Tag Archives: chickens

Episode-1450- TSP Homestead Lessons and Planning – Fall 2014

Three Bee Hives - One of Many Additions to the Homestead in 2014

Three Bee Hives – One of Many Additions to the Homestead in 2014

This is a great time of the year to look back at 2014 and begin fall/winter planning as well.  2014 was a big and very active year at the TSP ranch.

It also saw the launch of PermaEthos, AgriTrue, the TSP Wiki, SchoolStupidity.com and now we will soon be releasing  GenForward.com.

While I will talk a little bit about those things today I really want to focus mostly on the on the ground homestead improvements and lessons.  We now have a very large flock of chickens and a pretty good sized group of ducks.  The exciting part is our ducks are now laying eggs and I am absolutely in love with fresh duck eggs.

I also broke down and installed some “conventional garden beds” but I have already decided on a intensive polyculture model for them.  I have completed my sorghum trials and selected a variety to attempt to naturalize on the homestead and more.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • The rise of the red pharaoh chicken
  • Ducks the gentle on the land birds still do some damage
  • The ducks also seem to lay enough and grow fast enough to be a good meat source
  • Geese these guys might all be legs up in an oven by years end, except for Buddy
  • Jute Mallow will self reseed in my climate, sowing is better though
  • The sorghum trials are in, Mennonite for the win, the contestants were
    • Black Amber – grows great, birds don’t love it though
    • Giant White African, huge yields but falls over
    • Tarahumara doesn’t self reseed as well as the others
    • Mennonite birds love it, compact, reseeds, coppices well for 2 crops
  • Plant propagation is like printing money
  • Don’t skimp on the “support trees” and get over the density concerns
  • Pop up green houses suck, time to build a real one
  • Wolf Berry is fricken tough as nails and easy to propagate
  • Dwarf Mulberry is awesome
  • My best trees and bushes to grow are
    • Apple
    • Peach
    • Plum
    • Mulberry
    • Jujube
    • Autumn Olive and Goumi
    • Elders in the right locations
  • Currants will grow in Texas in a “Goldy Locks spot”
  • If there are to be blueberries, they must be in a container
  • Some new things I am going to try
    • White clover as a ground cover
    • Sowing more vegetables in the food forest
    • Better irrigation systems
    • The beginnings of a full property “fedge” system
    • A controlled Red Pharaoh breeding program
    • Horse poop on contour (yes I am serious)
  • The biggest lesson, as soon as you find the “best way” you find a better way

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Help Me Name a New Chicken Cross

I am working on a new chicken cross hybrid.  The photos below are an F1 Generation Hybrid.  They are of a cross of a pure Rhode Island Red Rooster and a Pure Egyptian Fayoumi Hen.  My hope is to breed more size into the eggs, less well “attitude” into the bird and retain the foraging characteristics and predator evasion of the Fayoumi.

These two birds have the same parents, they are a color sex link (you can tell the sex simply by the color and pattern) in the F1 (first cross), the male is the gray and white bird and the female the red-brown fading into black.  My plan is to see how these birds lay.  I have two hens and one rooster to work with of this cross and half a dozen more eggs of the cross in the incubator.

I plan to breed the hens back to another Rhode Island Red Cockerel (this will be a 66% Rhode Island – 33% Fayoumi cross) and judge the eggs of both the F1 and F2 (second generation cross) generations.

I will be looking for cockerels in both the F1 and F2, which ever cross works better I will directly breed the cross and see what we get with that.  The hope is to create a fast moving, predator evading, highly productive egg layer that isn’t well, a complete a-hole like the pure Fayoumis are.  Frankly I can deal with the attitude just fine, the real issue is how small the birds are and how small the eggs are.

If I can put some size on the eggs, I will call it a win. If the birds get enough size to make culling worth the effort on the meat end, I will call it a bonus.

Now here is the thing, the hens with the red brown to black fade are really pretty.  Pure Fayoumis are well, ugly!  So help me out if this cross proves productive what  would you call the hen as a breed.  How about Fade-Oumi, LOL, seriously what would you call this bird if it proves to be a winner.

Of course when we back cross the hens to a Rhode Island the look could change a great deal.

Male and Female Fayoumi - Rhode Island Red Crosses Side by Side.  Click for full Sized Image

Male and Female Fayoumi – Rhode Island Red Crosses Side by Side. Click for full Sized Image

Male Fayoumi - Rhode Island Red Cross Click for full Sized Image

Male Fayoumi – Rhode Island Red Cross Click for full Sized Image

Female Fayoumi - Rhode Island Red Cross Click for full Sized Image

Female Fayoumi – Rhode Island Red Cross Click for full Sized Image

Episode-1401- Chicken Keeping Questions and Answers

A Group of Our Hens in Conference Mode!

A Group of Our Hens in Conference Mode!

Episode’s 1397 and 1398 on keeping chickens were a big hit and they also generated a large number of questions.  Today we tackle most of the questions that came in.

If this show generates a lot more questions, I will be happy to do another follow up down the road.  The chicken is a remarkably simple animal from a needs stand point.  In the end chickens really need only, protection, housing, control, food, water, some room to roam and a bit of daily up keep to be happy.

As you begin to develop more complex systems that you wish to have your birds interact with though, this simple single element can become more and more complex, leading to a lot of “what ifs”.

Additionally as one moves from a small backyard flock for personal egg production to a larger flock for meat production, an egg business, etc, things do become more complex.  Management of coop, runs, food, water all require more thought to prevent a simple assert from turning into a major time drain.

Join Me Today As I Answer Your Questions On

  • Chicken nipples, what are those, get your mind out of the gutter
  • Nine month old Chickens that have never laid an egg
  • A new hen the rest of the flock just won’t accept
  • What do you do when customers want their eggs washed
  • Are there chicken scraps that should not go to chickens
  • Chicken breeding, genetics, etc.
  • Growing a chicken garden in a dual run system
  • Developing chicken pasture with overseeding
  • Cleaning the coop with bleach, why I may switch to peroxide
  • Isn’t DE just DE why do we need food grade DE for chickens
  • How do you raise a kind and gentle rooster

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1398- Mexican Joe on Prepper Networks and Homesteading

Joe “Mexican Joe” Sabedra is the creator of the North East Texas Preppers Network.  He is also a long time TSP listener, active homesteader and permaculturist and military veteran.

Joe considers himself addicted to skill development and skill teaching as well.  He is a life long learner who spends most of his time becoming a better prepper and a better teacher.

He joins us today for a fun episode where we discuss raising chickens on the cheap, radio communications and more.

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

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Episode-1397- More on Raising Chickens

A Happy Hen Waits for a Treat

A Happy Hen Waits for a Treat

In spite of the fact that yesterday’s show went two hours I realized at the end that many things I wanted to include didn’t get included.  For instance we didn’t cover breeding, incubating, brooding, slaughter and cooking.

Today I am going to take a second pass at this.  I am going to give you some actual numbers about weights when it comes to the slaughter of young, non meat breed cockerels.  Likely it will have you never bothering to pluck one again.

I am also going to provide you with a variety of ways to cook cull birds in order to deal with either their small size or tougher texture for the older birds.

I will also cover the basics of brooding your young birds and my experience thus far with geese that tells me a broody hen is worth more than two incubators!

Join Me Today to Discuss

  • Ordering chickens vs. buying local
  • Setting up a brooder
  • Introduction to an existing flock
  • Incubation of your own eggs
  • What the geese taught me about brooding
  • Keeping roosters from attacking you (sometimes this involves culling)
  • How I slaughter a chicken
  • To pluck or not to pluck, some real numbers
  • Some ways to cook cull chickens
    • Coq au Vin
    • Jacks Chicken Soup
    • Shredded Tex Mex Chicken
    • Chicken Stir Fry – The Key is the “Cut”
    • Making broth/stock from broilers “waste”
  • Some cool ways to use eggs
    • The easy “over easy” egg
    • The “nested egg” (I use sprouted grain bread)
    • Egg drop soup
    • Remember anything can go in an omelet

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

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Episode-1396- All About Keeping Chickens

Our Rooster Upgrayedd More than Earns His Keep

Our Rooster Upgrayedd More than Earns His Keep

I think perhaps the hottest thing in the modern homesteading trend right now is keeping chickens for both meat and eggs.  It isn’t hard to understand why!  The chicken and mankind go back thousands of years as allies.  I figure the natural fit is mostly that chickens will eat almost anything people will eat and many things we won’t.

Hence you have a bird that lays eggs almost year round that in many places can make its living off your scraps and the surrounding land.  Once trained to a coop, which takes about a day on average it will put itself to bed at night and always come home unless something eats it.

If you want more of them you let a hen do all the work and hatch and raise the babies.  You take older birds and excess males and turn them into surplus meat.  At least that is the philosophy that chickens were raised under for most of history.  Today things are not as simple, in some cases they could be and in others modern reality conflicts with what would be easiest or cheapest.

Join Me Today to Discuss…

  • What is great about chickens
    • Easy to raise
    • Produces eggs
    • Provides some meat
    • Provides entertainment
    • Largely self sufficient
    • Produce fertilizer
  • What is not so great about chickens
    • Poop management
    • Can be destructive
    • Cost of upkeep
    • Housing requirements
    • Winter needs
    • Dealing with culling
  • Ways of raising chickens and my thoughts on them
    • Coop and run
    • Tractoring
    • Free range
    • Restricted free range
    • Paddock shift management
  • How many birds do you want (layers)
    • Most hens lay 5-6 eggs a week in peak
    • My hens tend to lay 3 eggs off peak your mileage may vary
    • Birds will eat about .25 pounds of feed a day, budget for it
    • I don’t consider roosters money sinks, they are guardians
  • Coop Size and Perch Size Requirements
    • 4 sq ft. per bird of floor space
    • 10-12 inches of roost per bird (at highest level)
    • For confined runs minimum 10 sq ft per bird
  • Thoughts on some layer breeds
    • Rhode Island Red
    • White Leghorn and Crosses
    • Production Reds (sex links)
    • Black Australorp
    • Buff Orpington
    • Your Own “Mutts”
  • Raising meat chickens (thoughts on breeds)
    • Cornish Cross
    • Heritage Whites
    • Red “Freedom” Rangers
    • Delaware Chicken
  • Protein Requirements
    • Layer Chick Starter (20% protein)
    • Layer Grower (16-18%) No Calcium Supplementation
    • Layer “Laying Phase”  (16-18%) With Calcium
    • Broiler Starter (20-22% protein)
    • Broiler Growing (18-20%) Be Careful
    • Broiler Finisher (15-18%) Not Required it’s about fat!
  • Feed Options
    • Commercial
    • Organic
    • Non GMO
    • Grocery Waste
    • Brewers/Distillers Grain
    • Fodder
    • Growing Feed
    • Kitchen Wastes
    • Pasture
    • Insects
  • Final Thoughts and Just do It

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

Episode-1325- Taking the TSP Homestead Forward in 2014

Charlie and Ralph Nap after a Long Day on the Homestead

Time for a simple old school style TSP that is basically a chat with Jack.  Today we take a look a what 2014 has in store for life at the TSP homestead.  The first year here was mostly an infrastructure establishment phase.  We installed swales and hugul beds.  We also built facilities for our livestock, systems to move they though the land, etc.  We installed garden ponds and many other systems.

The entire first year of establishment is actually available in a 90 minute video we filmed that you can find here.  The key is the first year was like building the roads and bridges, 2014 is going to be more like when the houses, buildings and shops go in, metaphorically of course.

This year is going to be awesome, Josiah will be off building the flagship PermaEthos farm which will require at least one trip by me up there for a major earthworks course and installation.  Other than that though Dorothy and I will be back to it just being the two of us and frankly even though we love Joe like family we are looking forward to it.

We are moving into a new phase, one of tweaking, edge expansion and management.  Shifting from changing the landscape to working with it.  Dorothy is even considering starting a small homestead business or businesses of her own.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • Once we plant 300 plus trees this week then what
  • Plans for more mobile chicken fencing and a mobile coops
  • Charly’s progress and the BS that a dog that kills a chicken must be beaten, etc.
  • The geese “herd” is being expanded
  • Ducks into the system
  • A new “pond” near the big hen house how it will add to our system
  • A new crop in the garden ponds, Chinese water chestnut
  • This year we go big on perennial medicinal herbs
  • Bees are coming, I have no idea what to do with them but I will figure it out
  • Dorothy is considering an egg business, perhaps a plant business too
  • Pasture restoration 2.0, one horse equals a LOT of poop and hay
  • Final decision on the west pasture has yet to be made
  • Plans for our future abundance

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

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Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

TSP Homestead First Year in Review on Video

So it seems crazy but we have been on our new homestead about a year at this point.  In that time we lost our friend Blackie and gained an incredible new one “Charlie Daniels Spirko“.  We ran our first ever internship program and were so lucky to have chosen Josiah Wallingford as our intern who has become part of the family.

As to our property for our first year we focused mostly on infrastructure design.  Right now we have over 100 fruit and nut trees in damp sand waiting for our April planting workshop with a hundreds more on order.   When you look at the property now it doesn’t yet have the hundreds of varieties of plantings and frankly it is still winter so a lot of stuff is still brown, but when we really took it in, the first year was quite incredible.

We decided to document the entire property for you guys.  Likely it is a good thing we did so because in a year or two I don’t know that anyone will ever believe how this property started out without seeing it for themselves.    I am providing this video which is over an hour and 20 minutes in full 1080i HD in place of a show today.

Ill be in California until Tuesday so there won’t be any episodes officially until Wednesday next week but I will be uploading some raw audio and video from California and will try to put something new up every day for your guys.

Egyptian Fayoumi Chickens Become Delicious Dinner Items

Our 6 Egyptian Fayoumi roosters had gone absolutely mental on us.  They were terrorizing the flock and making all the pullets a nervous wreck.  We simply had too many roosters on the roost, which is what we get for buying birds “strait run”.

Additionally one of the supposed “sex link red pullets” is neither sex linked nor a pullet but a now maturing Road Island Red Rooster.  The gang of six attacked him to the point where he actually had gone into the floor of the chicken coop and disappeared for a few days, we thought he had been taken by a hawk.

But Dorothy was sure she heard something in the coop.  In the end we did hear him and pulled up the floor to get him out.  He is now my buddy and literally clings to my leg when we take a walk.  Well, that means I have a nice big old gentle rooster and didn’t need any of these psychopaths.

I really wanted to grow them out a bit more but I have to go to out of town for a bit and leaving Dorothy with yet another chore (moving their heavy chicken tractor twice a day) didn’t seem like the right thing to do.  So I got up at 0600 and slaughtered and dressed these guys.

They are about the size of a nice dressed out pheasant.  They all weighed only between 2 to 2.4 pounds and averaged right at 2.2.  So when we cook them we will do them in pairs which should feed Dorothy and I well and leave enough for a small pot of soup from the left overs.

If you are considering Fayoumis all I can say is don’t unless you have a shit ton of land and basically want feral birds that come back to roost at night and DON’T buy them strait run.  The cockerals were crowing by 3 weeks and fighting at 5 weeks, trying to harem up the hens at only 6-7 weeks and had turned into complete psychopaths by 90 days of age.

At that point they are really way to small for slaughter.    They just seem like a breed that isn’t really very useful on the small homestead.  I do think a large block of land with them going 100% free range and only Fayoumis would work with a rooster to hen ratio of say 8 to 1.

They don’t care about heat, they eat bugs and forage like mad, they don’t eat much commercial feed at all, etc.  That is one reason they mature fast but don’t grow fast is you can’t keep them on commercial feed as soon as they have the option for grasshoppers and field weeds they just have no further interest.

I know some wanted to have me film this, well, Dorothy wants no part in the slaughter of our animals so doing so would have made this a lot more of a chore.  We are going to bring in 25-50 meat birds for the fall, we will run a butchering workshop on those and that will be filmed.

Chicks First Day On Pasture

I Our 17 chicks are currently to young to be out of the brooder over night but we have great warm temps so we are now putting them in a tractor during the day and returning them to the brooder at night.

The tractor is framed form 7.5 foot stud lumber and covered with 1/4 inch hardware cloth.  The birds are two different types of red sex link hens, a male sex link (we think but it was labled a pullet by Tractor Supply but was in with all clearly sex linked pullets) and 8 Egyptian Fayoumi.  There are 4 standard Fayoumis and 4 that were marked as “cinnamon silver”.

We really don’t have a clue what a “cinnamon silver” is, we are not even 100% sure it is a Fayoumi cross or color phase as I can’t find any info on them.  The do appear a lot like the other Fayoumis in growth rate, size and other characteristics, so we shall see in time.

The dimensions of the tractor are 7.5 feet long, 24 inches high and 44 inches wide which leaves 2 inches of over hang on both sides for the oak pallets. This works great for day time use by small chickens that can easily get though 2 inch chicken wire and might strangle themselves with one inch wire.  Later it will be converted to my “Quail Mansion” tractors which I have long term plans for.

Note – I stated a 50 foot roll of hardware cloth in the video, what I meant to say was a 25 foot roll.