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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Chickens!!!

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  • Dieter Brand
    Greg, Thanks for the additional information. Part of our land is wooded, but since the biology of forest soils is dominated by fungi, I was wandering if
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 4, 2008

      Thanks for the additional information. Part of our land is wooded,
      but since the biology of forest soils is dominated by fungi, I was
      wandering if chickens would find anything of interest there. It
      could be useful, because the shade of the trees would does
      provide some relieve from the heat in the Summer. The other
      problem is predators of course, it probably would be even harder
      to protect them in the woods.

      I don't understand about picture myself, I guess the list isn't
      configured for sending pictures. Thanks for the try.


      Greg and Garbo <prairiedf@...> wrote:
      Hi Dieter,

      Some of our older chickens live in a semi-wild state, accepting food and
      protection when offered.

      These chickens love the wood edge, as it gives cover and security from avian
      predetors. They will range into the woods, but seem to prefer the edges. The
      older, more experience birds will make a ciruit daily, going down to the
      greenhouse area, over to the pond, thru the gardens and back near the pen.
      At rest they are always under the brush and hedgerows.

      Our farm was an old corn field 20 years ago, and we bought it to mostly
      restore to Nature. We planted 5 acres of native prairie, 7000 trees, an
      orchard, nut grove, and packed in as much diversity into it as we could. We
      still have large garden areas, pasture for the animals, and very much edge
      effect. Edge effect is where different plant communities come together,
      like; prairie, wetland and woods. This is where the greatest diversity and
      life is. It¹s where the chickens want to be too.

      The pictures did not come thru. Did I do something wrong?


      From: Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
      Reply-To: "fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com"
      Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2008 13:32:13 -0800 (PST)
      To: "fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com" <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Chickens!!!


      Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm looking forward to seeing
      pictures of those movable chicken shelters of yours. Did I understand
      you correctly that chickens can be kept in a wooded area?

      Dieter Brand

      Greg and Garbo <prairiedf@...
      <mailto:prairiedf%40globaldialog.com> > wrote:

      Hi Folks,

      And now I thought I¹d weigh in on raising chickens.

      I like chickens. They are a fun bird to raise, have a personality that
      messes will with mine, and taste really good. If raised on pasture, they
      bio-accumulate fatty three omega acids (incredibly important in regulation
      of human hormones and other body processes). Fatty three omega acids are
      severely lacking in diets of peoples who eat highly processed food from an
      industrialized farming nation (like the US).

      We¹ve raised chickens for almost 20 years. In that time we have tried to
      incorporate Masanobu-san¹s ideals as much as practical.

      One thing we do is use chicken tractors for night housing and a place for
      the chickens to run to for protection. These movable pens are moved around
      the farm as conditions warrant, seeking best pasture or bug eating
      opportunities. The chickens have free range of the area during the day, and
      are locked up tight at night. Peacocks and dogs help provide extras
      protection from predators.

      We also use electrified poultry netting to keep the chickens and geese out
      of the formal gardens or to keep the land predators out of the pen area. If
      used from the time the chicks are first running around, they soon learn they
      can run right thru the electrified horizontal strands and not get a shock.
      Most predators are too large to do this. As the chickens grow, I raise small
      portions of the fence just enough to let the chickens scoot under. The
      Chickens learn where these places are, and the predators don¹t. It takes a
      bit of time to manage for this, but it¹s fun and pretty easy.

      Another aspect of doing more with less is how we plan to feed the chickens.
      We will plant Winter wheat and rye in Fall, for the chickens to self harvest
      in Spring. We¹ll roll down a section of the grain with our team of horses,
      so we can move there pen into the grain field. The chickens soon learn that
      they are living in a field of food and do all the harvesting themselves. We
      plant Spring grains for them to continue the process throughout the growing

      The grain fields are planted and tended in a minimalist sort of way, using
      the horses to disc the fields to open the ground a bit, and then we hand
      seed the grain and cover crop, and disc once more to hide the grain from the
      chickens. A rotation scheme can be devised with consecutively larger fields
      to feed the chickens thru much of the growing season.

      We only raise a couple hundred chickens for ourselves and some family
      friends. The Œfields¹ are pretty small and easy to manage with the horses
      and chickens.

      We also will use the chickens as part of the bug patrol in our orchard. The
      electric poultry netting will keep the hens in a confined area very well.
      The hens are happy in the orchard and do well there, helping control plum
      curculio and other pests.

      I¹ll try to attach a few pictures.

      Greg in Wisconsin

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