Backyard Gardening

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Your roses look good Tidathep. We've got a few rose bushes here, but I don't think they're as good as yours. Prices are cheap in Texas. Battery eggs here go for about $3/dozen, but I should be able to get $4-$5/dozen for backyard/organic eggs.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby tidathep » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:56 pm

shaunc wrote:Your roses look good Tidathep. We've got a few rose bushes here, but I don't think they're as good as yours. Prices are cheap in Texas. Battery eggs here go for about $3/dozen, but I should be able to get $4-$5/dozen for backyard/organic eggs.

---------------
Dear Shaunc,

Oh oh..$3... already expensive!...$4-$5 USD ...too much. :tongue:
In Texas...eggs/chicken/pork are cheap. Beef/duck/shrimp/fish are expensive.

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:21 am

Yesterday the hens got their 2nd worming dose of a commercial liquid poultry wormer. Today I'm breaking all the eggs just to be safe, even though the makers claim that there's no withholding period. After today I can start giving the birds my own organic worming mix of garlic & chilli, I'm already de-lousing with my own mix of tea-tree oil & water, a tip given to me by a mate of mine with greyhounds. Next week I'm looking forward to opening the coop & giving the girls their first free-range around the back-yard. Today I noticed the first pickable egg-plant, although, as we don't need it yet, I haven't picked it & the tomatoes have all got their first few small green ones. We've had no rain for a couple of weeks but the washing machine hose (grey-water) seems to be keeping the show on the road. The only thing I'm waiting on is the pumpkins, but with some luck in the running they'll come good too. I hope everyone else is getting a bit of luck as well.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:42 am

Yesterday I saw a film in German TV about an organic farm. They grow herbs and celery and they found out, that it is possible to reduce watering. They are experimenting with different sorts of vegetable and they do very much for the soil to enable it to hold more water. Very interesting.
Against bugs and lice i found the aetheric oils of Geranium and Lavendula very helpful. Also Eucalyptus. Mix a small amount with water and spray this smelling fluid around. :smile: I don't know where they are going but the vermin vanish from this smell.
Geranium is also a genuine medicine to scare lice - so they are not even going to try to settle on this smelling human head. It smells like roses, is very expensive, but you only need on drop to give an intensive smell to 10ml of water or oil.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:23 pm

You're right about the right type of soil holding water. Most of our soil is composted wood shavings from the chicken coop. I run the chooks on about 10-15cm of wood shavings. This keeps the smell down for the neighbours. Once/year we shovel it out & compost it for about a year & this goes onto the vegetable patch. I've never tried eucalyptus oil but that's readily available here as well, feeding garlic to animals also helps as fleas, lice, mites, etc don't like the smell. I've never tried geranium but we've got a few of them growing in the yard too. I'll try the eucalyptus & geranium for an experiment. The 2 black hens aren't great layers, so I'm not too worried about experimenting on them, as a matter of fact that's really the only way I see of them pulling their weight in the flock, the big one especially eats too much & returns a very minimal amount. If I was any sort of a chicken man I'd knock both of them on the head, but I'm too soft hearted. Admittedly the big one is very friendly, but no more than the hy-lines & the little one is very flighty & a pain to deal with.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:21 pm

:smile: Maybe these two hens have other qualities then giving many eggs... :shrug: Maybe they are the poets among the chicks and giving inspiration and silent songs to the others?
Or something similair. Who knows? ;)
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:12 pm

Image
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:26 am

Ayu wrote::smile: Maybe these two hens have other qualities then giving many eggs... :shrug: Maybe they are the poets among the chicks and giving inspiration and silent songs to the others?
Or something similair. Who knows? ;)
Ayu wrote:Image


No Ayu, they're layers. It's like they read my thoughts (or this thread). I just went down to the hen house to change their water, as I have an early start & won't be home until lunchtime & both black hens had laid. All up we got about 7 eggs today. Not great out of 10 hens, but not too bad either. Now I just hope that the kids remember to feed them in the morning. Slowly but surely we're building them up into a fairly reasonable flock.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:39 pm

So they just need some time. :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby tidathep » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:25 pm

Dear Shaunc,

I wonder ....the lesbian-hens lay eggs too ??

Pretty???
Image
Image
Image

Right now...Texas is 20 degree Farenheit...my roses stop blooming...I stop walking-meditation outside the house....even shopping has to be in the bright sunshiny days !

Did you give special foods to your animals on New Year's Day ??
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:39 am

Hi Tidathep. Happy Christmas & new-year to you & your family. I'm sure the lesbian hen still lays, I was just worried about her stressing the other hens out. She might not be a true lesbian, it's quite possible that it was a domination type of behaviour as all the girls established a new pecking order (hierarchy).
They've all done pretty well food wise over the festive season. Prawn heads, oyster shells, fish skeletons & mango seeds & skins. The reality is that they've probably eaten better than some people have. Something to think about, sad but true.
The chickens have almost finished being re-homed. It takes 3 weeks, on Saturday afternoon I'm going to let them all go to free-range in the back-yard for the 1st time. I'm going to pay for this decision, I'll lose quite a bit of silver-beet, but as the dharma teaches us for every action there is a consequence, the positive side of this decision is I'll have happier chooks & therefore more, bigger, better quality eggs.
One thing gardening & keeping poultry has taught me is that I think I know why the Buddha & many of his followers did & still do, go out into the outdoors to practise. Every tree, plant, bird & animal is our teacher.
Kathleen always asks me to read your Buddha stories. She looks for pictures that interest her, princesses & animals, I hope it's not a sin but sometimes I twist the story to either make it easier to understand, less scary or change a beautiful woman from a baddie to a goodie
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:22 am

Yesterday we let the girls out for a pick around the yard & as predicted the silver beet has been slaughtered. However upon closer inspection today I made a small but possibly not insignificant discovery. One of the silver-beet plants was a different variety than the others possibly/probably from a mix up at the nursery. It's a type where the stems are red rather than white & the chooks have hardly touched it. It's a variety to grow next season I think. We've had no rain for 2 or 3 weeks now & I still haven't had to water yet as the washing machine hose is keeping the show on the road.
Good luck with your garden.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:44 pm

But if the chicken don't like to eat it, maybe it is inedible?
I read, they eat almost everything except citrus fruits.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
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What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:30 am

Ayu wrote:But if the chicken don't like to eat it, maybe it is inedible?
I read, they eat almost everything except citrus fruits.


It's not in edible, they just prefer the white stalked variety. That's true what you heard about chickens eating just about anything. The only things I don't feed them is citrus, onion, potatoe avocado & dairy foods, but even these foods in small amounts won't hurt them. At the moment in the scrap bucket there's fish frames, carrot ends, assorted fruit & vegetable skins & a few used tea-bags. It cuts down on the feed bill & also provides chicken manure for the garden. It took 3 weeks, but I managed to fix up the hens that had a calcium deficiency ( silver-beet, egg-shells & fish-frames ). It's hard not to boast but my eggs are top grade, today a woman drove 10 km to get a dozen off me. All chickens need is a place to get out of wind & rain, some food & clean water. Once/month I feed them garlic & chilli to worm them & I spray them daily with tea-tree oil & water to keep down mites, lice & fleas. I run them on wood shavings (deep-litter method) this keeps smells down for the neighbours, once/ year we shovel it out & malawash everything, coop, perches & birds. We then restock the coop with clean wood shavings & compost the old stuff for the garden.
If you have the time & the room, I'd encourage everyone to keep their own fowl. It doesn't take much to knock an "A" frame coop together & they don't need a lot of room 1 square metre/bird is enough if you let them free-range for an hour or 2, 3 or 4 times/week.
It's much like anything else, to succeed at it, you have to work at it a little bit.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby reddust » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:57 am

Shaun I have to dust several of my hens, they have mites that are eating their feathers. That means I have to dust all eleven birds. It's too cold out to give them a bath. I stick them in a big empty feed bag with a couple cups of Diatomaceous Earth flour and ruffle the DE all over their body. It smothers the mites. I also powder their coop with it.... The hens and roosters hate this so much and I end up looking like a ghost, the DE flour is very fine just like wheat flour.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:46 am

reddust wrote:Shaun I have to dust several of my hens, they have mites that are eating their feathers. That means I have to dust all eleven birds. It's too cold out to give them a bath. I stick them in a big empty feed bag with a couple cups of Diatomaceous Earth flour and ruffle the DE all over their body. It smothers the mites. I also powder their coop with it.... The hens and roosters hate this so much and I end up looking like a ghost, the DE flour is very fine just like wheat flour.


Yeah, that's the problem with any livestock, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. At the moment I have mice. This can create problems with neighbours, the mice possibly moving into my house & they can attract snakes. I've had to lay bait for them today. This can also create problems, if one of the hens or the dog picks up a dead one. There's just no escaping samsara or karma. I like to think that I'm creating less problems than the large commercial poultry operations, but sometimes I'm not sure. To top it off the big Austrolorp hen died today, most probably from heat stress. At the moment it's 38 Celsius. I'm not sure what that converts too but it's bloody hot.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby tidathep » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:50 pm

Sawaddee Ka...Shaunc/Reddust,

"To top it off the big Austrolorp hen died today, most probably from heat stress"

Oh, I feel sad that your Austrolorp hen died ...That's why I only have Robodog/Robocat....real pets always die! I wish your hen be reborn as a human-being next life....reborn as a hen in Thailand/USA ..no good...people love to eat chickens.

But if your hen must reborn as a hen again...I pray that she reborn in the premise of Wat Luangta-Bua...chickens/squirrels/peacock/birds there get to eat very nice/yummy left over alms-food/great desserts everyday...people there are kind to them/love them..... I too loved to feed them when I was there.

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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby Ayu » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:25 pm

I read about a trap to catch the mice living:

Put a bait into a bucket and put some sort of stairs on it. Maybe some kind of branch. So the mouse can reach the bucket, but when it falls into it there is no way out, because the bucket is too slippery and steep. Then you can drive the mice far away.
But the hens will also like the bait? :thinking:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby reddust » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:35 pm

Ayu wrote:I read about a trap to catch the mice living:

Put a bait into a bucket and put some sort of stairs on it. Maybe some kind of branch. So the mouse can reach the bucket, but when it falls into it there is no way out, because the bucket is too slippery and steep. Then you can drive the mice far away.
But the hens will also like the bait? :thinking:


That's what we do! I put the mice on the other side of our creek. Funny true story, I had caught 2 mice 3 times in a bucket, I kept thinking these can't be the same mice but my intuition kept saying these are the same mice! This was in the summer when our creek was very low. So the 4th time I caught mice in our big five gallon bucket I marked their ears with red paint. Placed them on the other side of the creek. The next night I caught 2 mice again and they had red ears :D

I drove them up across our river and turned them out, they never showed up again. The creek is high enough in the winter the little critters can't swim across the current!

shaunc wrote:
Yeah, that's the problem with any livestock, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. At the moment I have mice. This can create problems with neighbours, the mice possibly moving into my house & they can attract snakes. I've had to lay bait for them today. This can also create problems, if one of the hens or the dog picks up a dead one. There's just no escaping samsara or karma. I like to think that I'm creating less problems than the large commercial poultry operations, but sometimes I'm not sure. To top it off the big Austrolorp hen died today, most probably from heat stress. At the moment it's 38 Celsius. I'm not sure what that converts too but it's bloody hot.


Chickens die so easy poor dears. The only thing I can think of is to mist them several times a day. They prolly would hate that though. May cool air and rains bless your chickens soon! We get up to 110 degrees here for several weeks but in the evenings we go into the 80s even during the hottest times of the year. Chickens cool themselves by panting, I didn't know that! I read I have to keep lots of water for them which will make their poop runny but not to worry. Because they drink lots of water I have to make sure they get plenty of minerals in their diet. Here in Oregon the summers are Mediterranean. In the winter we can get -4 degrees or more and I have to watch the roosters combs so they don't freeze. I usually grease them up with lanolin, I also feed them kelp, helps their energy system keep them from freezing.
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Re: Backyard Gardening

Postby shaunc » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:23 pm

The heat-wave is still going. 42 degrees Celsius for 4 days now. Besides the big black Australorp I've also lost one of the hy-lines . Egg production has dropped radically, from 7-8/day down to 3/day yesterday & the day before & now just 1 egg today. If it goes on much longer any eggs I get will be coming out hard boiled. They're all very stressed, I hose them all down a couple of times/day but as you know, chickens hate water. Again I'm in a position of damned if I do & damned if I don't.
There hasn't been much point in praying for rain up until now, but we've got a low-pressure system coming in tonight, so if anyone wants to send a few prayers our way, tonight is our big chance.
On the plus side, we've got no fires in our area as yet, but as were all living in a tinder-box, the volunteer fire brigade is on standby. The vegetable patch is firing on all cylinders, the grey water is keeping the show on the road & even in this weather I haven't had to water anything except for the chooks.
I hope everyone else's luck is holding up better than mine at the moment.
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