Kahty Chen

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since May 07, 2010
Southern Oregon
Southern Oregon
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Recent posts by Kahty Chen

We mix millet and whole oats into our grain mix - the chickens and turkeys polish them off just fine. Our flock also loves sorrel and beetberry (or "strawberry spinach", good leaves and berries). Sorrel grows well in cooler temps. Next winter I'll be growing greens for our flock under a hoop house - I haven't decided if I'll cut and carry, or design a way to rotate them in.

Our flock has a fairly decent supply of micro-critters to forage during winter months in our deep litter bedding in the coop. The coop's uninsulated, but is a good shelter, so the deep litter is a great habitat for little insects. I also recently let the poultry into a couple of garden beds that were covered in hay, I'm saving a couple more to let them in soon. A nice mid winter's treat.

I'm wondering if anyone knows about mistletoe. Google University vote it a pretty solid "no" for toxicity, but I've read about it being used as winter fodder for cattle, and I know that birds and deer eat it. I offered a little to my donkey and they liked it, and didn't foam at the mouth or do the drunk walk. Anyway, we have a bunch of it in a few oak trees, and I'm trying to track down more info about it before I offer any more to our critters.

9 years ago

Cj Verde wrote:

Another aim is to put in as many edges as possible. I think I'll just let that edge concept lay there. It takes a while to sink it.

I'd like a little more input for that percolating edge concept, please, if you have a moment!
9 years ago
When I cooked store bought organic chickens, I'd give my dog the bones that had softened by boiling to make stock (only bones that were soft enough to crush between my fingers). My homegrown chickens, however, have such incredibly strong bones that I can't even use them at all.

Here's a list of foods that works for us, I've had it for awhile, don't recall where it came from, maybe a raw food site like BARF:

Good Veggies' & Fruits to Feed:
Romaine (COS) Lettuce - High nutritional value
Tomatoes (avoid the leaves and stems)
Apples (not the seeds)
Jicama (remove skin)
Bell Peppers (Capsicum) - red, green and yellow
Bananas, Bok Choy, Oranges, Alfalpha Sprouts, Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Mustard Greens, Dandelions, Zucchini, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Parsnip, Turnips, Sprouts, green beans, zucchini, squash, cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, brussel sprouts, apple

Carrots - These are high in sugars so be careful
Celery - Not much nutritional value but is a good diuretic.
Parsley- high in oxalic acid
Fresh Pumpkin (not the canned pie filling) -
olive oil

Caution Veggies' & Fruits (Foods you can feed but with cautions)
Grapes / raisins-
Eggplant - OK to feed the fruit but avoid any other parts.
Avocados (& leaves) - The fruit part is OK to feed in small amounts.
Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Rhubarb - OK in small amounts.
Cabbage/Broccoli/Cauliflower - OK to feed in small amounts but may cause gas. If fed frequently and in large amounts these will depress the thyroid.
Potatoes -
Cautions: If your dog is diabetic or has arthritis and has/had cancer then you may want to stay away from underground veggies because they convert to starch/sugar which aggravates arthritis. Cancer cells also thrive on sugars.

Bad Veggies' & Fruits (Foods to be avoided all together)
Pits of most fruits (apples, apricots, kiwi, pears, Avocados, peaches etc.) -
coffee / tea
Alcoholic drinks (and hops)
yeast dough
macadamia nuts - can lead to paralysis or weakness
tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Potato Leaves and Stems (green Parts)
rhubarb leaves

9 years ago
Here are a few more thoughts that might be helpful:
I'm upgrading to a 20'x20' hoopcoop out of PVC and field fencing - similar to the dome structure linked to above (which is really neat, by the way), but a larger, stationary hoophouse shape to accommodate mating and brooding spaces, as well as leaving town once in a while. It will have the advantage of being low against the wind in winter (6' at center line), and easy to open up in the summer for maximum air and sun. Because we get all our Southern Oregon rainfall during the chilly months, ventilation is supremely important. A tight, dark, moist coop creates a sickening environment. Conversely, proper humidity promotes a fertile deep litter system, teaming with bugs and sprouts to eat during the lean winter months. I've seen open-air and tarp covered winter coops at 4000' near Grizzly Peak, it's fine here. Our hoopcoop is also cheap enough that I can build one on the south side of our ridge for winter, and one on the north side for summer. I hope that having two coops will save us from trashing our soil in one place. I haven't explored tractor solutions because I don't like rendering chickens flightless, the quality of their breathing is intimately connected to their wing movement - guess that's not such a big deal with meat birds since they don't live long anyway.

Our hawk population is light due to a healthy crow presence. Still, I've found that ranging the birds mostly in the woods, and propping up strips of that cheap, lightweight bird netting helps deter airborne attacks. Also, if you're aware of particular snags that hawks survey a pasture from, you can orient your electric netting to run narrow to the snag, preventing the hawk from having a good trajectory for swooping. Our turkeys are excellent hawk alarms, as are our 5 roosters - I can't imagine ranging hens without awesome roosters. Having electric fencing and a roving dog has deterred ground predation (fox, bobcat, cougar, bear, and marauding dogs). Pastured poultry in this region also tend to survive longer when their set-up is closer to the home rather than out in the back 40.
9 years ago
I sewed poultry kill cones from blue plastic tarp. They are cheap and easy to make, so that you can have larger and smaller cones for various sizes of birds.

I like how calm the birds are when they are swaddled in the soft cones (think Temple Grandin's squeeze chutes). My birds don't flap around and make as much noise as in the polyface video. But, I do keep a hand on each bird as it dies - I make the time to thank and usher him/her out. I find that covering their eyes calms them even further.

The one time I slaughtered a sheep was by slitting it's throat. We hoisted her up with a come along on a tripod made by simply lashing 3 poles together. I was surprised and enwondered by the beauty of the sac of intestines as we gutted her. What a beautiful (and delicious) creature.
9 years ago

Jay Green wrote:
I can't attribute my animal's good health solely to Basic H as I use a multi-directional approach to deworming by utilizing garlic, pumpkin seeds, and charred wood in addition to the soap.

How do you use/administer the charred wood?
9 years ago
Hi Liz, I'm in Southern Oregon, too - at 2500' elevation. My flock lives in an open ended hoophouse, year round, no problem. From my experience, our weather gives us more bother with wind than with cold.
9 years ago

Walter Jeffries wrote:In fact, we silly people don't eat the guts of the chickens - dogs know that those are one of the best parts, it's where the vitamins and minerals are! Feeding the dog from your flock dramatically decreases the cost of the dog.

Do you feed all the guts, even the lungs, gall bladder, and cojones ... and the head? Also, thanks for sharing the Kita hunting story, spectacular!
9 years ago
Has anyone used hugelkultur in a field?

I've got sloped field with deep ruts left by the previous owners when they layed in the geothermal lines (unfortunately the ruts run downhill, not on contour). I was thinking I'd fill the ruts with slash from my thinning project, then cover over with soil. I don't need the field to be perfectly flat, as I'll be using it more like a meadow, and not running equipment over. But if there's enough settling with the buried wood, and I end up with marginally improved ruts, then maybe it's a lot of effort for minimal improvement.

Also, does anyone have knowledge or experience regarding the use of madrone or manzanita in hugelkultur beds? Yea or nea?

Thanks in advance. 
10 years ago

mrhobbit wrote:
any advice on where you'd send folks interested in approaches that have worked in the deeper, pre-american past? 

Here's a link to an excellent look at the history of domestic chicken housing in a number of cultures: http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=428013

An excerpt, "Firstly, it should be acknowledged that in ancient times, two different breed classes of chickens were treated almost as different species. The meat chickens came from China via Russia and Eastern Europe and didn't arrive in Western Europe or the Mediterranean until fairly late in history.
The races of egg producers arrived in the Mediterranean from India via the Levant and Egypt.
They did not arrive in Russia or Western Europe until about the same period in agricultural history.

Heavy-bodied, cold weather adapted Eastern races were not particularly well-suited for the lifestyle and physical environment-nutrition- the ecology that Light-bodied warm climate adapted chickens thrived in or visa vis.
The cool blooded races could almost be considered urban so intensive was their husbandry- please recall the Chinese method of hands on selective breeding and nurturing in environments mostly devoid of foraging space- the birds obliged to glean for spilled grains of rice, of barley and millet- the latter two being relatively low energy cereals. They were fed special foods but were not trusted in the confines of a garden - that was left for ducks whose feet do not damage and whose manure does not burn crops.

The warm-blooded races were more or less wild- one race (Fayoumi) considerably more so than the other (Lakenvelder). They were obliged to find most of their own food, fly larvae in the manure of feral livestock and insects in the fields. They encouraged to forage in gardens for pests and-during thrashing season, they gleaned for grains. Their diets were high in energy and the birds were obliged to wander over a wide area to procure the full benefits of their environment.

The cool blooded races were always reared and selected for utility- their meat and eggs were of vital importance.
The warm blooded races were originally kept as ceremonial creatures. They were of vital importance for sacrificial rites and good fortune. Their eggs were of growing significance and eventually the birds were maintained almost solely for their eggs.

Housing for cool blooded races was within the same structures used to shelter hoofstock from the cold or were kept within the dwellings of humans themselves.

Housing for warm blooded races was non-existent, save for their adoption of certain human made structures, which gave the birds shelter, primarily from heat.

Predators of both racial groups were largely the same, though the warm blooded races had many more threats than the cool blooded.

The roots of egg farming in the Mediterranean are one of the cornerstones in the foundation of European chicken husbandry. The Mediterranean class of chickens were, until very recently in history, the world's primary egg producers.

Composites of these two racial groups are the foundation of all dual purpose commercial breeds."
10 years ago