Justin Chaddick

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since Dec 30, 2014
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Recent posts by Justin Chaddick

people do range them, and yes if you don't put a barrier on the bottom of the pen they will tunnel. I've heard of people using wire mesh as the bottom barrier. Also sometimes people will hang their cage in the air (Joel Salatin does this over his pigs) and then the rabbit droppings don't accumulate and keep them more hygienic. If you don't want to hang them in the air then deep carbon bedding is a good investment to soak up all the pee an poo and prevent disease.
5 years ago
A great way to get more bang for your heating buck is to double layer the polycarbonate and inflate it! This puts the heating equivalent of a nice fluffy jacket over your greenhouse. We do this at our greenhouse and it easily gives us another 10 deg F without much electricity (just what we use for the small inflation fans). We are also exploring using compost heating with radiant heat exchange loops to keep the greenhouse and water warmer. You could also keep chickens in the greenhouse for added warmth.

Here is a link to a blower so you get an idea of what I'm talking about: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/poly-inflation-fan-kit/polyethylene-film-install-accessories .

I think it definitely possible to keep it above freezing in there but will probably take some heating to get it really warm maybe even a rocket stove.
5 years ago
Hey Tom, I've been working with aquaponics for a few years now, also trying to close the loop. The main consideration with an aquaponic system as opposed to recirculating aquaculture is the presence of the biofilter aka the plant growing beds. These grow beds contain the bacteria that carry out nitrification and allow the plants to absorb the excess nitrogen not consumed by the fish. The removal of this nitrogen is essential to maintaing non-toxic water quality and of course helping to close the loop by utilizing the nutrients not absorbed into the fish (pooped out). I've been growing BSFL on city food wastes with some good success. I'll be writing a thesis this year on growing tilapia with BSFL, duckweed, and algae as 100% of the feed, so I can let you know how that goes!

Avoiding pumps is difficult. You want to recirculate your water once an hour if your @ maximum stocking density, this is to keep the water fresh and oxygenated. Most people opt to not run stocking densities this high because of lots of other problems but I want to illustrate the point that chaining water by hand is infeasible.

Check out Nate Storey's youtube page. He releases tons short videos on aquaponics: https://www.youtube.com/user/NateStorey1. Also check out backyard aquaponics @ http://www.backyardaquaponics.com . As J. Robinson said Aquaculture by McLarney is a a good one for general aquaculture info.

All in all, I will say if you can have a pond and use the ancient chinese pond fertilization method with several feeding levels of fish (top feeders, middle feeders, bottom feeders) it will be 100x easier to maintain and probably yield more too. You can read about that technique in Aquaculture by McLarney as well or Farmers of 40 Centuries.
5 years ago
Hey Steve, there a lot of things to consider when purchasing land, especially with the intention to farm on it. Things like water availability (well, springs, rain runoff ect.), soil fertility, solar aspect, slope, % forested, where the 10,50,100 year flood plains lie are some good considerations. I'd recommend checking out Geoff Lawton's property purchase checklist here: http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/33811-property-purchase-check-list as a primer on some things to consider. Also talk to as many local people as you can when you've found somewhere that looks good and do some investigative work to see if there's anything significant (pollution or otherwise) that you may have overlooked. Good Luck!
5 years ago
Joel Salatin talks about his rabbit operation in "You Can Farm" and it sounds like his rabbits are healthy, hygienic, and disease free so I'd give it a +1 but I haven't actually seen any first hand...
5 years ago
Black soldier fly larvae, duckweed, and algae are all good ways to get more protein (amino acids) and fats while offsetting grain consumption. Chickens love hunting the wiggling bsfl and the ease of harvesting them is a big plus.
5 years ago