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Daniel Johnson

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since Jun 12, 2015
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Recent posts by Daniel Johnson

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15) She was not thin according to the healthy size charts I have seen. She had a full stomach and food left in her bowl
16) I noticed quite a few dark marks on her belly. We did not cut the teeth. So she suffered a number of small wounds down there. Death from infection?
2 years ago
13) The hay we used on the ground was old, but dry. Mouse droppings were in the corner of the barn. The barn had not been used for at least 2.5 years by any other farm animal.
14) We used a water barrel with a bit of risk. It is a blue barrel, and had standing water at the bottom of it. My wife has a good nose and she smelled nothing. We cleaned it out with vinegar thoroughly.
2 years ago
Another mistake partly budget partly laziness is we meant to treat her for external parasites in the summer with an oil/garlic mix of some sort.
2 years ago
I ventured into our little barn to feed our sow and she was somewhat cold to the touch. She was alive and kicking last night. We have 5 little pigs that are 4 weeks old. We are new at pigs, but apparently we still have more learning to do. Here is what we are doing:
1) The mother and young were on grass in a make shift farrowing crate for the first 1.5 weeks.
2) Afterwards we moved them into an enclosed barn with one gate open to the air for 2.5 weeks.
3) She has had constant access to clean water. The piglets have not.
4) I just read that I was suppose to have water available to the piglets. I was planning on putting that in today!?
5) The barn is big enough for them to have a dirty area and their clean area.
6) I have swept out the barn once since I moved them in and replaced all of the hay on the ground (2 bales)
7) I have been giving her maple leaves from a tree, whole corn stalks from the garden, and a mash of soaked barley with a little bit of kelp, molasses, apple cider vinegar, alfalfa pellets, pig pellets added in. For the first week in the barn I probably should have fed her more, but quickly gave her an all you can eat supply of food after that big mistake.
We have never given the animals any vaccines, medicines, or treatments
9) She has grown up on rotational paddocks since we have had her in the spring moving every 1-15 days.
10) She had watermelon last night.
11) I know some wean their pigs pretty early so at least I have a head start
12) I just dumped a gallon of cows milk in for the little piglets. I will head into town tomorrow and get some kind of milk replacer.

What happened to my sow?

What are my next steps for the piglets?
2 years ago
I am failing on my google searches for this simple answer. I would like to slaughter and butcher our first pig this saturday (kunekune). The weather forecast is 62 F high / 39 F low slightly cloudy with 10% chance of rain. Is that just cold enough to avoid the flies or should I postpone it? Thanks!
2 years ago
To elaborate a little more on the fencing I have an outer perimeter fence around my whole property. Most of it is sufficient I think. So the hog panel paddock system would either be closed into a loop while in the center of my fields, or opened up to wider areas when connected to the perimeter fence.
3 years ago
Is there anyone else that is even doing this? I haven't been able to find much online. Here is what I am hoping to do. I would love to hear any thoughts from any of you.

I would like to combine 2-4 pigs with the 4 sheep we have on a rotational paddock system. I know this poses quite a few challenges. These are primarily for food production, and improving the soil/land, and maybe even working up a pond in the back with the pigs through the process of gleying.

Here is a portable shelter concept I think can work  
 Basically taking 1-2 hog panels and bending them in a half circle then connecting them to the perimeter of the fence or a t-post or two for stability. A tarp would go over the top, and another would go on the back. To keep it lightweight I have rigged up a chain that connects them together at the bottom instead of wood. Here is a big challenge that I am not sure how to tackle: Right now we are herding our sheep from the paddock they are in to the barn every night for protection against predators. A good youtube video on the subject made this a very easy process for us. However, if we add pigs into the system would we be able to have them follow the sheep into the barn at nights? I think it makes sense for them to stay in the barns until they are out of coyote munching range which I have been told is about 100lbs. I don't believe mountain lions venture into my property so I am willing to gamble on that.

Ideally I have a hose within distance at all times to the paddock that is connected to a pig nipple, so that system would be automatic. For the sheep I was thinking of keeping a taller bucket available. Perhaps the bucket could be hanging off of a sturdy part of the fence, or even throwing a cinder block inside of it to keep it weighed down to make it harder for the pigs to tip over. The challenge would be making sure that the sheep have clean water available to them if they don't use the pig nipple. I have a black water trough that is about 12 inches high and 3 feet by maybe 1.5 feet, would pigs dirty that up if I tried using that?

90%+ forage within the paddocks. I have access to a lot of apples from the neighbors and plan on having extra vegetables to throw in for the pigs mainly. I do not want to buy any pig feed, but might use some cheap barley at the very end. I know that growing them off of forage takes longer and I am okay with that.

We have 4 suffolk mixed sheep since that is what we have in the area. For pigs we are thinking of the american guinea hog and/or the tamworth. We want a docile breed of pig for my petite wife as well as my young kids 3 at the ages of 3-9. Also the pig breeds above are suppose to be excellent with foraging which is crucial in this system.

Here is where it gets tricky. I like the idea of using hog panels maybe 4-8 different 16 ft hog panels connected with carabiners. This would be much easier to move around in my mind then an electric fence system. If the pigs/sheep are being moved every 2-3 days onto fresh forage I think that would keep them pretty happy. If the pigs start pushing on the fencing I could simply attach some cinder blocks with some wire hooks on the outside of the panels. I am most hesitant about using panels as it does not easily scale up, nor do I know anyone that has tried this. The electric fencing would scale easier if we wanted to add more animals into the mix next year. However, we are just starting out our small permaculture farm systems, and those hog panels will have some use later for sure. After typing this out it occurred to me the electric fencing route would make the nightly travel to the barn unnecessary.

If you know of anyone doing this please give a shout! If it works I will do my best to post a video.

3 years ago
I have a similar related problem with blackberries. I had the last forage harvest and have a bunch of green, moldy, overripe, etc bits leftover. My technique is to take some clippers and drag a tarp behind me as I just clip off the large bunches and bring them back to a seating area to sort them out cluster by cluster. Right now I have a box of blackberry bits by the shop I don't know what to do with... but I would like to have them removed in some areas of the land and eventually be in another area (after I get my planning done).
4 years ago
We got a bunch of apples and pears foraging from the neighbors. Besides picking through all the bits and pulling out the seeds and drying them are their other ideas for saving the seeds till next spring? Even if I didn't want to save them throwing these in the compost sounds like a bad idea. I don't yet have any animals, but I think having chickens would be a good option for the composting route.

Do some people dig a little ditch and throw a bowl of apple/pear cores in there and dig out the starts next year? Or just directly throw them in areas they would like to have trees down the road? Or...?

Permaculture is about minimal effort so I am wondering if someone else has heard of a good idea here.
4 years ago
Thanks for the information everyone. I would definitely like to connect with more permies minded folks in the area.
5 years ago