Becky Isbell

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since Nov 11, 2018
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Recent posts by Becky Isbell

I had a pet duck when I was a kid. She was a muscovy duck, known for not quacking--maybe that's what you have?

I raised her from the time she was a day old. I was her "mommy." She loved me, I loved her. When she got old enough, she laid an egg. When I went out to see her, I knew something was different before I saw the egg. She had a sparkle to her eye and a waggle to her tail. She was so proud and so happy to show me.

I took her egg away. I should have swapped it with a golf ball or something. I continued to take her eggs away, because there was no male.

She was very proud of her eggs and quickly became extremely aggressive. I think if I'd been able to leave her fake eggs, she would have had a long, healthy life with us. As it is, I never was able to get her to trust me again (I did start using fake eggs--too late.) We had to get rid of her because she just got mean.

I don't know if this helps, but it may provide some context...
3 months ago
Hello!

So, I'm looking to seriously expand the garden. I've read lots of books about mulch, no till, etc. I've read books about soil biology and building the soil.

It all sounds lovely. But there are so many different strategies. Some of them require huge amounts of compost. I love reading the books on how you can do better by not weeding, not tilling, saving the planet, etc. Who wouldn't want to NOT weed? Sounds lovely, but what have you found to actually work?

Practically, what gardening strategies have you found to actually work best?

Thanks!
Thank you! I knew part of the problem last time was that I had too wide of an opening in the chicken wire. (Wasn't actually chicken wire and chicks could slip through...) But my main concern was with predators getting underneath the chicken tractor. You have not found this to be a problem?
3 months ago
I'm not 100% sure what the predators are. I think last time it was feral cats. The neighbor's dog is a concern. We also have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, badgers, bobcats, ring-tail cats. I know there are mountain lions around, too, but I doubt they're going after chickens... The wire around the chicken pen was too wide last time, I think the cats were grabbing them through the bars and killing them. I can certainly make a secure chicken coop. It's a secure MOVABLE chicken coop (tractor) that I worry about. I hope to try free ranging at some point, but at the moment I really just want to get them secure in a chicken tractor.

The chickens were killed in the daytime, not free ranging.
3 months ago
Hello!

I just joined! I have been reading and watching a lot about permaculture and similar things. I am wanting to do gardening and chicken raising, etc. differently. I have a lot of questions, but I hope I can start with this for now..

First, I want to get chickens again. I had them a few years back but they were killed so often I finally gave up. They had a covered run, but still something was eating them. We have a high predator area. I am seeing a lot of good chicken tractors, but I have serious concerns about whether a chicken tractor will protect chickens from predators?

I really want to use a chicken tractor design. I want to be able to move it over the gardens and lawn and fields, to both improve those areas and give them more good things to eat.

I'm thinking, at least for starting, I would not let them out to free range at all, but I would move it, probably daily, so they still got a lot of good grass and bugs and things. I do want the chicken tractor type for laying hens, with nest boxes. And preferably something that is warm enough that I can use year round (average low here in January is 30).

1. Does anyone have any recommendations for using chicken tractors in a high-predator area? Will it work? I think the biggest concern will be predators slipping under the tractor. Since the ground isn't always flat, this is a particular concern.

2. Any recommended designs for a good predator-proof, warm, nesting box enabled chicken tractor? Probably will only start with 4-8 chickens. If this goes well, I might try a larger set up a la Joel Salatin.

Thank you!
3 months ago