Timothy Markus

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since Mar 28, 2016
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duck tiny house chicken composting toilet homestead
New Brunswick, Canada
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Recent posts by Timothy Markus

Hey Andrew, I'd recommend building your own as it's so simple and much cheaper.  I originally built a small incubator out of a Styrofoam cooler, a computer fan, light bulb and socket and a thermostat.  Because I'm Canadian, I had to pay an insane amount to get the thermostat shipped from The States, which you don't have to worry about.  It was still under $60 with a quail tray and easily accommodated 96 quail eggs.  I had the tray pivot on a rod through the side with another rod coming out the top to tilt it up and down.  Worked like a charm, though it needed manual turning.  

This year I wanted a bigger incubator so I bought a 2x8 sheet of 1.5" XPS rigid foam board.  I made it 2x3x1' high and you can get that out of 1 board.  I had the stat, fan and bulb mounted to the top of the cooler so I plopped that on top and used a spare piece of XPS for the rest of the top.  This time I used cartons and turned them manually, which sucked but worked fine.  I don't know how much the XPS is, but it'll be pretty cheap compared to buying one.  You could also get an automatic turner and put it in, which I'll do.  I had around a gross of eggs in there with room for water containers for humidity.  I did have to go to a larger fan with the bigger incubator.  I initially had horrible hatch rates which I originally attributed to temp fluctuations as I'm in a camp with only a woodstove to provide adequate heat.  Turns out it may have been the eggs but I'll never know.  I ended up using a 175W heat lamp bulb in there and had ok hatch rates with it and new eggs.  

I think I'll make some changes to it this year; I'll see if I can do a rolling turn on the bottom and then a platform above that for hatching.  I haven't worked out how many eggs I could fit on the bottom, but I could always turn on the top floor too in a staggered hatching.  It might take a bit more headroom than I have, but I can always add a strip to the top.  I'll also but more insulation around it.  I think I should've gone 2.5" thick, but you don't have to if it's not going to be -25 or so where you keep your incubator.  I bought a couple of digital stats for about 13 of our Canadian dollars each, so I'll use of of those instead.  

I have been thinking of finding a broken freezer to make a larger incubator from and, as luck would have it, my upright packed it in a few weeks ago, so there's that.  I don't think I'll need it this year for hatching, so I'll just keep using it as a freezer outside and putting ice in it if we have warm days this winter.  

What is your plan for hatching?  Are you going to be collecting eggs for 7-10 days and then do batch incubations?  I think that's what I'll do to avoid constant hatching.  This year I bought 10 day old commercial poults and brooded them with my chicks and ducklings.  The poults seemed to learn a lot from the chicks about scratching and later foraging, though the poor girls had their toes and beaks clipped.  I'm going to do a hatch of chicks first so they're a week or so older than the poults to give the chicks a bit of a head start.
2 weeks ago
If you don't need Goldie for reproduction, I'd get rid of Runner and see if Goldie bounces back.  Runner isn't doing anything for you except look pretty.  If Goldie regains his old form, you're set and, if he doesn't, he'll at least not get picked on.  

It might be time to start looking for another tame roo or see about raising one up.  Good luck!
2 months ago
I was trying to have a pleasant conversation with my daughter when she interrupted me and said we'd been speaking for 4 hours and 47 minutes and she had to go.  

How rude!  Kids these days...
3 months ago
I'm really sorry to hear that, John.  It's heartbreaking to lose a pet.
3 months ago

Skandi Rogers wrote:Put them in the oven on a low heat for 10 minutes they will crisp back up when they cool down and be as good as new.

Put them in the oven on a low high heat for 100 minutes.  They will become biochar when they cool down and be as good as better than new.

Honestly, I get the feeling that nobody here has ever actually eaten wasa bread.  It's a fact* that 73% of all cases of Giardia infection (Beaver Fever) is a direct result of consumption of wasa bread.  A 1993 study by the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB documented that the majority of giardiasis cases started like this:

Brenda:  "You shouldn't drink untreated lake water!"
Infected:  "I already drank all the treated water that I have!  A whole gallon and I'm still thirsty!  It's that damned wasa bread!"

Seriously, folks.  Have we not become much more virus savvy?

*possibly** not an actual fact

3 months ago
I've had wasa bread on many a canoe trip.  I found a better substitute for it that is roughly the same visually, weighs a little less and tastes much better.  Also, it's a good use for excess corrugated cardboard.  

Hope you find a way to use them.  
3 months ago
Less than an hour ago I was attacked by one of my commercial (BBW) hens.  It's been a confusing 36 hours.   Yesterday morning one of my toms got a beak erection and tried to fight the other tom.  This went on for a bit until I stepped in and sent everyone to their respective corners.  An hour later, Snoodles decided it would be wise to try to mate with one of the commercial hens, regardless of the fact that she's more than 3 times his weight.  I found this out when I heard a pathetic crying and when out to find the hen holding him down with her neck and later holding his head in her beak.  I saved him and he eventually decided it would be best to wait a bit before trying sexy time again.  Two days ago there was zero turkey testosterone.  Yesterday it ramped up and today it peaked with my Royal Palm hen identifying as a male.  Sum Bitch.  

So, now I've got 3 Royal Palm toms and 5 BBW hens, which kinda sucks because a month ago I had 5 BBWs, a RP tom and two RP hens.  Turns out I'm not great at sexing turkeys.

This evening I was out in the field, drawing the turks out.  They were doing great eating alfalfa and red clover.  I was squatting down, sucking on some clover flower and offering the girls some clover when something almost exactly like this happened:

except is was my right nut.  One of my lovely girls decided to taste test my scrotum while I was wearing cotton pants.  Until tonight I always felt bad that they'd had their beaks clipped but, seeing the broken skin on either side of the beak and at the tip, I'm quite glad the damage was mitigated.  

Immediately after the foul I stood up and staggered off, so I don't know which of my girls was responsible.  I think I'm going to look for a jock just to make sure I've got my bases covered.

Let's be careful out there...
3 months ago
I've got some 10 week old Cornish X and I'm wondering if I can butcher and cook a few the same day.  Anyone done this?  Does the tenderness suffer if they're put on the BBQ with 1-2 hours?
3 months ago

Corey Schmidt wrote:The original question was intended to elicit creative responses 'outside the box', rather than 'this is how you do it', as I feel all the normal ideas about living with bears have been expounded to a high degree elsewhere.

I think we all get that that's what you're looking for but, after dealing with bears for hundreds of thousands of years as hunters and for thousands of years as farmers,  I think there's a reason we use the methods we use to deter bears; they work and have been time-tested.  Often it's not productive to try to re-invent the wheel.  I don't mean to be negative, just realistic.  

Do you have any ideas yourself?  What kind of 'outside the box' solutions have you tried and what were the results?  What have your neighbours said about bear management?

Edit:  I think it's great to try to work with nature instead of against it, which is what you're doing.  Even if something you've used hasn't worked out, you may be able to modify it and add another deterrent.  I think the best strategy with bears is to not let them know what goodies you've got if possible and making the rest hard to get to.  We've got bears here, not as many as you, but they seem to do well on their own, so they don't seem to be much of an issue.  All it takes, though, is one bear who thinks he wants what you have and then you've got a bear problem.  I haven't seen any bears right around my property but I think that the moose may be acting as a deterrent as they love hanging around in the woods.  
3 months ago