Naga Nataka

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since Mar 25, 2010
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Recent posts by Naga Nataka

Interesting idea, Dillon. They do like to lay under a large salmonberry bush. I usually just collect those eggs as soon as I see them, of course, but I could try letting them build up and see what happens. The downside is that it's outside the coop, so the hen wouldn't be protected from predators at night. We have a fair number of racoons in the neighborhood. I suppose if a duck does decide to set there, I could rig up a makeshift enclosure for her.
4 years ago
We have a mixed flock of 10 duck hens with 1 drake. I'm trying to hatch a new brood for the Spring. I've set up a new sheltered nest and kept it loaded with 10-13 fresh eggs for the last couple weeks, but none of the hens seems interested. They do like laying in the nest (so much so that one of our chickens has taken to laying in it!) Is there anything else I can do to encourage a hen to set? More eggs, less eggs?

Our flock is made up of Pekins, Roans, Indian Runners, and Khaki Campbells. I've heard these breeds have all had the brood instinct largely bred out of them. Does this mean we'll wind up incubating?

I've also heard there's not much you can do to encourage broodiness except maybe hold a hen on a nest for a while. Anyone tried this?

Thanks ~ Naga
4 years ago
We recently started keeping ducks with our backyard chickens. We started with 4 Indian Runners the summer before last, and added 4 Khaki Campbells this last spring. The Runners laid 3-4 eggs/day right through November, then slowed down for Dec-Feb, and back up in March. The Campbells also started out laying strong, and we got 7-8 eggs/day from the 8 hens all summer long. Then, mysteriously, sometime in late Aug/early Sept, they dwindled down and then stopped laying altogether. We haven't gotten a single duck egg in over 6 weeks.

Causes that I think I've eliminated:

* molt (they did molt in early Sept, but that seems to be long over)
* poor nutrition (they used to get full-access food, we just switched to daily feeding. good quality layer pellets. they also get frequent garden access & kitchen scraps)
* threat from predators (occasional possum presence - not a major threat - and no sign of raccoons lately. their coop is coon-proof)
* a hidden nest (their coop is 100 sq ft and their run is only about 300 sq ft -- not much room to hide
* old age (they're all 2-3 years old)

What else could it be? Storey's hasn't been much help. Is it possible they stopped laying due to molt, and then just haven't started back up again? Is there a way we can jump-start them?

Thanks ~ Naga
4 years ago
I have a backyard duck flock and installed a bathtub water feature for them (see picture). I put some large goldfish in there to eat any mosquito larvae. I want to have some plants growing to oxygenate the water for the fish, but first I want to make sure the ducks won't eat whatever I put in there. Anyone know of good water plants that ducks won't eat?

I asked at the local nursery and drew a blank stare from the workers. I even called around to three different places that specialize in water plants, and nobody can tell me.

I live in the maritime Northwest.

Thanks ~ Naga
5 years ago
Thanks Dianne!  I was just back in Missoula (my hometown) for the weekend, and sat down with the folks who run MUD these days.  I spent years volunteering with them in the past.  They do great work!  And you're right that they're not really in the position to demonstrate what I'm talking about, but would like to perhaps move in that direction. 

I've been looking, and so far come up with nothing.  So I'm starting one!  I'm turning our little urban village here in SE Portland into an official demonstration site, and starting a working group to help other people develop their own LUV's.  It's so simple, in a way, but there are many steps involved.  One of the biggest barriers to overcome is people's fear of losing their personal space.  You also have to overcome the idea that people have to move out to the country and find (or build) an ecovillage in order to live more sustainably. 

So far, the interest has been tremendous!  Stay tuned...
9 years ago
Are people interested in having a demonstration model and resource center for developing urban co-housing communities out of existing neighborhoods?  Do you know of examples of this that already exist?
9 years ago
Thanks for the article, Paul. 

I've recently moved from Missoula myself, now living in Portland.  We've got a little 3-house urban co-housing community going on 2 lots, where we've taken down the fences and turned the yards into gardens.  We have 15 chickens in a pretty standard coop & run setup, which I'm not that happy with.  I've attached a couple pictures.  The chickens lay well, but we spend a lot on feed, and I think we could have healthier chickens and make better use of their manure.  We're in the process of redesigning the property, and I'd like to try doing paddocks with our chickens.  So, the questions are:

*  How big does a paddock really need to be for 15 chickens?  Our run is about 300 sq ft.  Is that big enough?  How long can they be in a paddock that size before moving?

*  You don't say much about what can be grown in a paddock with the chickens that will still be harvestable after they've had a chance to eat it.  What sort of crops are actually chicken-tolerant?

*  If we don't have room for 4 paddocks, have you tried just using 2 or 3?  If so, do you lengthen the rotation times?

Thanks so much!
9 years ago