Ian Mack

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since Sep 03, 2015
I'm a student studying Sustainable Agriculture and Biology, looking to learn more, especially about livestock and practical application of permaculture and no-till farming.
Northeastern Coast of the U.S.
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Recent posts by Ian Mack

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not a huge fan of this idea. It seems like it will only give people with more money to throw away a greater voice and more influence on what gets talked about.
I see! In that case, only the freshest fruit and vegetable waste for my future piggies!
Thanks for the very informative answers, Walter!
3 years ago

Walter Jeffries wrote:The mycotoxins can kill small pigs and cause miscarriages + dead piglets in gestating sows.


Ah, okay, so it's fine for larger pigs but can upset the smaller ones?
Also, I'm curious about how spent brewer's grain would go for Guinea Hogs. I've heard they tend to do best on pasture and poorly on anything else; would supplementing their diet with SBG just tend to make them obese then?
3 years ago
Well first off, Bradford pears are a cultivar (or subspecies) of the Callery pear. If that's what you think they are, you're probably not wrong; the Callery pear has been very popular as a landscape tree for a number of years because of its environmental tolerance.
And yes, if it has a star-shaped (or 5-pointed or 5-merus) seed cavity that is an almost 100% accurate indicator that it's in the Roseacea family that includes apples, pears, roses, and a number of other plants as well.
3 years ago
Very strange. If you were a bit farther south I could see this happening, especially in humid areas. One of the big issues for bee hives in warm climates is humidity building up and causing fungal or bacterial growth inside the hive. Building a nice open comb like that would allow much more circulation and prevent that sort of thing from happening for the most part. In an area with few to no bee-predators, that might work well.
But in Michigan and Pennsylvania? Plenty of bears and robber flies in those areas, I'm sure, and generally not the warmest places either. Mark me down as stumped.
3 years ago

John Elliott wrote:Garbage. Ideally, whatever they throw in the dumpster at your local supermarket.


This is actually a great idea. I think it was Geoff Lawton who incorporated half-decayed compost into his chicken tractor. Gives them a nice pile to rake through and pick at, and aerates the pile nicely, to say nothing of the manure being added. If you could convince your neighbors to "donate" some of their food waste I'm sure that would help their diet as well. If all else fails, see if the supermarket will let you pick out some of the choicest rotten veggies "for composting" or something like that.
I have to say, I laughed when I realized I'd thought of people eating out of supermarket dumpsters more often than chickens doing the same.
3 years ago
Ah, I misunderstood your question, my fault entirely. There have been some good suggestions by the others in this thread (blackbelly, jacobs, icelandic, shetland) that I think would be worth looking into. That said, I do have another suggestion depending on how much land you're moving onto. Silvopasture!
If you did some selective clearing of trees to open up the forest and let more light get to the understory and ground, then cleared a bit of the leaf litter and planted grasses, you might be able to set up a very nice combination forest and pasture that the sheep would no doubt enjoy an awful lot. Plenty of browsing but a good amount of pasture too. I'm not sure how dense your forests are or how heavily you'd have to clear, but in the long run selective clearing would be a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to clearcut it and you'd have plenty of food for goats and heavy-browsing-light-grazing sheep as well!
I wonder...why do you want sheep? If you're looking at hair sheep, then it's not for fiber, which is why a lot of people prefer sheep over other livestock.
If you just want an animal that can provide meat and milk from just browsing and little-to-no pasture, why not raise goats? They're generally smaller than sheep, but not by much, and they'll provide meat and milk pretty happily with nothing but browsing.
Would it even be an issue feeding the pigs moldy or "sour" spent grains? I've seen them gobble down rotten/moldy fruits and veggies and come back for more on a few of the farms I've visited. Is there a fundamental difference between the molds on grains and the molds on fruits/veggies? Or have the farms I've been to been doing it wrong and just been lucky so far because of antibiotics fed to the pigs?
3 years ago
As you said, carbon dioxide only occurs when there's insufficient oxygen for full combustion. This is most common with larger hydrocarbons like gasoline or wood-stoves that produce sooty yellow/orange flames. Alcohol, particularly methanol (aka wood alcohol), tends to burn with a hot blue flame that produces little to no soot. Since there's only one carbon per molecule of methanol, it's much easier to achieve full combustion and avoid carbon monoxide production. Generally speaking, a small alcohol burner like that should be fine, but as was suggested before, a CO alarm couldn't hurt and it could definitely save your life. Carbon monoxide poisoning isn't noticeable. You don't feel anything but tired, and by the time you finally drift off, it's probably too late. Don't take chances, even if the odds of anything bad happening are pretty slim it's best to be careful.
3 years ago