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Jan Hrbek

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since May 22, 2018
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chicken homestead purity
Europe - CZ, Pannonian / continental zone
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Recent posts by Jan Hrbek

I have some 15 chicks for eggs and I´m also trying to cut down the percentage of bought grain in their fodder. I keep them in a run (approx. 30 sq meters) with deep mulch bedding (they like to scratch it very much), but I also let them forage in adjacent part of my vineyard (some 200 sq meters) and scratch worms on a compost plot from September to April. All kitchen scraps also go to them, both fresh and cooked, crushed bones included. Another part of their fodder is a dried bread, which I bring from my work. I also meet a local fish-seller on my way home, who gives me a bucket (cca 2-3 gallons) full of fresh fish offal every week. I give him some eggs as a reward. I throw them a basket full of greens (alfalfa, dandelions, clovers, common sainfoin, grass clippings..) every day from spring to autumn.. I also buy dried fish meal, made from local freshwater "weed fish" as a protein additivum. I also used "maggot dispenser" filled with some rotting offal during the summer..  During the winter, when there is only a little greens outside, I pick a scrap leaves (cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi) from a bin in our local supermaket. Nevertheless I buy corn, wheat and  barley. Organic, if possible (not always accessible). For example, I got one bag full of barley ( 50 kg ) from my colleague who have won it in a ball raffle last winter, just for a bottle of wine (which I got from a local person as a reward for some help..). I let the grain soak and ferment for several day before giving it to chickens - this also reduce the ammount of grain in their food..
1 week ago

Kristin Johnson wrote:My plan was to put down cardboard, wood chip compost, some horse manure this fall and let it all sit over the winter. Now I'm wondering if I should just let the kind neighbor plow it up this fall, then add some compost/horse manure on top. (skip the cardboard.)


Hello Kristin. I started my new vineyard on alfalfa field. Alfalfa has very deep root and is very viable plant. If you mulch it only with straw/woodchips/manure, it will not die, but it will sprout through the mulch in spring. I think layer of cardboard will be necessary. If you have enough mulching material, spread some manure just on the cut alfalfa this autumn, cover it by 2-3 layers of cardboard and some straw / woodchips on the top. The manure will atract worms on the surface and will help you with killing the alfalfa plants.. Dying roots will create excelent pores for roots of future plants and for water to soak.. The layer of cardboard will stop the sprouts to get through the mulch.
1 month ago
This practise occurs in books, but I did not try it sofar.  You must girdle only bark and floem of the shoot with the cluster (under the cluster of course..). You remove it circularly and completely, removing stripe 3-5 milimeters wide.. Thus you stop a flow of sugars from leaves above the girdle into the trunk and roots, so the sugar accumulates in the berries.. The flow of water and minerals from roots into the shoot is not interrupted, because it flow through the wood capilares.. You must not girdle all the shoots of the vine, because some sugars must flow down to the roots as a reserve for winter and spring.. I had an accident last year - a goose stripped a bark and floem from a trunk of one vine. Completely, circularly.. The clusters riped normaly, just like others. I cut the trunk this spring and suprisingly new shoot sprouted from a base of the stump.. So it did survive the winter..
4 months ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:I tried feeding the chickens fish parts, but they wouldn't eat them and it drew in vultures, like into th chicken pen. I tried making a solar cooker to cook them and it worked, but they still wouldn't eat it. I think they would if it was all cut up, but I ended up just putting it int the compost and letting them dig the compost up. I've tried with deer carcasses too. I had chickens that were pretty carnivorous, this bunch is not!


I have to cook it and mix it with soaked old bread and grain.. They do not want to eat it uncooked, neither cooked and whole.. My neighbour´s chickens are crazy about raw fish offal!
5 months ago
I have some 10 chicks for eggs and I´m also trying to cut down the percentage of bought grain in their fodder. I keep them in a run (approx. 30 sq meters) with deep mulch bedding (they like to scratch it very much), but I also let them forage in adjacent part of my vineyard (some 200 sq meters) and scratch worms on a compost plot from September to April. All kitchen scraps also go to them, both fresh and cooked, crushed bones included. Another part of their fodder is a dried bread, which I bring from my work. I also meet a local fish-seller on my way home, who gives me a bucket (cca 2-3 gallons) full of fresh fish offal every week. I give him some eggs as a reward. I throw them a basket full of greens (alfalfa, dandelions, clovers, common sainfoin, grass clippings..) every day from spring to autumn.. I also buy dried fish meal, made from local freshwater "weed fish" as a protein additivum. During the winter, when there is only a little greens outside, I pick a scrap leaves (cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi) from a bin in our local supermaket. Nevertheless I buy corn, wheat and  barley. Organic, if possible (not always accessible). For example, I got one bag full of barley ( 50 kg ) from my colleague who have won it in a ball raffle this winter, just for a bottle of wine (which I got from a local person as a reward for some help..). I let the grain soak and ferment for several day before giving it to chickens - this also reduce the ammount of grain in their food..
5 months ago
If you decide to plant your own grapes and want to grow them organically, you should chose some interspecific hybrids, hardy against mildew.. Are such varieties accesible in your country?
5 months ago
I must ask Katie: why do you keep 5 geese + 1 gander? Just like a pet, or for eggs to eat? Why you don´t want to have goslings? If you want some poultry for eggs, chickens or ducks are much better. Geese are usualy kept for goslings to feed and then to butcher for meet. Geese are not perfect eggs-layers. As Nick and R. Steele have written: let her do her "work".. If you want your goose to stop being broody, try some practices used in broody hens. I give broody hen into a cage with wired floor, I hang the cage somewhere in a shade and she is OK after some 3 days .. You can try.
6 months ago
Prague, Czech rep., April 18, 2019  - International konference "Agroforestry - environmental and production alternative in agriculture“: part 1  
          part 2  
7 months ago
I chose czech goose ("husa česká"), our saved national breed. Some 150 years ago very common in every czech village, nowadays only several hundreds birds.. This breed is very resilient, it endures winter freeze outdoors, females are excelent mothers, they lay some 10-12 eggs in February, sit on them patiently, whilst male keep guard. They take care of goslings very well. You don´t have to feed them with "industrial mix" , just green pasture for adults, some crushed grain with buttermilk and boiled eggs with green for young. Excelent grazers. I use them in my vineyard. Great guard birds. These mine are quite aggresive against people, especially now, when they have goslings.
7 months ago
I keep my birds in a coop with a quite high layer of woodchips. I throw also many other things (weed, grass..) there. Hens scratch it all over all the time. Time to time I make a pile of it with a shovel for them to collect worms.. After several months the mix is ready to use in a gardren. Either as a mulch or as a materiál for compost. I also collect poo from under the roost - I give it in a barrel with water, let it ferment for several weeks and then I use it as a liquid fertilizer for my vegetable garden..
7 months ago