Leora Laforge

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since Nov 26, 2015
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Recent posts by Leora Laforge

John Bowen wrote:You are aware that you can trim the combs and wattles of both the hens and the roosters right? When I raised chickens in Montana that was one of the fall rituals was making sure their combs were trimmed to prevent frost bite and make it easier for them to keep warm. The comb loses an incredible amount of heat in the wintertime. Look at the ring neck pheasant or any other cold weather surviving fowl. No combs to speak of on any of them. Remember, all domesticated chickens were bred and developed from Jungle Fowl where the comb was critical to help cool off the bird. Not keep it warm.

How do you trim combs and wattles? I have never heard of this before. is there some kind of burn or freeze technique? I can only image a bloody mess trying to cut them off with a knife. I try to select for small combs and wattles and when I don't select right the tips can get frostbitten and fall off.
2 months ago
I second what Elliot said. A livestock guardian has no instinct for chasing or retrieving. That is why they are safe around vulnerable livestock without training.

However I know lots of farm dogs that are retrievers or collies. With a bit of training they understand that free ranging chickens or other livestock belong to their people and are not to be chased or attacked. If your livestock are close to your house, a hound dog could be trained to leave your animals alone, and they would naturally defend their territory from other predators.

3 months ago
I put my vote in for chickens. I have taken down a few large ant hills by dropping a full chicken tractor on top for a day. My method has been, first thing in the morning shift the tractor on top of an ant hill and take it off in the evening. When it comes off I can't see any ants at all, and the hill will be leveled by the scratching. It doesn't completely kill them, there are still a few left underground, but it takes months before they manage to build a noticeable hill.  I used meat chickens, layers would probably be even better because they are more interested in scratching.

Poultry manure also makes grass grow incredibly thick.
6 months ago
Chokecherries, when ripe, are a dark enough purple that they look black. You might have pincherries there. Chokecherry and crabapple jelly is my favourite, pincherries would probably be good for that too. They would probably be good mushed and dried into fruit leather, although you would want to be sweetening them somehow.
6 months ago
Cows are only in estrus for 2-3 days in a 21 day cycle. A bull will be able to tell which days she is receptive based on smell. Your young bull might not be showing any interest because your cow is not interested in him at the moment. Based on the picture where he looks to be in very poor condition, he may not have the energy to do the job, but that is pretty unusual. You could get a vet to semen test your young bull, they could tell you definitively if he is worth keeping. If you do go the route of using the 4 year old bull, it might be easier to bring your cows to the bull than the bull to you.
6 months ago
The clear bottle should work fine, but there are a few thigs to be careful of. The roots might be damaged by sunlight when the plant gets too big for the pot, so the plants will either have to be repotted in larger pots or planted into the ground, as soon as the roots reach the side of the pots. The other issue is drainage, we use 2 litre milk cartons for plants, occasionally plants in them are overwatered and unable to drain which will start unwanted mold growing on the surface of the soil. This is issue could be resolved by cutting drainage holes in the bottom of the containers.
Hey, I have a a few answers for you. Your phosphorus and magnesium levels are high because of the horse manure that was left there. This is a normal result of overapplication of manures. Usually the biggest issue with manure overapplication is runoff into waterways. At this point I think the only thing to do would be add carbon, which you are doing with the mulch.

If you want to add lime then, yes, just sprinkle it on top. It will work its way down whenever it rains.

For fertilizer you want just nitrogen. You could get that through inorganic applications, or I would suggest a cover crop of nitrogen fixing legumes; clover, alfalfa, and vetch would all be good.
8 months ago
I haven't charged much. The most I have ever taken was $25 per day, when there were 2 geriatric dogs that needed arthritis medication, specific diet for weight loss, and 2 short walks per day because the vet had advised that. Also a geriatric cat on a special diet. And 3 horses, but those were fine on pasture.

I pretty much take what is offered, most of these people have closer neighbours who would do it for free with the expectation that the favour would be returned.
8 months ago
Sheep can have some strong flavours, that you might not like. A large factor is what the animal has been eating for the past few months. These flavours will be in the fat. It is pretty common to cut off every bit of fat and then grind up the meat with fatty pork. You can also try it as is, who knows you might like it.
8 months ago
I have been doing this. I am good with animals and have the flexibility in my schedule. So my retired neighbours ask me to stay at their place when they take vacations. It works well all the way around. I get a free place to stay for a while, and they don't worry about their house and critters. I am at their house overnight so I can do morning and evening chores. When I am not housesitting I am at my mothers farm, where I have all my permie projects.
There hasn't been much call for housesitting lately though due to covid. I might end up getting too many animals of my own to be leaving overnight, by the time a vaccine comes out and people go back to travelling.

Edited to add. I have been doing exactly what Skandi described.
8 months ago