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Got Perch? Chickens Need a Place to Lay Their Weary Feathers.


One of the last add-ons to the chicken coop was the addition of a couple of perches for them to roost on. I had put this off for a while only because they were too small to make use of them just yet. That has changed as they seem to have grown by a factor of three! So roosts were needed and relatively soon. These were simple enough to install as I had pulled them from a couple of our closets (replaced with better closet storage). They worked perfectly. The chickens are fat and healthy, and after a good days scratching around the run, they now have a place in the coop to truly rest.

As for the ladies… they are doing very well. Growth has as mentioned, been astounding. We keep them on chick starter for the last 6 weeks and will continue to do so till they reach full maturity in another 17 weeks. At which time we’ll switch to a feed that provides additional nutrients like calcium for healthy egg production.

The only bad issue to report as of late has been a local bird species that has a taste for chick feed and has diligently made attempts to dig  under the surrounding run. One was successful 😦 So with that I am in preventive maintenance mode. I now have 2/3rds of the surrounding run with additional mesh that runs below the rock line and plan on finishing the rest of the run in the next week. Do not underestimate small birds and their tenacity to want to get at food. These little buggers actually moved 1/2″ rip rap rock and dug a tunnel under the run to get at the feed. AMAZING. So when building your own enclosed run, I’d recommend running steel mesh on the bottom of your runs as well to prevent such occurances with your own chickens.

Urban Farm Fanatic Item #2 – Aquaponics Greenhouse… The Build Continues!


Well, the opportunity to finally get down to the fun part of building the greenhouse, i.e… actually building the greenhouse has come! No bushes to dig out, no irrigation to dig around for, no screening out river rocks. Just fun old, “Break out the power tools and grunt like Tim the Toolman Taylor building!!!” Arrrrghhh arrrgh aaahhhh!!! 🙂

Originally my thought was to just start adding in a few images as the build progressed, but by the end of the day I had realized that I had been quite the camera bug.. and so putting together just a few still frames wasn’t going to do this build the justice it deserved. After all, you plan a project for months, you need to give it the full blogging treatment. So, I decided to dust off what little knowledge I have about video editing and put together a nice little clip of the days progress… and yes, this all occurred in just one day! (The magic of the hoop house build.) All together about 8 hours of work.

After completing the first days work, I’d have to say the hardest part of the initial build was the 2x4x6 foundation. I was wanting that to be as level as I could get it, but realized that the ground was in no way level for my needs. I pre-drilled holes for each of the pieces on my back porch which I knew to be level, then moved them into the yard for assembly (the greenhouse’s dimensions are 12×40). I used scrap blocks to add support to the low lying areas. Followed that up with the sledgehammering of the 3 foot re-bar pieces (drove those half way into the ground.. my right hand is dead by the way from swinging an 8 pound sledgehammer).

As for the easiest part, that would be the assembling and installation of the PVC supports. Got a nice little 45 degree joint to mount the two 10 foot sections together, slid one end over the re-bar on one side, then bent and slid it over on the opposing side. That part took all of 20 minutes to complete the entire hoop!

Next weekend I will be receiving a large order of rock that will be applied to the foundation. The plan was to do that anyway and I thought it better to work with the rock in order to achieve a level base rather than trying to dig up the surrounding dirt and raking that around. But as I said.. next weekend.. right now the old bod is ridiculously sore, so I’m going to be giving it a breather before I put it back to work!

Enjoy the video!!! 🙂

Farming/Gardens – Aquaponics – Making the Most Out of a Small Space


Efficiency should be your number 1 goal when putting together a system of growing, whether that is for growing fruits/veggies or livestock. The more complications you add into that system, the more there will be chances for it to go wrong.

Most Urban Farming methods rely on systems that can take advantage of small spaces simply because that is the hand people are dealt. Usually somewhere indoors, maybe a patio  or if lucky a small yard. So when I went researching for a means to create such a system for my own urban dwelling, the choices got narrowed down real quick. I had looked at wicking beds, hydroponics, traditional dirt farming, raised planter boxes, pot gardens, etc. Ultimately though one technique came through with the most bang for the real estate buck.. Aquaponics. Essentially the creation of a small ecosystem utilizing plants, fish and bacteria colonies that works in a closed loop.

The beauty of this system comes from its many benefits. .

It’s scale-able:  You can put a system together with 1 goldfish in a 1 gallon bowl, 1 pump and a small planter bed to grow your greens.. all the way to a commercial based setup that can feed thousands.

Water usage: A system that can provide soluble nutrients to your plants while utilizing less than 1/10th of the water needed for traditional soil based farming of the same grow area.

Elimination of ‘Killers’: No pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or weed killers are needed.

No Weeding: As mentioned in #3, weed killer is not required because few, if any, weeds will show up in an AP system. The ones that do slip through, you simply grab, pull gently, and the entire plant, along with its roots are removed never to regenerate again.

Stop growing horizontal: Vertical tower growing is becoming more popular by the day.. by taking advantage of vertical empty space, you can take a just a few square feet and expand your grow space by a factor of six or more (depending on ceiling height).

Eliminate bending: Don’t know about you, but constantly having to haunch over to tend to a garden was fine when I was a kid.. as I got older though, the bod just didn’t have the same flexibility or spring in my step. AP offers you the ability to set the height of your grow beds, thereby eliminating much of the need to bend over.

Growing time is reduced: You can essentially grow the same foods you do now in traditional dirt farming in 1/3 to 1/2 the time. A constant supply of nutrients, water and oxygen is supplied to the roots of your plants in an AP setup. This helps the plant improve both in size, nutrient density and how quickly it can be harvested.

You can add fish into your diet: Talapia, Perch, Catfish, Crayfish, Barumundi.. the list can go on and on, but you can essentially provide a stock of your own fish for consumption.

There are many more benefits to this type of system. All together you’re maybe looking at 2 to 3 moving parts.. the main pump, the air-stones pump and maybe a backup pump. The rest of the system relies on gravity and what are known as auto-siphons that help the water fill and drain from a grow bed (these have no moving parts but rely on air to create an open/closed drain). There are many different styles and types of Aquaponics that can be referenced for your own setup, should you decide that’s a direction you want to go.

But again, the decision of what type of growing style you go with is a personal choice. I’m simply describing something that has many benefits for the small space dweller.

Its not a perfect system, there are a few drawbacks like not being able to grow many root based vegetables. But the community supporting it is vast and growing everyday. New ideas and development may one day solve some of those drawbacks.