Ci Shepard

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since Apr 06, 2015
Vancouver Island, BC
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Recent posts by Ci Shepard

Seaweed is a great idea!
As far as the fish floss - too much work. When herring season comes, I will freeze the fish on trays so they stay separate and I can pullout just the amount I need. If the chickens will eat them raw, that seems the easiest way, plus it gives them something to do, picking at the carcasses.

Soldier fly grubs, red wigglers and mealworms - all seem easily do-able and I can feed these things to my ornamental fish as well.

I'm off to try and find alternate sources of leftover/spoiled foodstuffs - foodbanks, restaurants, maybe some smaller groceries and convienince stores that don't already have takers ...

Thnx for all the ideas!
4 years ago

John Elliott wrote:A suggestion that might work better than freezing the herring -- turn it into fish jerky.  Or use a Chinese "meat floss" recipe, where you cook it in a little oil for a long time and make little dried fish flakes out of it. Once you've processed it, it lasts forever, and the chickens really go for it.



Would a chicken be able to eat a dried fish without chopping it up first? Seems like it would be too tough to peck apart like a fresh/defrosted one.
4 years ago

John Elliott wrote:If you are in an urban area, your local supermarket dumpster has all the forage you need for your chickens.  Every day, the produce department has leaves they have trimmed off the cabbages, apples with a bad spot on them, mustard and lettuce that are a little past their prime, and other items that they have pulled.  Even a small store can provide you with a 30-gallon trash can that chickens will have a great time foraging in.  



I've already asked at my two closest stores ... they have a waiting list for their scraps! I guess suburban livestock keeping is gaining popularity around these parts.

I've added sprouts to my list based on another recent thread, and dead mice. I also have access to a large amount of herring each Spring through work, that I can freeze. I like the idea of putting down boards or pavers to collect insects. Thinking about soldier fly grubs as well.

Thanks and keep the ideas coming, please!

4 years ago
Thanks for that helpful reply, Dan. I'll add pulling up "weeds" by the roots to my list.

I guess my main concern is that if there are mild toxins in a plant, a free foraging chicken may aviod them by instinct, while a penned up bird will eat them out of boredom/hunger and be affected. Possibly the solution is to offer a huge variety each day and not load up too heavily on questionable items like the pyracantha berries ...
4 years ago
I am planning some urban backyard chickens that will be living in a coop with a small run most of the time and I would like to forage food for them while I am out on my neighbourghood walks, here in the PacNW (coastal British Columbia). The goal would be to cut way back on the commercial feed bill with fresh, frozen and dried local plant material from my garden and surrounding spaces. I only have 1/6 of an acre, so not much room to devote to extra chicken feed, though they will be allowed to forage the garden beds and compost area from time to time.
There are plenty of undeveloped lots, woodsy parks, unlandscaped parking lots etc. around here and I can find things like blackberries plus leaves and shoots, wild rose hips, "feral" comfrey, Oregon grape and salal berries, arbutus, hawthorn and rowan berries, fallen apples and pears, wild plums, watercress (called 'ditchweed' around here") and more. Trying to come with an extensive and varied list (realizing I need to be careful about pesticide use).

My question is on berries - specifically pyracantha. I can potentially harvest huge amounts from a neighbours giant hedge. When I google I see that there are plenty of lists that claim it as poinonous, but also anecdotal experiences of people who feed them to chickens with no problem. Does anyone here have first hand info to share on this matter?

Any other good foraging plant ideas would also be welcome!
4 years ago
Thanks for all the opinions, folks. The material is completely charred, so I will save it in a bucket to innoculate. I will consider this biochar and an added benefit to the smoker (which, >omg, where has it been all my life<, makes turkey wings and beef ribs from heaven!!!).
5 years ago

Dale Hodgins wrote:I'm pretty sure that the temperature stated is for the area where the smoked meat goes. The chips would have to be hotter for any sort of charring to happen.



True, the pan sits right on top of an electric element. But I doubt its 400F ... two large handfulls of chips finish charring and smoking in 30 minutes.
5 years ago
I looked closely and broke open a few of the larger pieces and they are black all the way through. The wood chips were pretty small, more like shredded wood.
So, no matter what the size of the starting material it needs the same high temps? I thought I read that you could make biochar out of things like leaves and straw etc. Surely these things would be reduced to ash long before the fire got that hot ... ?
5 years ago
Recently bought a Little Chief Smoker that takes hardwood chips and smokes at low temps (165F, I believe) This is the residue after smoking some meat.
It is not ash, but small slivers of charcoal-ish stuff. Is this biochar? Would it benefit my young almond and olive trees to just sprinkle it around the drip lines?
Should I pee on it first? : )
5 years ago
Chad, I have Azolla in some fountain planters and live in Nanaimo ... you could pick up or I can mail you some.
5 years ago