What do you do to increase egg and meat production within your homestead flock?

  • Other~feel free to explain other methods you use to increase production.

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Hinotori

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Potatoes don't do the best here. I wish they did. I'm putting in extra winter squash as that loves it here. Butternut, sweet meat, and pie pumpkins. As a bonus I can feed it to chickens if I don't eat it all.
 

wyoDreamer

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Potatoes don't do the best here. I wish they did. I'm putting in extra winter squash as that loves it here. Butternut, sweet meat, and pie pumpkins. As a bonus I can feed it to chickens if I don't eat it all.
I wonder if growing potatoes in bags would work for you. You are able to control the soil and water better. Potatoes like a loose soil and don't like wet feet.
 

Beekissed

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I wonder if growing potatoes in bags would work for you. You are able to control the soil and water better. Potatoes like a loose soil and don't like wet feet.

I agree.....there's fellas over in the UK doing tub taters and have it down to an art. They are pretty wet there and tend to have a lot of blight, so they have figured out how to grow them despite all of that.

 

Hinotori

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I did potatoes in an old wheelbarrow one year and it did great. Our soil is rocky, heavy, and wet most of the year. Ive thought about using feed bags but I'm not sure how much soil to fill them with
 

wyoDreamer

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I did this out in Wyoming (high mountain desert with no topsoil) and I used a mix of compost, peat moss and topsoil. 50/50 on peat moss to topsoil to keep soil moist and fluffy. The peat moss will hold water but not keep it soaking wet - like a sponge that has been squeezed out, moist but not dripping wet.
And use a gallon milk jug with 3 small holes in the bottom for watering. I put rocks in it to keep it from blowing away, lol. Just set the jug on top in the center and fill the jug with the hose. It will slowly drain into the soil and allow the soil to adsorb the moisture instead of it just running through the soil and out the bottom.
 

Beekissed

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I did potatoes in an old wheelbarrow one year and it did great. Our soil is rocky, heavy, and wet most of the year. Ive thought about using feed bags but I'm not sure how much soil to fill them with

You could just grow spuds in leaves, hay, straw, etc. For several years now I've not put them into a tilled soil situation but rather into compost "rings" out of CP, filled with leaves, old hay, etc. As the season progresses, the materials just compost downward, they stay moist in dry times and dryer when it's really wet here. Taters seem to love it....but I've learned not to use chicken compost. Grows 7 ft long, lush green vines but no taters on the other end. I just plant the spuds all the way to the bottom of the layered materials so they have contact with the soils if they want to root down into it.

It doesn't have to be deep either....about 2 ft of materials will compost downward to about 10 in. by the end of the season~YMMV~ and you can easily just shuffle the taters out of it by hand at harvest. They come out pretty clean.
 

wyoDreamer

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What @Beekissed says.
I hate digging taters out of the ground. With the bags, I just drive the tractor up to the bags and wiggle them into the bucket. Lift the bucket to comfortable working height and dump the bags over. Sift for taters with your fingers. When done, scrape the soil into a clean garbage can and save for the next year. After 2 years, I use the soil for other crops so I don't get potato diseases in it.
 

Lazy Gardener

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I dig a trench for my seed pieces, bury those, then continue to heap mulch materials on top as the spuds grow: Often, all I have available is grass clippings. Leaves and hay are also a big help. Important to keep that mulch deep enough that the spuds don't sun scald, and harvest ASAP when the vines die back. Otherwise, rodents have a hey day with them. I could NEVER overwinter root crops here b/c of the rodent population.
 

Beekissed

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Various pics of broodies and chicks....I have three WR broodies right now with both white and barred chicks on the ground. Two more hens sitting on eggs together, one BA and the other a barred WR/BA mix hen.

Here's a black snake I killed that was hunting the chicks....was about 2 ft away from the broody pen. The snake was 5.5 ft. long. Discovered it when I was looking around the shed walls for something and this big ol' thing was draped over a log over the door we had walked in and out of all morning long. Grabbed the tail and pulled it down out of there, separated it from its head with a machete.


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Used a farm mutt mix rooster this year, a cross between a WR male and a Sapphire Gem hen, the grey hen in the picture.
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One more batch to hatch, plus two ducks sitting a double nest in the coop....all these chicks and culling a few older hens will give us some of our meat supply this coming winter. I'm hoping a lot of these are cockerels.
 
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