Clare Marmalejo

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since Mar 23, 2016
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Recent posts by Clare Marmalejo

We rarely travel but we do like to do overnight camping trips on the weekends. I have a neighbor who can come over, but I would like the flexibility of taking last minute trips and she takes over an hour to feed everyone (it takes me 20 minutes).

I have rabbits, ducks and chickens. They all have predator-proof homes/pens so I just need to figure out food and water needs and maybe cooling needs for rabbits. Chickens are easy to give an extra waterer and extra food and fresh grass in their tractor.

My main questions are, how can I set up ducks to be okay with water/food needs for a weekend. Is there a way to keep rabbits cool? I am thinking of upgrading the rabbit water bottles to a nipple system.

1 year ago
I ended up getting both! My chickens are in a tractor that we can easily move and my ducks free range. The ducks are happy with the rain water creek in the back of my yard and prefer it to the pools I bought them. Go figure. There isn't a ton of water in the creek now but I may dam part of it up this fall/winter to provide a better swimming hole in these leaner months.

The ducks leave most things in my garden alone but did wipe out an area of tomatoes. The plants are fine but the tomatoes disappeared. that is my only complaint... and their smelly pen. I have several inches of pine shavings and plan to add more.

I love the ducks. They are cute and fun to watch. Much more personable than chickens. I am sad to cull them in a few weeks but I know it will work out in all our favors long term (except the culls of course).

Thanks for all the advice. Wildush turkey sound great but where on earth would I get one?

2 years ago
I am newish to ducks and have read so much about them. I am placing my first duckling order and decided I want to do a mixed flock primarily for eggs. I want to get a Drake in order to continue the flock in the future. We are planning for 16 birds to free range/paddock on 1 1/3 acre.

I was thinking of getting mostly Anconas and adding in some khaki Campbell's or the golden 300s and perhaps a couple Muscovies. I was thinking of getting an Ancona Drake. Does this sound like a solid egg laying flock?

I am worried Muscovies would be too wild for my children's taste. I also worry they may fly into my neighbor's yard. But I have heard they go broody if we need a new batch of ducklings. I read Anconas are the most hawk-hardy. We have a few hawks around. They never messed with our free range hens. I also like that Anconas are dual purpose should we ever be in a place to want/need to eat them.

Now lastly, if I get a Drake and let some eggs hatch, and they are mixed breed they would still be good layers even if they are mutts, right? I could only breed with the first batch or they would be inbred, correct?

Thank you for any help/advice you can offer!
2 years ago
We have 3 large, gnarly Apple trees that appear to have multiple fungi and pests. I just learned about cedar Apple rot after finding those nasty orange fungus alien-brain looking things on the cedar trees close to my apples. We also get the big black spots and some of my apples are shriveled and I have some of the black calouses on my tree.

So far we have pruned the worst limbs and we are cutting down our cedars and our junipers. Is there anything natural that can be done to help relieve the trees of funguses? I am not opposed to spraying something on them that will not be harmful to insects, animals or people. I saw Stefan Sobkowiak sprays his Orchard with whey but I think our issue is beyond a preventative measure. I am open to any and all suggestions. One tree looks so bad I am wondering if I should chop it or if grafting a fungus resistant tree onto it could work? I am completely new to this! Help!! I just want to eat my apples!
2 years ago
Wow! I really love the flow of ideas here. I think what I am learning is that I just need to plant, grow, propagate and breed everything I can to feed my family and sell the rest.

@R Scott- I have really been considering propagating and selling seedlings and plants made from cuttings. I have a lot of amazing plants on my property but I don't know all the variety names. Like I have redbuds, cherry trees, forsythia and a gorgeous japanese maple but I don't know if people would by them without the specific variety known? Everything I have planted has the info still attached.

@Su Ba- I need $500 a month, not per week. That is about $125 per week. I think it is doable but I am trying to develop a bit of a strategy. Like certain things to focus on here.

@Miranda- Thank you for the info! Do you have a specific incubator that you use? We do have a sealed. Woodshop/garage that would work depending on the space.

@R Ranson- I do think growing more of our food will save us a lot! We spend most of our money on produce and meat so the more of that we save the better. We really don't eat out ever but I do think better planning could help our budget a little and reduce waste. Thank you for all the warnings and endless suggestions. I am doing a modified keyhole since we already made 4 hugelkultur mounds and plan to fill in around them with layers of complimentary plants. It's all a great experiment.

I read somewhere that when you begin an orchard/food Forest that you can make money by focusing on annuals and poultry. I am writing all this down and hoping to see what works this year and perfect it by next year.

2 years ago
@Tyler: We are not producing even 1% of our food right now. We purchased our home 8 years ago, but this is the first year we have had the time, resources and energy so we are beginners at permaculture. I would love to produce half of our food but as of now storage is an issue. And you are right, if we produce more we will spend much less on our groceries. We spend a little less than $200/week for 5 people.

@Dale Thank you. I do hope to get our farming production up to snuff this year. I do like the basket idea! It seems like you could almost use Facebook as a platform for selling baskets locally. I like that idea!

@Kelly I am very curious about quail. I have never eaten quail before. Is the processing worth the small bird?

@Miranda- I really love that idea! Hatching baby chicks and ducks even sounds right up my alley. The only concern I have is space. I have a porch that could work in warmer months but my house is tiny for the cooler months. We are planning on a greenhouse that could maybe be agreat spot to hatch chicks/ducks. Plus I see there is a demand out here!

2 years ago
Thank you again Nicole! I will keep all that in mind. I am trying to come up with a good plan that won't require too much building for my husband. I may try a few ducks and see how they do and add more later. We do have a good amount of forage space and I could eventually fence in the garden.

I am exited though! They seem really fun!
2 years ago
I have just over an acre and need to bring in $500 a month in order to quit my "supplemental income" job. If you were starting out, how would you go about doing this? I am really open to any ideas from wild and crazy to a specific plan.

My goal is to have a new stream of income established by next year sometime. I am getting some hens and ducks for eggs and eventually as meat birds. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia so there are many Farms around.

So I would love to hear what you would do?
2 years ago
Wow Nicole, that you for all that fantastic information! I have read through all the links and find it really helpful. I plan to supplement a grazing diet with food so as not to starve them.

I really think I will give ducks a try. I am considering doing 6 chickens and 6 ducks... Give or take a few. This may be a silly question but can chickens and ducks graze together in the open? I am now restructuring everything! Ha-ha. My husband has a stack of old windows so I thought of doing a green house and having the small chicken coop attached... maybe deviding it to have a duck side. I might get movable fencing and alternate ducks and hens in a run unless they would do okay together? My garden is close to the house with hugelkultur beds. I would be fine letting the ducks free range but I haven't read anything definitive about ducks destroying a garden. My beds are about 2-3 feet high.
2 years ago
There is also such a thing is delayed neutering that no one has brought up with regard to dogs. We have a rottie-mix and when I took him to my vet she told me to wait until he was 1 year old to neuter him. I ended up doing a lot of research and I am now waiting even longer. I have always been a spay/neuter proponent, but if you look at the research now being found, medium and large breed dogs are at risk for a lot of health problems of being fixed too early (before 2 years). Apparently because they don't go through the entire cycle of growth hormones they end up having greater risks of bone cancer and other issues.

Here is an article that sums it up well:

There are better more scientific analysis' to be found if you look harder. I was initially worried about having an intact male dog because we have always spayed/neutered our dogs early on. He has no dominance issues with my kids and is really docile and sweet. He has no wandering issues but he isn't left in our yard alone.

Everyone has to make the best decisions for their pets. We wouldn't have the diversity of dogs we have now if they hadn't been bred for specific jobs. We shouldn't blame or hold accountable the responsible owners and breeders for the terrible dog owners and puppy mills out there.
2 years ago