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Composting 30,000lbs of Food Waste -Ashley's Crazy Business and Homestead

 
pollinator
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Dillon Nichols wrote:Behold, the fastest ugliest sketch possible of what I was trying to describe above..



OMG the doodle worked! It makes sense now! I like it!

I was also thinking maybe I should purchase a small utility trailer? Then instead of driving around my huge old F250 I could use my van or even a different small car in the future.

Terry:

I love the idea of mixing my own feed. I just need to start tracking down where I can buy stuff in bulk that is good quality. Any resources on sprouting for chickens? Is it just the same as sprouting for people?

I've played around with fermenting feed before. All my feeders are designed for dry feed. I guess I could just make a big tub for wet feed.
 
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:I love the idea of mixing my old feed. I just need to start tracking down where I can buy stuff in bulk that is good quality. Any resources on sprouting for chickens? Is it just the same as sprouting for people?
I've played around with fermenting feed before. All my feeders are designed for dry feed. I guess I could just make a big tub for wet feed.


It's the same, but you don't have to worry about the results so much. And chickens of course will eat both ends!
Here are two examples, one is making almost fodder, while the other is only sprouting:
https://the-chicken-chick.com/sprouting-grains-for-chickens-fodder/
http://vomitingchicken.com/easiest-sprouts-for-chickens-ever/



 
pollinator
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:

Dillon Nichols wrote:Behold, the fastest ugliest sketch possible of what I was trying to describe above..



OMG the doodle worked! It makes sense now! I like it!

I was also thinking maybe I should purchase a small utility trailer? Then instead of driving around my huge old F250 I could use my van or even a different small car in the future.



If your pickup locations and future likely ones are trailer friendly this would likely be a cost-saver in the long run, *if* the van or other vehicle is needed anyhow, or if itwould let you take the truck off the road?

I use my old diesel fullsize for everything, because I drive infrequently enough that the cost of insuring a second vehicle exceeds the fuel savings.. before even looking at maintenance/depreciation on the second vehicle.

(I hate taking my trailer into town, but my town is short on trailer friendly parking, and my combined length is about 47ft..)
 
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"Buying a bulk mix from a feed grain. A friend of mine cuts their cost of their pasture raised pigs by buying an organic mix. Sure beats those $18 bags of organic feed."

Alternative: Find a peanut processor. Many sell peanut sweepings in bulk bags for cheap. As part of a custom mix the peanut sweepings can constitute the majority of the protein source. Just watch those shipping costs.
 
pollinator
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Thomas

I believe most grocery stores have their vegetable left overs already allocated. If not to a specific user, by the boss to the locked dumpster to avoid becoming known as a free food station. But I think most left overs get used, at least in larger cities where there are people to organize it.

Cheers,
Rufus
 
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Reading this thread got me motivated.  I stopped last evening at a shop that makes juices by juicing veggies.  I know from dumpster diving that they throw everything out.  So, I stopped, made a few inquiries, and emailed the manager.  He's on-board with me picking up compostable materials on a daily basis to use as feed supplement and soil improvement.  
I think the volume is going to be more than I can handle, but I'm going to give it a shot!  It's also not really what I need for the chickens and goats - mostly fiber and vitamins, not so much carbs and protein, but it's something.  
Now I have to determine how to best feed it out, what quantity to feed (rest will be spread over garden areas), etc.  Anyone have any advice on using fruit and veggie pulp?  
 
Terry Bytes
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Thomas Dean wrote:Reading this thread got me motivated.  I stopped last evening at a shop that makes juices by juicing veggies.  I know from dumpster diving that they throw everything out.  So, I stopped, made a few inquiries, and emailed the manager.  He's on-board with me picking up compostable materials on a daily basis to use as feed supplement and soil improvement.  
I think the volume is going to be more than I can handle, but I'm going to give it a shot!  It's also not really what I need for the chickens and goats - mostly fiber and vitamins, not so much carbs and protein, but it's something.  
Now I have to determine how to best feed it out, what quantity to feed (rest will be spread over garden areas), etc.  Anyone have any advice on using fruit and veggie pulp?  



You can still turn that into carbs & protein for your chickens. Set up a 2 -pile compost system, and add it to one of the piles, mixed with whatever green/brown you think you need to balance it. Once it starts rotting and you have bacteria, bugs, flies & larva doing their job, start adding to the 2nd pile only, and open this first pile to your chickens to scratch & discover the fruit-pulp-fed bugs.
 
john mcginnis
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Thomas Deanoing wrote: to be more than I can handle, but I'm going to give it a shot!  It's also not really what I need for the chickens and goats - mostly fiber and vitamins, not so much carbs and protein, but it's something.  
Now I have to determine how to best feed it out, what quantity to feed (rest will be spread over garden areas), etc.  Anyone have any advice on using fruit and veggie pulp?  



Two suggestions:

A) Composting worms. You would have work up a bedding mix as pure pulp would probably go anaerobic. But the worms would love the pulp. Plus is in a basement or greenhouse it could be a year round thing.
B) Solider Flies. Same with (A) on bedding though the consumption rate would be much higher. Downside is its seasonal.

Either choice you just feed the output to the chickens as a protein source.

Good luck!
 
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Totally awesome! We had a composting business in our old town. The cleaning of buckets was time consuming. Def consider creating a space to wash buckets/bins. We used a toilet brush to clean the buckets. Requires less water than rinsing. The water from the rinsing can be used to water gardens/trees.

 
Rufus Laggren
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One last comment on schlepping bins.

1) TommyLift (liftgates in general). That is probably more _and_ less than you need. Liftgates are heavy, expensive, complex, and slow. They are "mature tech", so when properly maintained they should perform and last, and they lift really heavy stuff. But. They lift slowwwwwly and you don't need the weight capacity for your bins. They also have a learning curve which for reasons of safety needs to be taken seriously.

2) Trailer. Really good idea provided it will go where you need it. A trailer can be pretty low, meaning both that plain physical schlepping is easier, but also that a (relatively) short ramp/gate off the back will allow you to roll bins onto it (bins w/wheels, of course; but I guess you could just drag them...). Less energy needed to climb in and out when positioning the bins for transport. I have seen lawn companies around here running a hitch carrier which places the ball higher than actually proper for their trailer. They do this to lower the rear of the trailer to make the ramp work better. Or install a two legged crane at the rear of the trailer bed. IIRC, utility trailers weight in about 1300#. Your payload might max out at 1000# on a big day. (Check these guesses.)  Most vehicles which will accept a 2" hitch installation will pull 2300#. And IIRC that is below weight where trailer brakes are required - and _that_ is a cost saver provided your vehicle weighs over 2500#. Trade off with stopping distance, of course.

Regards,
Rufus

 
Ashley Cottonwood
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A quick update on the project:

Yesterday we harvested our broilers. We had 75 birds to process and with set up, bagging and clean up it took us 14 hours. I'm completely exhausted but I have over 375lbs of chicken in the freezer to show for it. I'm licensed to slaughter and sell my birds locally.

But man my body is wrecked and I really hate doing it... but I'm one of two people in our entire valley that has the skill set to do it! I do two rounds of broilers a year so it's not like I spend everyday doing it but man I'm physically and emotionally spent. I've only been doing it for 2 year so I'm sure I'll become more proficient with time ... but it's days like yesterday that the vegan argument starts to ring true to me. I still thing I can feed myself more sustainably as an omnivore in the climate I live in, but man its still tough.

I still have a busy day of cleaning, doing my final compost run of the season, working 2 other jobs today, a board meeting, and a presentation about my business for the public.

I just want to stay home and drink tea... I guess this is what I signed up for though when I started a small business. Wish me luck!
 
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I totally hear you about how exhausting - mentally and physically - processing meat can be.
In the hopes of cheering you up, here are the reasons I feel that small meat producers are important for the planet. If I miss any, hopefully other permies will speak up.
1. I trust a permie to raise their animals humanely and in good health. Permie animals live much less stressful lives than battery/overcrowded  animals do.
2. On a permie farm, the manure that's generated is not beyond the holding capacity of the land. (On my farm, once meat birds come out of the brooder, they're in portable cages. The worms think this is wonderful!)
3. Permie farmers are generally selling their product "farm gate" to the local community - not shipping it across the continent. This both provides humane, quality food to one's community, but saves the energy involved in shipping.
4. As hard as you felt the process was on you, as a permie farmer, you likely only kill animals on an occasional basis. If you work "in the industry", you may be killing animals 5 days/week, 8 hours/day. I feel this is inhumane on the people involved, and leads to them treating the animals disrespectfully out of a misguided attempt at self-defense.  
5. Permie meat is less likely to be unsafe if it's being processed in small batches infrequently. Infrastructure that dries out completely between uses is less likely to have bacteria survive. Small numbers of birds tend to be carrying less harmful bacteria. The healthier conditions they grow in, will support the "good guys" that will keep the "bad guys" in check.

I'll also suggest that you look at long term options. I have a neighbor who helps me with duck processing in exchange for giving her some of the meat for example. You may be only 1 of 2 people who has the skill set from start to finish, but it used to be that anyone in the country would have at least some of the skills needed. Even getting help with the clean-up might make the task less daunting.
It seems as if you're juggling a lot as well - trying to plan an "easy" day for after the processing day may not be a requirement now, but may become essential to long term health.

Congratulations for getting the job done!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Jay Angler wrote:I totally hear you about how exhausting - mentally and physically - processing meat can be.
In the hopes of cheering you up, here are the reasons I feel that small meat producers are important for the planet. If I miss any, hopefully other permies will speak up.
1. I trust a permie to raise their animals humanely and in good health. Permie animals live much less stressful lives than battery/overcrowded  animals do.
2. On a permie farm, the manure that's generated is not beyond the holding capacity of the land. (On my farm, once meat birds come out of the brooder, they're in portable cages. The worms think this is wonderful!)
3. Permie farmers are generally selling their product "farm gate" to the local community - not shipping it across the continent. This both provides humane, quality food to one's community, but saves the energy involved in shipping.
4. As hard as you felt the process was on you, as a permie farmer, you likely only kill animals on an occasional basis. If you work "in the industry", you may be killing animals 5 days/week, 8 hours/day. I feel this is inhumane on the people involved, and leads to them treating the animals disrespectfully out of a misguided attempt at self-defense.  
5. Permie meat is less likely to be unsafe if it's being processed in small batches infrequently. Infrastructure that dries out completely between uses is less likely to have bacteria survive. Small numbers of birds tend to be carrying less harmful bacteria. The healthier conditions they grow in, will support the "good guys" that will keep the "bad guys" in check.

I'll also suggest that you look at long term options. I have a neighbor who helps me with duck processing in exchange for giving her some of the meat for example. You may be only 1 of 2 people who has the skill set from start to finish, but it used to be that anyone in the country would have at least some of the skills needed. Even getting help with the clean-up might make the task less daunting.
It seems as if you're juggling a lot as well - trying to plan an "easy" day for after the processing day may not be a requirement now, but may become essential to long term health.

Congratulations for getting the job done!




Seconding all of this. Well done, and hopefully you are able to adjust your process over time to make it easier.

I'm impressed that you're licensed; I know only of folks doing this stealth mode. Slaughterhouses in my area are too close together for any gaps for D/E licenses.

Of course, due to the crazy quota system for chicken, some of them would still be illegal anyhow. What a mess.
 
Jay Angler
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@Dillon Nichols - If you live on southern Vancouver Island, yes, getting a Class E license would require some fancy footwork and a *lot* of hoop jumping. The only chance you have really, is to growth something that the chicken processors won't process, (ducks or geese) or can't process when you want/need them processed (turkeys).  Once you've got permission and a good track record for one or more of those, you can possibly get them to let you expand into chickens on a small scale. I was told this several years ago, but my husband is already too busy, so I've been only processing ducks for family use. Muscovy ducks are wonderful small scale birds to raise in our climate, but I make do with encouraging others to raise a small number for their own consumption and invite them over to learn how to hand-pluck! Muscovy ducks have a *lot* more feathers than a meat chicken has!!!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Jay Angler wrote:@Dillon Nichols - If you live on southern Vancouver Island, yes, getting a Class E license would require some fancy footwork and a *lot* of hoop jumping. The only chance you have really, is to growth something that the chicken processors won't process, (ducks or geese) or can't process when you want/need them processed (turkeys).  Once you've got permission and a good track record for one or more of those, you can possibly get them to let you expand into chickens on a small scale. I was told this several years ago, but my husband is already too busy, so I've been only processing ducks for family use. Muscovy ducks are wonderful small scale birds to raise in our climate, but I make do with encouraging others to raise a small number for their own consumption and invite them over to learn how to hand-pluck! Muscovy ducks have a *lot* more feathers than a meat chicken has!!!



Interesting potential option!

From a 'can't do it when needed' perspective, it seems like my only localish option here is about a 6 month wait as their standard. Not much fun. I wonder what standard the Powers that Impede consider to be 'too damn long'..

Personally I am more interested in larger animals, and the D/E weight limits are far too low to justify the expense of the facilities even if I could get the license. Really a fight for another decade, while I hope someone with a lot more time and resources takes it on in the meantime...


Ahem, back to Ashley: When you have spare time/energy, I'd be interested in any info you care to share about your processing setup, and what you would like to improve/do differently!
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Hey Dillon,

Because I only process birds twice a year I'm aloud to have a temporary outdoor set up. My equipment consists of the following:

- Jarvis Euthanasia Stunner: Runs off a CO2 cartridge. Expensive little piece of equipment but makes life so much easier. As someone who has a hard time with rapid decapitation (I hesitate) it make the process much more manageable.
- Machete and portable kill cones
- Custom butcher table with adjustable legs for evisceration
- An assortment of knives and sharpeners
- Steel folding table for drying/bagging
- Stainless Steel Plucker
- 2 hoses and nozzles
- Chill tanks (water barrels with running water and ice)
- Propane Burner + Super big pit for scalding: Propane burner is essential unless you want to wait 2 hours to get your water to temperature
- Burner and pot for shrink wrap bagging: Shrink wrap bags are expensive but they make the product look way better and prevent freezer burn.
- So many coolers and ice
- Pop up tent
- Hand wash station and cleaning equipment

I have my partner stunning, scalding, and plucking and I do the evisceration. We then both do a final inspection on the drying rack and bag them.

I would like to improve on organ harvesting for personal use as I'm not aloud to sell them to the public. Right now it takes so long that I get tired and wasteful. I'm going to reduce my flock size next year to help with that.

I'm also going to purchase proper poultry crates so that I can have them all ready to transport from the coop to the slaughter sight early in the morning when they are nice and clam. Right now I crate half of them (In essential dog crates) and leave the rest in the coop; however, catching and crating them when they have light to see causes them much more stress.

I'd also like to compost the feathers and other by products instead of throwing them in the landfill. I have to be careful with disposal or else I could lose my licence.

My local health authority is awesome. She very helpful and is great to support me when I need it so I can always reach out if I need to problem solve without fear of being shut down.

 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Also I did a presentation for my local "Zero Waste Society". It was the first meeting they had and I was the first presenter. I shared copies of Paul's book. I had 5 copies to share with the idea of people reading them and them bringing them back at the next meeting to pass on to someone new. People ran up to grab a copy! They were stoked!

It's a pretty good summary of what I do and what I hope to do. You can see how exhausted I am, this is the day after the slaughter and I just break down at one point.

I hope I did you justice presenting your book Paul!

(I have permission from the Zero Waste Society to share this video, it's my boyfriend filming and editing)



 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Just came back from the Basin Food Summit which gathered together local farmers to discuss regenerative farming, food policy, and farming related to climate change. Also, there was a full day of workshops held by the Young Agrarians for new farmers. It was so inspiring and so helpful! I got my hands on a bunch of free resources and was really inspired to nail down my business plan and marketing strategy! Oh, and we got to eat three meals a day of locally grown and process food!

I was a little fish in a big pond but people where stoked on my work... it gave me the warm and fuzzies! I definitely have the goal of becoming my own 'local expert'. It think it should take me about a decade  I think half the people there might have actually been wizards. Soil science blows my mind... I want a microscope now!

If people are interested I can post the resources I found

Also they wanted to change the saying from "It's not rocket science" to "It's not farming"!
 
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If you went from 2 butcherings a year to 4, wouldn't that make it much more manageable?  Your 14 hour day could be cut to 2, 7-hour days.

So perhaps you could stagger your starting date by 2 weeks, with half the baby chicks arriving on, for example, the first of the month, and the second half arriving on the 15th.  Then, when it's time to process group A, you'd have a much more manageable day, and then 2 weeks later, you do the rest of the birds.  

I'm sure you've already thought of this - forgive me if I'm stating the obvious.

I know that as I've gotten older, my stamina isn't even close to what it used to be.  We are tiling and grouting our kitchen backsplash right now and what I used to be able to get done in a day, I now stagger over 3 days.  I've learned: take it easy or you'll be feeling it for a week afterward.

 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Hey Marco,

Yes that makes sense. I guess the reason we did it came down to straight $. My partner had to take time off work to help me slaughter and to be honest he makes more money at his job than what we would 'make' slaughtering.

I'm still trying to figure out if I make more money scaling up or down. I do think if we do the same number of birds we will just space it over two days. Something I'll just have to play around with in the future.
 
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Ashley,
So cool to hear about your butchering. I just finished ours for the year last Wednesday. We did 30 meat birds and the way it all worked out I ended up butchering birds for the past 4 Wednesdays (my day off the regular job). That also means I have setup and butchered birds 6 times in 2 years, although it was only 39 birds total. What I can say is that each time you setup, process, and cleanup you get better at it. You also learn where you can become more efficient.
Week 1, Chicken Week 6, I actually built our plucker for this year. It turned out to be quite effective, but requires 2 people to operate it. My 7 year old son enthusiastically volunteered to run the drill while I plucked. After getting the plucker stand built I did not get started until late afternoon and did not finish till well after dark. I did 6 birds and figured out what I needed to do to streamline the setup.

Week 2, Chicken week 7, we had family friends out and did a homeschool "field trip/biology lesson" with their kids. They were fascinated to see how it all works from doing the chicken feeding chores through a carcass going in the chiller. They really found the evisceration fascinating because we worked out way through from beak to vent and I showed them each part and organ and we talked about what they all did.
We did 8 birds.

Week 3, Chicken Week 8, I wanted to process the rest of the birds. Unfortunately I was going to be solo on it. Our youngest was being fussy so my wife was just not able to help. My son did run the plucker for me, but other than that I processed alone. I did discover that if I put one bird in the cone while the water heated up they were quite calm by the time I killed them. I slice the side of the neck with out full decapitation. My experience has been that the sudden blood loss causes them to pass out almost instantly and they are completely gone within a minute or so after. As soon as I pull that one from the cone I drop another in the cone then scald the first, pluck it, and rinse. At this point I go back and dispatch the one in the cone, then return to the first and hand pluck as needed, remove the head and put it in a cold water bath. Then the process starts again with the one currently in the cone. When I have 4 birds ready for evisceration my son goes back to playing and I go to work on the birds. Once they are all 4 in the chill tank and I get the scalding water back up to heat I call my son eback to run the plucker and we go again. With our setup this seemed most efficient.
12 birds went to the freezer. Live bird to in the freezer averaged 30 minutes a bird.

Week 4, Chicken Week 9, I took my time getting started. We followed the same process as above and I had all the birds bagged, labeled, and in the freezer averaging 25 minutes a bird.

The benefit of having to do birds this way is I was able to evaluate the process each week and mull it over for a week, then try it again with any changes I thought might improve the process. Doing it all myself means I can quickly see where the gaps are. At what point am I standing still waiting for something to happen? What is causing me to have to wait? Can It be sped up? What else could I be doing during that time?
I at least one more kill cone.
I need a better way to keep the scalding water at temp. Something automated would be wonderful.
I need a plucker that can be operated by one person. (Drum style plucker is in the plans, I just didn't get it built this year)
I need more coolers. I can fit 12 birds with ice and water in the one I have now. My current limit is 12 birds as a result.
I need freezer space available to coincide with butchering. This year we gave away birds to my parents, in-laws, and the family who came to watch. With all we gave away we BARELY had enough room in the freezer for the rest of the birds.

I'm hoping to work things out to do batches of 25 or 50 birds next year and do a CSA of sorts within the family. I've got some bottlenecks to sort out before then. I think by myself I could do 20-25 birds in a day if I can sort out the scalding and plucking part.

All that to say, I would recommend doing a series of smaller batches by yourself to evaluate the process and see where the greatest improvements can be made, if any. It may be you need an extra person to help out. With permitting and such I have no idea if that's even possible.

I'm really enjoying this thread!
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Thanks for the feedback Caleb. I really liked how you laid out your process.

I guess to explain our situation there are a couple things to compare:

- For live bird to chilled bird ready to bag we do 20 birds in an hour.
- With my licence I could not leave birds in the cones that are still "sensible". Once placed in a cone there is a short time frame in which the birds needs to be rendered senseless. I use a captive bolt. I used to use rapid decapitation but this is not viewed as humane and will soon no longer be allowed under by licence.

I think our biggest loss of time is set up and tear down. Because there is no designated site equipment must be moved on and off of sight every time.

My equipment list includes but is not limited to:

- Plucker
- 3 tables (one adjustable for evisceration)  
- Scalding Pot
- Propane Burner
-  3 x Kill Cones with stands
- Captive Bolt Gun with 2x CO2 tanks
- Knives x 3
- Knife sharpener
- Cleaning Supplies
- Hand wash Station
- Burner with Second Pot for Shrink Wrapping
- Shrink Wrap Bags
- Labels and Bags
- Scale
- Chill Tanks
- Coolers
- Hoses and nozzles x 2
- Bin for Offal
- Bin For Garbage
- 3 x Bin for Kill Cone Zone
- Aprons
- Food Safety Plan
- Pop up tent
- Extension Cords
- Tarp

It's really a balance for my trying to figure out what is worth my time vs reward (monetarily or other wise). I could do fewer birds and charge more but either way I still have to go through the same set up and tear down process.  

Yup, it's a pickle.
 
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This project makes me happy!

I didn't read the whole thing, but a few stray thoughts for longterm--

--could you get enough extra plastic bins that you could leave them out to self-clean in the air, microbes, bugs, rain, and sunlight?
(they could even be cheap bins that fit inside the rolly bins.  cat litter bins are perfect size, I think, and probably free.)  Even better would be a flexible thing that could get turned inside out and exposed to sun and air...but I can't think of anything that exists that fits that criterion.

--could you put posters of your individual chickens up in the restaurants for the restaurant staff to "adopt" a chicken?

--put a piece of paper up with little circles for 50 food labels to go on, and let a restaurant's staff redeem a full page for a dozen eggs?  (I didn't do the math, maybe adjust the reward up or down)

--lift with your legs, not your back.  And, moreover, let yourself not hold extra tension in your neck before and during the lifting.  (Most people aren't aware that they've habitually lifted things this way, and most people do brace between their head and spine before and during all movements).

--instead of calling it "composting" which suggests that you're releasing up to 90% of the carbon in nitrogen back into the atmoshpere in compost piles (source--Building a Better World by Paul and Shawn)...maybe specifically "chicken-composting" or "repurposing".  It's a value ad.  Calculate how much nitrogen you're saving, how much energy would have to be used in the haber-bosch process to fix that much nitrogen and add that to the carbon savings you're providing.  You're doing WAY better than composting in a pile as far as the service to planet and people.  That's sexy for the restaurants to advertise to their customers too.

--get customers of restaurants involved in cleaning bins.  I don't understand them, but there are people who love cleaning things.  So strange.  

--If you could get a pond/tank/stream going with carp (the chicken of stream) that's how they clean dishes in some town in Japan.  This would be more compelx but more fun and groovy.  maybe there's some aquaponics/aquaculture person already doing this in your area you could team up with.

--your bf's work day--maybe you could get volunteers from his work for a chicken butchering day??  I know, it's a stretch, a ways from corporate tree-planting, but there are a small number of people who want to get in touch with where their meat comes from, and would find this a beautiful, humbling, awe-inspiring experience of meeting mortality and nature.  

--sell live chickens? is there an Asian market near you or Caribbean or anyone selling live poutrly?

--I don't think it needs to take you 10 years to become an expert.  If you keep focusing on the 20% of things that lights you up and ignore the 80%, and then the 20% of that that lights up up and ignore the 80%, and so forth, then you can find your niche.  At the same time managing the 80% that needs to be or delegating, but not putting any more focus on it than the bare minimum it requires.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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instead of chicken feed, a little dumpstering? get some loads of waste produce from a grocery store? they don't ask for their bins back or anything, it comes in cardboard boxes (which you can then mail to Paul just to get his goat).

--mulberry trees.  nuff said.
--pawpaw too, for fall eatings
--oak
--paul's yellow jacket trap bucket thing (it was in a podcast--for winter feed/protein, they dry out and are jerky, just take some teachingthe chickens to try eating them)
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Hey Joshua,

could you put posters of your individual chickens up in the restaurants for the restaurant staff to "adopt" a chicken?  



Can you elaborate on this one more? I really like the concept. The Stickers one could be a really fun way to get the staff involved as well! I think that would be they key, make it fun for the staff to be a part of the program.

All the bin ideas are great but they don't quite fit my program. I do pick up twice a week so I already have 48 larger bins during the summer. I already tight on storage space. In the winter it's hard enough to keep everything from freezing.

"Composting" is a hot word here. Almost no one in my town know how much nutrient/carbon is lost with traditional composting. Perhaps it can be an value added as I educate the community. People are more keen on a the "Food cycle" concept as they can wrap their heads around it.

Dumpster diving could be a solution. But honestly the quality of food in this town is ... pretty bad. Weirdly bad because of you go to other placed near by the produce is better. That and the fact that we import so much of our food. We have a great food recovery program in our town and I used to pick up what was left over from their because they would freeze it for me... but honestly my chickens would hardly touch the stuff unless it was the sprouts. I could go sprout hunting!


Thanks for all the ideas!
 
Jay Angler
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I remember a story from one of Joel Salatin's books which approximately said that he'd been asked to take past due food from the local food bank as animal feed as the food bank people felt this would be better than it going to the landfill. He was feeding it to his pigs and his pigs got so unhealthy on it that he quit and went back to his old feeding regime and the pigs got better promptly. This really brought home to him the concept of all the "empty calories" North Americans eat if all they eat are the typical North American Diet. And we wonder why obesity and health are such issues. If people were to chop up 5 wild grown, unsprayed dandelion leaves into their "instant soup bowl", I suspect they'd get more nutrition out of the chopped leaves than the whole rest of the "meal".

I feel the only way to turn "waste food" into nutritious animal feed is to have it processed through insects and micro-organisms and have a large enough variety going in, that the results balance out. I'm sure I also read somewhere that what Black Soldier Flies got fed affected the chemical analysis of the grubs hence the food value to whatever was relying on the grubs as their feed source. I was helping a friend cull a chicken that had developed a growth. This chicken had been "free ranged" in a back-yard by a 3rd party and mostly fed day-old bread and crappy chicken scratch (there are good ways to do chicken scratch, but there's some locally that doesn't meet the nutritional needs of actively laying chickens). The chicken had a lot of unhealthy fat inside her that I'd never seen when autopsying any of my layers. My friend just looked at me and said, "Jay, you don't feed your chickens junk food!"

Ashley Cottonwood wrote:  But honestly the quality of food in this town is ... pretty bad.

So maybe you need to not only be educating your community about compost, but also about choosing and demanding better food for themselves? Hmmm... teaching about healthy diets by using your chickens as examples. Show chickens choosing dark-green leafy vegetables over "iceberg lettuce" (which my chickens won't eat, but I was told the sick chicken above just loved.) I see some potential for outside the box thinking there!
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Oh I love that Jay! It could be a cool mini Vlog series of "What will the Chicken Choose?".

I was thinking of starting a vlog once I have a few more loose ends tied up. My partner has videography and editing skills so I would be responsible for the content.
 
Jay Angler
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I'm a firm believer that "cute" and "funny" teaches better than dry facts any day! Yes, there needs to be accurate, detailed information as well, but putting some fun into the presentation and reminding humans that we're still animals with basic biological needs regarding food works with me, even though I've met a few people insulted by the suggestion!
 
Thomas Dean
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john mcginnis wrote:

Thomas Deanoing wrote: to be more than I can handle, but I'm going to give it a shot!  It's also not really what I need for the chickens and goats - mostly fiber and vitamins, not so much carbs and protein, but it's something.  
Now I have to determine how to best feed it out, what quantity to feed (rest will be spread over garden areas), etc.  Anyone have any advice on using fruit and veggie pulp?  



Two suggestions:

A) Composting worms. You would have work up a bedding mix as pure pulp would probably go anaerobic. But the worms would love the pulp. Plus is in a basement or greenhouse it could be a year round thing.
B) Solider Flies. Same with (A) on bedding though the consumption rate would be much higher. Downside is its seasonal.

Either choice you just feed the output to the chickens as a protein source.

Good luck!



So, I am picking up the compost daily and it's going well - it's a manageable quantity for me.  I've figured out what the chickens like - the "greens" (mostly kale, I think) and the ground up cashews that were pressed for "milk." The other parts are picked through, but not well utilized.  The goats are still visiting a buck on another farm, so they have not tried the new food.  But a little over a week ago my father-in-law brought home a couple of feeder calves, and they LOVE pretty much everything except the celery stumps, so I am gradually increasing how much of the veggie pulp & waste I give to them, while watching for the runs.  
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Wow Thomas how much does that one juice shop produce in a day? It sounds like it's really nice quality food waste. Do you have any problems with plastics (fruit stickers, twist ties, misc items that blow my mind...)
 
Thomas Dean
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:Wow Thomas how much does that one juice shop produce in a day? It sounds like it's really nice quality food waste. Do you have any problems with plastics (fruit stickers, twist ties, misc items that blow my mind...)



I pick up one VERY heavy trash bag almost every day.  It's about the max I can utilize (and transport!) at this point, which is perfect.  I wish it was sorted, I spend time sorting it out, but I am NOT going to complain!  Worst case scenario I don't have time to sort it, and I just dump it all in the compost pile (free range roosters will pick through it)
I find disposable (vinyl?) gloves in it, and a few other stray plastic items.  Nothing that the chickens will consume on accident, but enough that I wouldn't just dump it in the hopper for the cows.  Not sure what eating gloves would do to them.  I've also been tossing the pineapple tops into the woods, as I am not sure if the cows can eat them, and at this point I have enough for everyone anyway.

FYI: the place is a franchise of: https://cleanjuice.com/  
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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I put my compost pile to bed for the winter. I'm really excited to try a new method next season.

This is what is left of 22,500 lbs of food waste and a whole lot of wood chips:



I also got this super sweet card from the Grade 3 class I did the presentation for. Apparently bringing Romeo was a hit!



 
My honeysuckle is blooming this year! Now to fertilize this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
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