Leora Laforge

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since Nov 26, 2015
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Recent posts by Leora Laforge

I would suggest not introducing a novel endophyte fescue. It would be outcompeted by the kentucky 31 and disappear within a few years. The kentucky 31 endophyte makes this the toughest grass for the conditions present.

The toxin in the endophyte infected fescue works by constricting blood vessels. To manage cattle ingesting this there are 2 good options. Red clover contains something that dilates blood vessels. If cattle are grazing a mix of fescue and red clover the effects of the endophyte are minimized. Some cattle will be naturally more resistant to the effects of the endophyte. Cull hard for animals that do poorly on this pasture.

Watch animals closely in cold weather. The constricted blood vessels will make them more vulnerable to frostbite.

Introducing eastern gamagrass would probably be a good idea. It is very difficult to shade out legumes with tall grasses, esp vetch tends to respond by growing taller and using vines to support itself.

I like to read a website called on pasture which is all about pasture management one of the authors has published a lot on how he grazes cattle on kentucky 31
4 days ago

elle sagenev wrote:I brought home 2 AGH piglets last fall. One of them coughed and threw up, which caused me great concern. It stopped though. I figured maybe it choked and that was it. Now that it's cold this pig is coughing again. No throwing up this time. Is it because I feed them straight in the dirt? Or is this a BIG problem?

Do they also poop where you feed them? Pigs naturally root so eating some dirt should be fine as long as it is not contaminated with anything. My guess is you feed them on clean dirt.

If the other piglet is not affected it is probably not something contagious. There could be something wrong with its lungs that the cold triggers. If its condition does not get worse I suggest growing it to butcher size them butchering it. Don't keep it as breeding stock in case this is a problem it can pass on.

If it does not eat, drink, or gain weight find a livestock vet or someone with more pig experience to talk to.
1 week ago
You can usually find palm or palm kernel oil in highly processed foods such as; chocolates, cheesy spreads, most margarines, cheap ice cream, cheap processed dairy foods in general. Anything intended to keep skin or hair nice might have palm oil and palm kernel oil in it.

Start reading ingredient lists on these types of things and you will find it frequently. I have been trying to avoid it the last few years too.
1 week ago

Phil Grady wrote:i have geese and chickens, i'm not sure if i have the African or the Chinese, but their big. unfortunately they only produce a verbal warning when there are predators about. they run away as fast as the chickens do.  

Good to know, some geese might run away.
2 weeks ago
I am going to get chickens again this year. Last time I had chickens I had cornish cross, and kept them in tractors. This spring I will get layers. I want them to do more foraging than they would be able to in tractors.

I frequently have foxes and coyotes in the yard so to free range them I will need some sort of guard. I am thinking of getting a few geese with them. I know some people here have both chickens and geese so I would like input on a few things.

Protective ability: I know geese are supposed to defend their territory. The coyotes in my area hunt by themselves mostly and there are always lots of prey in the fields. Would an agressive acting goose be able to chase it away or just look like prey?

Diet: does anyone feed their geese chicken feed? I know geese need less protein than chickens, will they eat too much chicken feed if it is freely available? They would have unlimited access to grass in summer and probably hay in winter. Tell me about any issues with this you have had.

Breed selection: are there breeds of geese that will be more agressive about driving off predators?

Are there any other potential issues I have not thought of?

3 weeks ago
Time to call a plumber.

Get the pipes changed now instead of spring, if possible, so everything is done in one day. Tell the plumber that you flushed something you should not have so they know everything is blocked and bring the equipment they need to snake any drains. The guts might not have stopped in the pipes you want replaced.

Living without working plumbing sucks and waiting will not lower the price to get it fixed.

Good for you for butchering your own chickens. When I do them I throw the guts in my compost. My cats eat some and then coyotes come through and eat the rest. In a city the garbage would be the place to put them.
1 month ago
The article recommended soybean, canola, and cotton seed meal as garden amendments. Not sure about cotton seed but soymeal and canola meal are very commonly included in poultry feeds as a protein source. In garden soil feather meal would be a slow release source of nitrogen. Feather is mostly composed of keratin, a protein, it could be fed to chickens.

Too much fish meal fed to chickens makes the eggs and meat smell and taste fishy, in limited amounts it is a source of protein. If you do not mind the taste in your eggs it would be worth experimenting with if the price is right. It would be a source of nitrogen and trace minerals for garden soil.

Phosphorus and calcium need to be kept in the proper balance in living animals. Rock phosphate is a source of phosphorus. Gypsum is a source of calcium. Bone meal is a source for both. I don't know how well a chicken can utilize any of these sources. You could try it if you want. Assuming you have layers, watch the shell thickness and texture. If you have problems then you have problems with the calcium levels biologically available to your chickens.

Kelp and azomite would be good to offer for trace minerals.

Chickens will eat what they need as long as it is available. If  their manure never leaves your yard than the minerals will slowly be cycled into your soil.
1 month ago

I have been doing my own research on sheep breeds to determine what breeds I would want. I haven't gotten any of my own yet though.

Purebred finns are supposed to average 3 lambs per ewe per lambing. This requires a careful feeding program to meet the needs of the ewes, i.e. they will need grain during late gestation and early lactation to prevent illness. Finnsheep are often cross bred to create an ewe with high prolificacy, but lower maintenance than the purebred finn.

Icelandics are supposed to average twins with every lambing. Iceland does not grow many grains so icelandic sheep should be able to raise lambs on pasture alone and maintain themselves and a pregnanacy with only hay, no grain.

Shetlands are much smaller than the other breeds, and are expected to have singles most of the time. They should be the lowest maintenance.

I would recomend crossbreeding, probabaly start with the icelandics as they are midway between the others in prolificacy and maintenace needs. Decide you want smaller sheep? Get a shetland ram and keep cross bred ewe lambs. Want more lambs? Get a finn ram and keep the crossbred ewe lambs. Want more milk? Try crossing in an east freisian.

I would skip the black welsh mountain simply because the other breeds are all shortailed sheep and the welsh mountain is not.

Note that while all these breeds are wool breeds. None of them produce a commercially valuable fleece. The wool from these breeds is only valuable if you have the skill and equipment to turn raw wool to a finished product.

Monty Loree wrote:Hello,
I live in Regina, SK … Zone 3
We can grow between June 1 and Sept 15.

I have been mulching like crazy.  When it rains the mulch holds the moisture nicely, but when it dries out, it dries out the mulch and then it's hard to keep it moist even with tap water.

Last year, I planted into really nice soil.. lots of humus.... and it was so dry nothing really grew up...

I am certain that there are permaculture principles to learn... so I am asking for help on this...

It seems that on May 30, we need to hit the ground running, and have very limited growing time.. if we make mistakes the season is over quickly.

Any help would be appreciated..... thanks,

I live an hour east of Regina. So same weather.

Plant earlier. Some seeds can be planted before the end of april. Carrots, peas, lettuce, and spinach can all be planted into very cold soil and they use the moisture left from snow melt to germinate and start growing.

Corn, potatoes, and beans need warmer soil, in a sunny spot, you can probabaly plant around May 15th, feel the soil with your hand, it should be around 10'C when you plant.

If you grow tomatoes or peppers they need to be started inside and are typically safe to transplant on the May Long weekend. You do need to check the forecast for transplants before planting though.

The season also extends longer into the fall than you think. Many things do die in the first few frosts, but I have picked bouquets of sweet peas for thanksgiving gatherings. At my family farm thanksgiving company also usually assists in digging carrots, potatoes, and beets. The carrots especially do a ton of growing in the fall.

Keep mulching like crazy, this and zero till are the best ways I have found to hold moisture. The last two years have been excessively dry, so my garden has also been very disappointing. Lets hope 2019 has average rainfall.

A few things with watering technique. I use a gravity fed hose, the mulch is mostly not wetted with this. Any kind of sprinkler or mister would not wet soil, only mulch. Also watering in the evening tends to be more effective, I guess the plant has the night to use the water before the sun and the wind start sucking the moisture out of everything.

Matt Shakaleg wrote:Very interesting. Im pretty green regarding ranching let alone the regenerative method but would anyone have ideas on the most efficient way to aquire live stock. I have access to 125 achres in sask canada. Any thoughts are really appreciated

If you just want livestock for improving the land I would suggest custom grazing. Do some advertising and talk to local ranchers. You should be able to get paid about a dollar per day per cow/calf pair to keep them for someone else over the growing season. Early May till mid to late October is when cattle typically are grazing here in Sask.

Fence in as many paddocks as you can, each needs access to water. Shoot for a maximum grazing period of 5 days, and a recovery period between 60-90 days. Recovery period needs to be closer to 90 days in dry conditions, and a shorter recovery when grass growth is fast. On 125 acres you should be able to graze 15-20 cow calf pairs. What soil zone are you? That will make a difference in how many critters you can keep.

Cattle on grass tend to be pretty healthy. You  need a way to catch and treat any sick ones, which will be mostly calves. You will probably need a catch pen and a head gate. Or a horse and rope, but that takes skill.

Sheep or goats are another option. The demand is way higher than the supply so the price is pretty good right now. These need much better fences and shelter. You can look in kijiji for ewes/does or search for breeders to start your own flock/herd. The upside is that you just need a catching pen to treat sick animals. No head gate, chute, or roping needed.
1 month ago