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  • #16
    Built a chicken tractor this past December. Put 4 Rhode Island Red pullets in and started getting eggs this May. Lost a hen a couple weeks ago, so now down to 3 hens. Getting 3 eggs a day, so I'm content. Thought about trying to justify the cost of materials, feed and birds, but with eggs costing $1.00/doz I did a quick mental exercise and decided I didn't want to know how long it might take to break even on the investment. Instead I'm content knowing the eggs I'm eating now are, hopefully, more healthy with no chemicals, and the ladies are treated much better than the egg factories. Plus, I simply enjoy having the girls around when I let them out to scratch n peck for a while in the afternoon. I have them tamed to where they'll come when I call, I can pick them up without the crazy wings and feet business, and one follows me around like a puppy. Enjoy your birds, Gary. Don't try to monetize them, you'll take the fun out of watching them running around doing chicken stuff

    if you intend to eventually eat them, dont name them.
    Last edited by Aufin; 07-07-2018, 06:58 AM.

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    • #17
      Congratulations on the new venture, Ian.

      For a whole host of reasons, I regard laying chickens as the logical starting place for backyard farmers.

      $1.00 per dozen is a very low price for eggs. I sell a couple of dozen free-range organic eggs - each week - to recover feed costs.

      Even if you don't sell eggs, you can still put them to work doing what they love to do anyway.

      Because our chicken tractor is static, we tip grass clippings and shredded bamboo waste into it and, over a period of weeks, our chickens convert that to an excellent compost. We feed them kitchen scraps and garden residues and what they don't eat is incorporated into the compost...along with their manure. This simple arrangement keeps the tractor odour-free.

      There a variety of ways to integrate chickens into a backyard food production system. Mine is still evolving.
      "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

      www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

      https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

      www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ande View Post

        What is under the potting-mix layer in the beds ?

        cheers
        Ande...some time back, you asked a simple question and, for some reason, I read it as something different. Anyway, your belated answer...

        The wicking beds are filled with degraded tree mulch compost...about 300mm deep. Then I add about 75mm of potting mix...mainly for ease of planting. To that, I'll add any amendments and some organic fertiliser (something like pelleted chicken manure and/or well composted cow manure. That's topped off by a mulch of shredded sugar cane waste.









        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

        www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

        https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

        www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

        Comment


        • #19
          It goes without saying that I'm long overdue for an update...so...

          The development of our place has continued slowly.

          We've been a bit more productive with our 320 square feet of backyard wicking beds...where we grew stacks of silver beet and bok choi for us and the chickens. I planted four 'Tommy Toe' tomatoes and got bucketsful of fruit despite largely neglecting them. The 'garden soil' that we orinally chose for these beds turned out to be pretty ordinary but things have begun to look up with each successive crop that we've grown in them.

          Our eight laying hens are currently providing us with an average of six eggs per day. We feed them a proprietary organic ration supplemented with fresh greenfeed and kitchen scraps...so the eggs are excellent.

          I have 96 square feet of duckweed production space...great greenfeed for almost everything...and we'll be ready for our first harvest - for this season - in about a week or so.

          I've also fired up the BioPod and we're expecting our first 2018 harvest of black soldier fly larve in a couple of weeks.

          Consistent with my waste transformation view of the world, I'm now collecting cardboard, wood, plant biomass and food waste...to which I intend to add value before integrating into our backyard farming.

          I'd like to see us improve our worm production. That's arguably my least successful integration. Since they're largely not seen or heard from, I overlook them when it comes to feeding and watering.

          More later.
          "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

          www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

          https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

          www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

          Comment


          • #20
            Happiness is having enough duckweed. I use these shallow grow tanks (96 square feet in area) to produce duckweed for my chickens and BSF larvae.
            "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

            www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

            https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

            https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

            https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

            www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

            Comment


            • #21
              Here's my simple duckweed feeding system...a small plastic tub half-filled with water with duckweed floating on top. Keeps the duckweed fresh right to the last bite.

              Our first black soldier fly larvae have just begun the 'long march' up the ramp and into the collection chamber. Next stop, the chicken tractor.

              Click image for larger version

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              "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

              www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

              https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

              https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

              https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

              www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

              Comment


              • #22
                We have a lot of bamboo and Eucalyptus leaves in our yard that I like to use as mulch and for making compost.

                I'm too lazy to make the 18-day compost beloved of organic gardeners so I've devised a process where my chickens do the work for me.

                I rake the leaves into a small windrow and then use my mower (with catcher on) to chop and mix the leaves. If I want a finer mulch, I empty the leaves back out, recreate the windrow and do the mower thing again.

                I empty the mulched material into the back section of my chicken tractor (where the roosts and nesting boxes are). I feed any kitchen scraps - or BSF larvae - to the chickens in this section. They eat what they want and then poop over the rest. Afraid that they might have missed some morsel or the other, the chickens will then scratch and mix the material.

                Since my chicken tractor faces slightly downhill...and is connected to our soil pit (a 36 square meter space full of tree mulch and woody plant residuels)...everything that I put into the rear section eventually makes its way to the front door of the tractor and out into the soil pit. In the process, the original dried leaves have now broken down into a finer material and had some nitrogen added.

                Over time, the dried leaves become compost.

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                "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

                www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

                https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

                https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

                https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

                www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Hi Gary
                  I can't see any of the pics ?
                  cheers

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                  • #24
                    Hi Ande...I don't know what the problem is. I can see them my end. How about others...can you see them?
                    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

                    www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

                    https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

                    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

                    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

                    www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Nope, cant see em.

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                      • #26
                        I'll reload them again later and see what happens. Life was definitely simpler before computers made things 'easy'.
                        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

                        www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

                        https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

                        www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          What about now?
                          "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

                          www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

                          https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

                          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

                          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

                          www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            ..... Nope

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                            • #29
                              I can see them now
                              cheers

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                              • #30
                                Must be an android thing......

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