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Brianna Ganskopp

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since Mar 05, 2018
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I'm one half of an ITing, Gardening, DIYing, Chicken Raising, and Parenting duo. I grew up in Western North Carolina and learned to garden, can, etc from my family. Permaculture only seems like a logical extension of all that knowledge! We are always up for learning and teaching.
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Asheville, NC: Zone 7a-6b
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Recent posts by Brianna Ganskopp

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks, that's a great answer!

I guess I also want to plant a mulberry tree over my pond-chickens and have them eat that.  Year-round.  

(Magic always comes with a price, dearie!)

The other advantage of feeding the fish is that's a way of catching them, vs. having to go fishing.  In Geoff's video he has a feeding-plus-aearation pool at the side and a sliding door that traps them in there.  Sneaky but convenient.  

S. Bengi knows his stuff!  Thanks, S.!

Oh boy!  I just planted two mulberry trees around the chicken area hoping it would give them more to eat!  Glad to know this wasn't an absolutely crazy idea.
6 years ago

R Jay wrote:I like this chicken-tracker spreadsheet better:

for downloading--

Up, up and away...with Google sheet

Edit: both versions are free to use

What do you like about this better?  I am a bit confuse because in this spreadsheet you had to know how many hens were in laying mode each day and track that which you said you disliked about mine.  It was one of the reasons I didn't just adopt this one for myself as I am too lazy and want one sheet to track my stuff in instead of going day by day.  It does have the benefit of easily removing hens if you have molt etc. but you still have to track by color.  The other reason I didn't just use this one was that expenses and profits are split among all the months making a little harder to track if you are reconciling accounts.  Some people love calendars, so it is perfect if you like calendar entry.  It is a really good one  for that for certain.  I tried it for awhile but absolutely loath entering in unnecessary and repetitive data (That's just me)!  The original website where they housed it is gone, but you can find a variety of versions in backyard chicken forums if anyone else is looking for the origin.

Also to address your comment above, I do monitor my chickens and track around when they start laying (which you would need to do in both versions).  Obviously with a lot of chickens it can be guess work as to who laid which tan egg to start with, but I think most people can nail down within a week or two when a certain chicken got old enough to start laying.  Also if you have a chicken that is having laying issues you generally notice.  I'm not sure how you would ever know an average egg per chicken, feed to egg ratio etc, unless you knew which hens would be laying.  It gets more complex if you want to subtract molting time, if you don't light them in winter etc.  I plan to expand into those areas, but wanted a general average to start with that didn't require me entering the same data every day.  
6 years ago
I tried growing them once and failed so you would probably call me a novice too, but I plan to try again next year.  I have, however, grown up in ramps land!  The period from leaf to death is super fast.  I'd go ahead and plant them, mark where they are, and cross your fingers for next year.  They like nice forest floor so a good layer of mulch probably wouldn't hurt.  I hope to hear you have success next spring!
6 years ago
Trying to find someone who wants to get rid of theirs too!  So jealous.
6 years ago

Jessica Milliner wrote:I LOVE it! It inspired me to maks a much simplified spreadsheet for myself!

I guess, since you're asking for feedback, that would be what I'd say, is I would find it more useful if it was a little simpler. Trying to keep track of the egg size and color isn't that useful to me and the extra steps in recording would make me less likely to use the spreadsheet, but if it's just the total number of eggs, it's much less of a hurdle to recording daily.
Having said that I'm whatever the opposite of type A is (type Z?) and I can definitely think of people I know who would LOVE the level of detail.

Also ps I read your blog and realized we are almost neighbors! We're up in Barnardsville. Love these mountains.

Thank you so much for taking the time to make this, and sharing it! It's really going to help me keep track of everything!

Thanks for the feedback!  I need to make it clearer that you can track color OR just put in total.  Hmmm....  Way to make it simpler in the view....  I'll need to think about it.  Nice to meet a neighbor!
6 years ago

R Jay wrote:
Interesting spreadsheet.....

Unless your hens are in individual enclosures--as in factory farms with the egg[s] sliding down a chute
past a sensor, how do you know which hen lays what egg.  What if the two hens that lay the same
color egg share the nest box?

The only small livestock animal that I know that you can do individual stats like that on are caged
rabbits,and I have workable spreadsheets for them.

Usually a person sizes their flock using the figure of 4 eggs per chicken a week...unless the bylaws in
in your locale state that you can only have so many chickens per person.

Looking at your website, you appear not to have enough property to have a "chicken" garden --space
to grow just food for your chickens.  A meal-worm tower only takes up 3 Square feet and can give
enough of the "protein" component to homemade feed. Even then, making a profit from selling a few
dozen eggs is pretty unlikely.  

You would have a better chance of at least breaking even if you are allowed to have a rooster and were
be able to sell day-old chicks at 5 to 7 dollars apiece.

Quail is an easier bird to raise.....1 square foot per bird, 3 eggs are equivalent to a chicken egg [but
supposedly more nutritious] and can be raised is over-sized rabbit-style cages.  Two birds per person
for a meal.  Cages can line up on one side of a 2-car garage; make it harder for urban predators to
get to them

Your spreadsheet can be used.  For a small flock you can also use a pen and some paper....and not
worry about back-ups,crashes,or viruses......

Just my opinion.....

Thanks for the feedback, but I was hoping for people to actually look at it and try it out.  Just to answer a few of your concerns since others who don't try it may have the same thoughts:

It doesn't track egg production by individual hens...  Not sure why you think it does.  You can track by color and type, but I give directions for the lazy who don't even want to bother with color.  You can just put total eggs and everything continues calculation.

As for making a profit, I actually mention in the intro how I don't and jokingly don't ever expect to.  The profit/loss is purely optional in the spreadsheet, as mentioned in the directions and web page, and can be skipped by a backyard owner who does not care.  I, personally, like to know exactly how much I am in the hole .

As for crashes and viruses: This is a cloud based application. If Google loses all my info then we are probably in a place where we will all be using paper and pencil... indefinitely...  But you are correct you can absolutely use paper and pencil.  The point of creating a utility is so you don't have to calculate everything out by hand.  If you enjoy logging it with paper then go for it!  Totally defeats the purpose of making an online item, though, you could technically print it out and fill it in if you wanted.  So maybe I'll make a pdf for the paper and pen people with helper formulas!

6 years ago
We just planted three types but on a walk I saw some up the road blooming in Western North Carolina!  Thanks for the reminder.
6 years ago
If it hasn't gotten out of control I do the following.  Please note I am horrifically allergenic to the stuff.

  • Put on old clothes
  • Put on old gardening gloves
  • Get two plastic grocery bags. (Yes I try to use reusable ones, but I will sometimes forget)

  • I then use the grocery bags over the gloves, dig into the soil, pull it out as best I can, and turn the bags inside out trapping the noxious stuff inside.  Then I wash myself and everything on me.  

    I continue to pull it up as soon as it shows it's ugly head.  Much easier to deal with when tiny and doesn't require the full suit of armor.  

    Usually within one growing season you can eradicate the stuff unless it is up in the trees above.  I have two patches I am dealing with, where that happened, and the birds dropped the berries all over the yard.  They are ancient thick vines, so we are cutting them at the base and will hopefully pull them off the trees this winter.  Be aware though, the stems and roots can cause the same reaction, and god help you if you try to burn it.  The smoke can be equally as bad.

    If it is just completely out of control decide your threshold for spray.  However, if it is anywhere in your yard it will spread so moving the strawberries might be a short term solution, but eventually you will likely have to deal with it.
    We have a number of beds in Western NC on some pretty steep slopes.  There are some questions you are going to need to answer to see how well they will do.

  • How tall are the beds?
  • Type of Soil?
  • What are you filling the bed with?
  • Where is the water coming from?

  • We went all modern and have heights ranging from ground level on the back to 3-5 feet high on the front terrace paths.  We broke the beds up in 4-6 foot lengths.  

    We have had some issues with bowing in a longer length and higher height bed.  Too much soil/water pressure.  Even then it held up fine, but we plan to take that one down, add a central brace, and more drainage, because I am a neatnik and the bowing bothers me.

    We are building beds in heavy clay and we do drive down posts ever so often.  No need for anything fancy with cement etc b/c it is solid clay.  I have seen it done with rebar as well to help tie into the soil in at least a few places. This has been for my peace of mind and has keep them pretty much exactly in place.  I have a cement curb to gauge the first tier on and I have seen less than a quarter inch of movement away from the road.

    Another issue is the soil makeup that fills the beds.  We fill ours with old wood hugelkultur style.  This puts a lot less pressure than a full soil mix and allows good drainage.

    Finally I have back beds on a major slope that receives a ton of runoff from ill placed concrete driveways (I'm working on this issue from the previous owners).  We built them the same way with boards and occasional posts BUT we left good sized gaps at the ends of baords to allow drainage holes.  These aren't as tall as the front beds just 1-3 feet but stretch for long continuous spans of 10-12 feet.  Zero issues with those and surprisingly not a ton of dirt comes out the gaps.  There was too much water to enclose them fully without some significant engineering.  This was a nice compromise.

    6 years ago
    I don't know about not buying them at all, but I do know colorful sets of eggs seem to go for more at the local farmers markets.  People like the novelty of brown, tan, blue, green, etc.  I often see the sets with white mixed in.
    6 years ago