kent smith

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since Sep 05, 2010
Pennsylvania
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Recent posts by kent smith

We have had great success getting chicks from Meyer hatchery, but they are the closest commercial hatchery to us. If you go to most hatcheries at the end of the week, (they hatch and ship on Mondays and Tuesdays) you can get great deals on the excess chicks, (pennies on the dollar). There is a lady not far from us that does this and raises these unsold chicks to a couple of months old and sells them on Craig's list for a profit.
kent
4 years ago
I second the great work of the whizbang plucker, they work great. I have a trough over a rocket stove for a scalder and a tub plucker. With a good scald, I can pluck 2-4 broilers at a time in 15 seconds. Build your own or borrow one. buy the book it is cheap and it works.
kent
4 years ago

we raise Cornish cross meat birds on pasture in moveable pens in the Joel Salatin style and have no problems. From birth (day old at the post office) to butcher at 8 weeks we get 6-8 pound dressed broilers in the freezer. I keep them on the pasture and move them at least once a day, preferably twice a day and they graze about 30% of their diet. We typically loose one or two out of a batch of 50, in the past I moved the pens and crushed a few or from predators. We have raccoons and possums and they would have taken a few of any bred. We swear by moveable pens and keeping them on pasture, one of the best things for the pasture along with good cattle grazing. for our family we will do 50 this summer and plan to put between 250 -300 pounds of dressed chicken in the freezer or canned. We also do turkeys in pens on the pasture and love them. Canned turkey, parted up is fast food for us, we had turkey enchiladas for dinner tonight that came from a mason jar, it was great. check out Salatin's pens on YouTube or buy his book, it works great for us. All the horror stories of Cornish cross is hyped up by people who have not raised them in pens on pasture or try to raise them like laying hens in my opinion. A home made scalder and plucker makes butcher day about a 3 hour chore for us, with half that time in cutting up parts or wrapping whole broilers. Here is a photo of turkeys in pens out on grass

and wrestling with a turkey before Thanksgiving.

kent










s
4 years ago
Just to weigh in on beekeeping from a non-commercial perspective. Where we live, here in NWPA European honey bees are thriving in the wild. Last year I turned down several swarms, but took 4 and did several cut out outs of native colonies, but turned down several more. I just did not have the time or the equipment to take all the swarms and cut outs offered to me. Here is my take on natural and affordable beekeeping: I like native swarms and colonies and I do not buy bees! When one considers that bees here are reproducing fairly often and that the natural colonies have had the characteristics and genetics that have encouraged them to naturally survive in this environment, I like what that offers. Considering that the queens that I get have come from colonies that are local survivors and have cross bred with 17 to 20 drones from other survival colonies, I like the genetic variations that this offers. To keep with the “local and natural” idea, I buy rough sawn local hemlock from a local Amish mill, air dry it for a couple of months, plane it and build hives, frames and other parts from this lumber, (OK it is local and at least half the price as home depot). I hope to finish building a set of rollers to mill wax foundation sheets from our own wax, especially since we do not chemically treat our bees. I also do not believe that we should be transporting the hive around, but house them year around in areas that are not exposed to pesticides and herbicides. I only wish that others with in range of our hive would stop planting GMO crops and spraying, but that will take time!
Even thought the little ladies are an invasive species that have gained a foothold here, I feel that at least we can try to work with nature rather than against nature. Even with the colonies next to our garden we still see a lot of bumble bees and the usual local bees in the garden. I feel that even though they do co-exist and compete, that by providing a more nature, health environment I think that they can all benefit.
4 years ago
I had 3 calls today to come and get swarms today from neighbors. I will let them draw out some foundation for the next month as the nectar flow tapers off then combine them into some weaker hives. Still amazed that there are so many swarm as the fall weather is starting.

I am working on building a mill for forming foundation out of a gypsum cement. anyone here have any experience in making their own wax foundation?

kent
5 years ago
Michael and tel, the swarming has been late here due tot he unusual weather. I had two hives swarm last week and I missed a swarm that was about 30' up in a tree earlier. I am doing a trap out in a maple tree in a families front yard now and while I was there a neighbor stopped to ask if I would do a cut out in the wall of their milk parlor this weekend. I had put an ad on craig's list wanting swarms and colony removal from buildings and have 5 more trap outs or cut outs that I have not gotten to.
kent
5 years ago
Sorry for not being around, busy at work, busy with trying to get work done around here. If anyone would like to visit we hope to be out in the garden this Sunday afternoon. typically we get home from church and have some lunch before we get outside, so mid to late afternoon feel free to drop by. If it is raining we will most likely canning turkey. Just a warning, we bought an old place that still needs a lot of clean up, we also don't follow what you see here! We come from a philosophy more focused on preparedness and sustainability than possibly what is more the norm here. If you want to stop by this Sunday we are at 16643 Inlet Road, between Dicksonburg and harmonsburg.
Kent
5 years ago
no....we are starting this concept www.backtoedenfilm.com and we are using a scaled down version of these pasture management concepts www.polyfacefarm.com and I have followed John Seymour's self sufficiency books from my first exposure back in the 70's. I think that you have to try different ideas that fit your land and life style. We have tried some of what we see here and some things we see else where. we are not experts, but we keep learning and trying. part of our ideals involves preparedness and living simply.
kent
5 years ago
Welcome! I do not spend much time here anymore, but saw that you are close by. We are just outside of Meadville PA towards the Oh line. I would be glad to talk to you or have you visit. we bought an old run down property 2 years ago and are making improvements a step at a time. I do not completely line up with some of the idealology here and we have taken some paths that fit us better. Thus far we have created a large garden and can 3-400 jars each year, raise pasture beef, pork and chicken broilers, along with a folk of laying hens. I also keep bees. After 2 years we are now seeing greater direction in what we want to do with the property. It was real easy to get overwhelmed with projects at first and discouraged, but we knew that this was a long term dream and goal. If you would like to talk or visit PM me.
Kent
5 years ago
OK, I admit that I have been less than nice, I apologise. However, there has to be a balance between letting miss information be perpetuated and having creditabliy as a forum. I am not overly active here anymore because I feel that so much is posted that I have doubts about. I have enjoyed this forum and have gleaned some very good ideas here that we have put into practic. I have learned to follow the posts of several individuals here, because they have shown that they are doing what they talk about, Walter Jefferies in particular comes to mind. However, I brush over so much of the diolog here for the oposite reasons. I ask you who moderate to help keep this a positive source of information.
Thank you,
kent smith