn how to grow and tend those two things (preferably ones that will work in the zone/climate you might one day inhabit). Don't worry if it fails! Change the thing that failed or work out a new way. Keep it simple! When you get good at those two things (even if it's just, say, raise guinea pigs in the laundry and one potted miniature apple tree on a balcony) pick 2 more things and get good at those. I should add, growing chia in pots might be more helpful than apples (though I love apples). And... don't sweat the big things. They're going to happen anywhere (like Roundup on kerbsides). People won't listen... Reserve your energies for yourself and people who might be more open to ideas so you don't have to waste effort arguing...

There now, I've been horribly bossy... Hope you can ignore what doesn't ring true for you. I really really feel for you -- but try to keep your sights on the nearest achievable goal (like 'today I'm going to learn to do one thing'), and slowly and incrementally you should be able to make it to the big ones.

And then again, just... hugs. Life can be so horribly difficult. You sound amazing to have managed what you've had to manage.

Chancy (Australia)
5 years ago
Hi Jared,
raising meat chicks under layers (if they're the kind that do go broody) can work, but isn't without drama, for instance other adult hens may be quite cruel to the free range meaties. The meaties may have trouble getting away from persistent aggressors. Then again if the broody is protective and the meaties are fairly mobile, it should turn out okay. Just be sure to keep a lot of feeders for chicks to access. You may want to put upturned milk crates on the chicks' feeder to keep the layers off it.

Also make sure you don't feed layer feed as the chicks won't do well on it (it may harm their kidneys from too much calcium; also the protein is a little low). And if you use higher protein low calcium feed for both layers and meaties, then you'll need to supply an extra calcium source (e.g. shell grit in free access hoppers) for the layers, so they can make eggshells. (Sorry if you know all this!) But it's all do-able.

One more thing, I find raising chicks under hens is the best way to give chicks early exposure and early immunity to coccidiosis. Another help is fermented feed. It really strengthens the gut, and meaties seem to have thinner gut linings, so the more you can do against cocci the better. Meat chicks can be particularly prone to coccidiosis because of their high metabolism, breeding for meat (at cost of immune system) and also the fact that they eat so much, and therefore ingest more soil/droppings. And of course they don't roam as far, so the droppings are more concentrated.

If you artificially raise the meaties (in which case I wouldn't put them with layers in the same pen -- introduction once they're older is complicated), make sure they have cocci exposure from day one (e.g. a handful of hen pen soil tossed in the nice clean brooder will help) and try to raise chicks on new ground each batch.

I found either way (under hens or artificial brooding then pasture pens) works, but have issues... If you go with artificial brooding and then putting into pasture pens, cocci will be your biggest concern (and maybe predation). With all the chickens together your biggest concern will be getting the layers to play nice... In both cases things can be managed quite well, with a little effort.

Hope this helps, and once again apologies if it's all stuff you already knew...

best wishes
5 years ago
Hi Jerry,
I'm glad it's working -- I did this for years, but more elaborately. Cardboard is great at containing heat.

There are lots of ways to raise chicks without electricity. My favourite is a wood-sided 'cold brooder' or 'hay box brooder', commonly used in the 1930s.
If you ever find yourself battling lower temperatures, I can vouch for a haybox brooder, properly built (4 wood sides with drilled vent holes near the top along each wall and a doorway in the middle of one side, a circle of mesh inside attached to the door-hole, and hay stuffed between circle and box walls; drape a hessian sack on top to make it cosy; put it somewhere safe from rats or other predators and under cover). I've used a hay box brooder down to just below 40F outside (overnight). You have to make sure there are enough chicks to fill the mesh circle and you have to let them out and pop them back in (closing the door or stuffing something into the entrance) four times a day for the first week, then they learn how to do it themselves. As they grow, you raise the box on blocks, and/or increase the size of the mesh circle. It's hard work for a week, then it's easier than anything and best of all, no worries if the power goes out.

Anyhow, what you're doing proves there are lots of ways... And as long as there's a balance between ventilation, insulation, and chick numbers (you can't cold brood small numbers of chicks so well because they're not producing enough heat), and as long as you know your weather, you can do just fine with no extra heat.

5 years ago