I got a hankering for new chickens and started brainstorming last week. With Melissa on board and a new coop lined up as soon as I can borrow a trailer, all I lacked was a brooder, chicks, and some motivation. And who on earth can stay unmotivated with spring weather an a ton of sunshine?
So it all started with testing out the swales on the small corn patch. I decided I'd use our IBC tote to make the brooder and two chicken tractors, and now I'm crazy about the idea! So I drained our water catcher into the swales, and the worked perfectly. My friend and I are going to use the tractors to trial running our own small scale meat birds before we decide to jump into actual production. It took some work to talk him down from spending $5k to start a business lol
New brooder, all set up!
The idea is to use half of the plastic tank for the brooder, and cut the other half in two and use those parts inside the metal frame halves as tractors. I'll make another post on that later.
Little chickens in a big brooder...
I decided to go with a production laying bird this round These are gold sex links like I had four of in the original flock. The early start and consistent production are what drew me to them because of the local CSA we're starting. I want to get in the eggs soon and stay in them, so these birds are the ticket. So far we're at five birds, but we'll add more soon between layers and meat birds. I'd love to have community demand for fifteen layers and have those birds work in the garden all day. Then a small batch of five meat birds at a time every couple months to round out some more sustainable home scale meat production and mowing. Mowing is work, and Nate doesn't like to work. I sold Melissa on the meat birds when I told her how awesome the grass would be after running chickens on it. She's mad that I "killed all the grass" on the south side where the forest is.
Snazzytude boss chicken.
We'll call this one Snaz. This chick was the most active one in the bin at Tractor Supply, so I had them snag her for me first. She was already eating, drinking, and playing well with the other birds. I bet she becomes our alpha chick. Today I already saw her teaching the other girls to scratch! Excellent leadership.
My good friend recently bought a house. He's the guy that turned me on to permaculture about three years ago. His roomie and lifelong friend wants to get into gardening, so he came over and we talked gardening while we walked around. I sent him home with some goodies too. A pile of seeds, seven goji cuttings, three plum trees, two blackberry crowns, a book, and some links for seeds, trees, and supplies.
Three baby plum trees, buckled up safe.
The plum suckers are coming on extremely strong, as expected. Just the last week there's probably three or four more. I'm going to list them on Facebook marketplace for $5 a pop. They'll make excellent rootstock for someone to start grafting with, which is my plan as well. The one I planted last year that was a foot and a half or so tall is now over my head, which is six feet off the ground. Very strong stock.
Two blackberry cuttings.
These were the two best crowns I got this year from the thornless blackberries I bought from @mountainjewel last year. I was surprised at their roots! About a foot around each tip.
Seven goji cuttings in willow water.
The smaller goji cuttings here are the size that their mother plant was when I planted it eleven months ago. I planted one here and there's a solid dozen canes now. An abundantly productive plant that the chickens love. I'll be taking cuttings for myself soon as well and planting a patch for the chooks.
Six experimental blackberry cuttings in willow water.
All the cuttings and extra willow twigs I got had me wondering if I could root some more blackberry canes. If it works, we'll have six more plants! It's cool to not have to spend money on plants anymore. Starting next year I should be able to root or graft whatever plants I'll need. Blackberry, goji, peach, plum, apple, pear, almond, fig, I should have plenty and enough to put some into heavy sharing mode and sell for another small homestead income stream.
No corn yet! Of course, it's only been a week or so since I planted it, so I'm not sure what I'm expecting. The clover is coming on strong though. Song birds have been loving pecing in it and eating seeds and sprouts, and there's plenty to go around!
Crimson clover sprouting thick on the small corn patch.
Melissa has been saying how I've been in a real good mood lately, so I guess the sleeping and garden time are working! Gotta say, I'm even being more at peace with my job lately. Got a post brewing for later on that. Still patiently waiting for the pine pollen to come on. We had sycamore seeds blowing all over the neighborhood this week, so I may start me a few sycamore trees to get a few apex trees started... We'll see!
All action for the good of all.