Joshua Bertram

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since Dec 25, 2016
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Recent posts by Joshua Bertram

Yeah, that's weird about them not liking that stuff.  I see Shawn sprinkle sunflower seeds all over the ground in front of his setups to get the rats in a comfortable eating mode, and then he does use the usual stuff like peanut butter on the actual trap.  He also sprinkles the sunflower seeds behind the traps so the rat has to climb over the trigger to get more.

Maybe whatever the chickens are eating for their food since the rats probably are used to eating some of that?
1 week ago
I've watched most of Shawn Woods videos.  He is a heck of a skilled craftsman as well as an interesting youtuber.  

Here's the best trap I've seen him use for rats.  It's just a bunch of old school spring rat traps (which I read are hard for you to set, but there are modern traps that are easier to set and I'm sure could be used in place of these.).  This method prevents the rat from coming in from some weird angle and pretty much guarantees a snapped neck.

To keep the chickens from sticking their heads in, another box could be used and placed on top of it with a hole in it big enough for a rat, but too small for a chicken.

To hear Shawn say this is his best trapping system is pretty much a guarantee to be the best system.

Like Jay said, and like he mentions in the video, bait the traps for a while but don't set them.  Let the rats get used to the setup, and then load it up.

Or, if you want to go totally natural route (and I'm going to say this is about the most permie possible way to catch rats), call this guy!  He TRAINS! mink from fur farms to hunt side by side with his dogs to hunt rats and chase them out of holes.  It's quite entertaining.  I heard Shawn say sometime he might collaborate with  Joseph (the Mink Man) and do some kind of hunting episode together.  

Edit, I don't see why these easy to set traps couldn't be modified to work in the same system.

1 week ago
I have basically the same setup, only difference is I ran poly tubing from my already existing drip lines for the garden to feed the water bucket.  Since I water several times a day here, the bucket is constantly being topped off, but there's never a constant pressure to it.  Super simple especially for someone already running drip in their garden.

It has worked flawlessly for two years.  I'd highly recommend a black bucket.  I've had zero algae buildup for two years.
117F here yesterday.  105+ on average for three months, happy chickens that lay consistently.
2 weeks ago
I'm probably not as good a steward to my chickens as I should or could be, but I'm getting eggs every day right now.  My oldest bird is nine years old and still laying.  My youngest two are now three years old and everybody else is in between.  Nine total.

It was 114 here on Wednesday 110-112 most of the rest of the week.   It's unusual for spring, but we get days like this in summer.  It'll be 105+/- everyday with few exceptions  until the middle of September.  Humidity in the low teens most of the time.

My birds definitely get to panting, and holding their wings out a bit to keep cool.  I've never put a fan on them, but I do occasionally douse the whole floor of the coop with water from the hose.  I only do that a couple of times a week, though.  I have a very unique setup currently which I think is almost ideal given the climate, but that being said, out of the nine years I've had chickens here, for about seven of them they were either directly on the ground, or on a mound of deep wood chips.  I've only ever had four chickens pass away, and two of them happened in winter from ?.  One died from heat exhaustion when it escaped from the coop in summer and couldn't find its way back in.  The other had a prolapse, so I terminated it.

My current setup I think is much better, and it just happened by coincidence.  Their coop is actually an in ground swimming pool filled with several feet of wood chips.  The pool collects rain water (which is pretty rare these days here) and that filters to the bottom of the wood chips.  The chickens can dig down several inches and there is a layer of very moist worm infested compost they can push against which I think cools them down a bit.  I see them do it all the time.

I think Jay mentioned moist soil as being a good thing, and Jen mentioned having a plastic pool.  Maybe fill the pool with compost, then add a bunch of water to the pool so that the top layer was dry, but if they dig down a bit they can get to the really moist part.  This would be easy to maintain, they wouldn't be drinking the gross poopy water, mosquitoes wouldn't be a problem, there'd be less evaporation (I think) and at the end of the year that would be awesome compost to use in the garden due to the inevitable fertilization.  

It works here on a much larger scale, not so sure about it working in the kiddie pool.

Good luck.

Edit.  I'd recommend some kind of fence, or keeping the pool only half full (or half empty) to keep the birds from kicking the compost out of the pool, and maybe suspend their water source or food source above the pool to get them to use it.  I find that my chickens favourite place to dig is right under the five gallon bucket with poultry nipples on it.  It's more moist there due to the water that drips off the nipples when they drink.
1 month ago
I like to weed using my weed flame thrower attached to a 20lb propane tank.  It's non toxic, and it satiates the pyro in me.  :)  The areas I weed with it are landscaped with rock for the most part.

I like salsa, and peppers.  I grow a lot of peppers.  My peppers are going crazy this year.    Mostly mild.  I'm a wimp when it comes to heat.

Anyhow, fire roasting peppers seems like a thing.  Along with fire roasting tomatoes.  Both are perfect for salsa.

So, I just busted out my weed torch, put a bunch of fresh picked tomatoes and peppers on a steel welding table, and went to town scorching them.   Less than five minutes and they were cooked/scorched well.

Way easier than doing it on the stove, maybe comparable to doing it on a grill.  I don't have a grill.

1 month ago