Thomas Dean

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since Mar 26, 2019
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hunting chicken ungarbage
Michigan, USA
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Recent posts by Thomas Dean

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:One other thought just came to mind, I wonder about creating mouse habitat somewhere away from the house.  They look for warm places they can build nests in.

So ... are you essentially proposing a contract with the mice? Or an armistice? As in, "You can play out here, as long as you stay out here?" It's a noble thought. I confess I have not found rodents, of any variety, who can be trusted to respect such arrangements.

Seems like it's set up a refuge that, once population reaches carrying capacity, provides a constant source of mice to move into your house.  
2 days ago
We re-use gallon ice-cream buckets - also not plastic-free, but reusing something and delaying its entry to the waste stream.  Even if you don't eat ice-cream from the pail, you can generally get them for free from friends/coworkers/the community at large.  One always sits on the counter beside the sink, and gets delivered to the chicken pen daily, but you could put it in the compost pile just as easily.  Another bucket is pulled out if we are doing a large volume of vegan materials that the goats can eat (for example, we cut up a bunch of stored apples for applesauce yesterday - all the "bad" parts went to the goats).  Buckets are washable, although we don't wash them often (only when they smell).  

We don't struggle with mice... but sometimes in the summer we get a fruit-fly issue.

Catie George wrote:Far from 100% plastic free - but we often use old coffee cans for composting. At least they are reused items, and they are designed to keep odours in.  The metal ones with the plastic lids might be your best bet for lower plastic, but I think the folgers plastic ones work better.

Alternatively, a screw top gallon glass jar might work. Hard to have a good seal without some sort of plastic compound, so there would still be plastic in the lid.

When I've had fruit fly issues, I keep my compost bin in the fridge. I would probably do something similar if I had mice issues.

In addition - this season is PRIME mouse season. They are looking for a nice warm place to live for the winter, and tend to move and travel more. I recommend cleaning under/behind your fridge and stove if you haven't recently. You'd be amazed how much food gets kicked there, and it's a mouse heaven.

2 days ago
In michigan, USA it's easy to get a roadkill tag from the DNR.,4570,7-350--448733--,00.html
I picked up 2 or 3 last season. They were used as pet food (we had no need for the meat, so did not even test it).  But, I have harvested fresh roadkill for my family to eat as well.  It was a family tradition.  
1 month ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Woven poly feed bags, the white ones, make a dandy micro-greenhouse for tomato plants. Open both ends and slip over the tomato cage.

THat's a neat idea.  Enough light gets through for growth?  Any photos?  
5 months ago

Betsy Carraway wrote:We actually save our feed bags. We find uses for them from time to time; but I predict that we will want them for storage of all sorts of crops, including acorns, onions, and grain...and if we have too many they will be much-wanted barter items, one day...

I save them... but the mice tend to use them before I do.  I've been trying to reduce my use... but it's hard.  And we do reuse them.  Kids had a sack race in them at a family get together, when I sell compost I reuse bags, and when I take grain to the mill to have it ground for the cows, I reuse their bags (even though their posted policy is that they don't use reused bags for biosecurity reasons, they've never told me I can't).  

I currently generate 4 empty bags a week in the winter, 6-8 a week in the summer (mostly chick starter - my old hens diet is heavily subsidized with food scraps, so they don't eat much commercial grain in the grand scheme of things, considering how many I have).  Moral of the story might be that I just have too much poultry.  And that's just the poultry.    

I've seen people selling totes made of old grain bags, but the grain I get doesn't come in pretty bags, and the market seems to be saturated around here, and I'm not crafty.  

I keep one hanging on a nail in the barm as a trah bag for barn trash.

Wish I knew what else to do with them.  I end up burning some every couple of weeks... at that point they are fuel to cook sketchy meat scraps up for the animals, so not a total waste, but I can get free wood and cardboard to burn just as easily.  

As for being barter items in the future... I'd trade them for a nickel each... any takers?  LOL.  
5 months ago

lesley verbrugge wrote:I am not an expert. I grow dent corn, and have grown popcorn. My understanding is that corn needs to be 400ft apart?  One thought is that the best way is to find out is to grow the seed on and determine for yourself the viability/characteristics of the offspring? Could be interesting!

I understand that, but I think I WANT to let them cross for genetic viability, at least at some level.  I am just wondering if that is a bad idea (letting them cross)
We grew Cherokee longear popcorn last year, and I wanted to replant the seeds.  In retrospect, I probably didn't save enough seeds to maintain genetic viability in the long run.  My wife bought seed for a different multi-colored popcorn variety.  If we planted them near each other, will crossbreeding lead to problems?  I know that "modern" corn varieties are weird hybrids that do not reproduce plants of like kind, and saving the seeds is worthless, but if we grew 2 old varieties of popcorn, would any crosses be garbage, or would they be akin to having mixed breed chickens - maybe not ideal, but still functional.  Thanks for advice.
A lot of hatcheries offer really good bargains on packages of random chicks - all the extras that they hatched to make sure they had enough of each breed to supply individual orders.  You can get chicks are a real good price that way.  Also, watch the chick bin at your local TSC/Farm store.  I have picked  pullets (females) for less than 50 cents each by being in the right place, at the right time.  When the chicks get big and "ugly" or when they are trying to clear the bins for the next shipment, they will really mark them down.  Then I go find the manager and offer a value for all the chicks - "I'll clear all your chick bins for 50 cents a chick" or something like that is really appealing.  Last year, I also got some banties in the mix, oh well.  
7 months ago
My wife homeschools our oldest here in MI.  She plans a field trip for each week, but that's out the window now.  She was going to take the kids to the AirZoo last week, Fred Meijer Gardens this week, both became non-options.  
We offered some friends childcare, as I am a teacher, but they already had things lined up with neighbors.
8 months ago
We have an old pair - Grandpa and Grandma, I call them.  We've had them 4 years now, they came with the house and were a few years old when we moved in.  She lays just fine... enough for 2 clutches each season if I keep picking up eggs.  She'll lay about a dozen, then get all ornery and angry, but if I don't let her set, she'll lay another dozen or so.  We've had good fertility, but she can't hatch eggs, not sure what her issue is.  Grandpa happily adopts all the young ducklings and goslings that I incubate, and they rear them together from about the age they start to feather out util they are basically grown.
8 months ago