Antonio Hache

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since Aug 09, 2020
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Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Recent posts by Antonio Hache


So, we have been chicken owners for a year now. We started with a mixed flock of Plymouth Rock and Ameraucanas. A couple of them passed away during the intense heat wave, cause they escaped and couldnt find the way in. But it was an accident, despite that they had a normal life.

Then, I started to think on making this wild chicken landrace project, giving them some food but letting them mostly free range, and started to add different breed. So there was this local place where they had lots of chickens, maybe not the best place to buy, but the 6 years old wanted "the white chickens" so we got three Sussex. One died just two days later, and then life went on... for a while.

Two month ago, one of the Sussex started to act weird, losing mobility, and died. Then, the rooster that we had. And the other Sussex started to behave weird, but then improved and I thought, ok, that's it, whatever we had, it has passed.

So on February 25 I thought "okay, lets continue with the landrace", and I got 2 more Sussex, 3 Blue Andalusians, 2 Brown Andalusians, 7 Leghorns, 3 White Silkies, 4 Brown Silkies, 2 Faverolles, 2 Pekin. I separated them on the free range area for some days, giving them food as I thought they were used to be fed , and then I mixed them with the others. There were no battles as they were seeing each other, so I thought "great!"

And then, last saturday, the surviving Sussex from the first round suddenly died.  Sunday, two silkies ,Monday, two leghorns out. Wednesday, Blue Andalusian out. Today, one Faverolles out. So I lost in one week 7 chickens.

This made me think in the process. I have seen that when chickens are sick and you notice it, it starts to be late. I gave them electrolites, separate them, whatever, but nothing. Well, other Andalusian and other Leghorn, giving them scrambled eggs and electrolites they improved. But the others, one day are running around, next day are looking sick, next day out.

I have to change focus. I am selecting for the best and most adapted, and I am sure some of the breeds are not the best for free ranging, but it is part of the landrace . But losing seven in seven days, just one after the other... I am starting to be paranoid. Obviously there is something around, and it is going faster than me. I can't be all the time nursing sick chickens, specially if they are falling one by one.

So what I am thinking is, how can I improve prevention? Cleaning coop is one thing that we do weekly, giving them fresh water is daily. We throw food around for them and they free range... so what I was thinking is that maybe I should add suplements to the free range, to give the newbies some push. With this I mean adding vitamins to the water or natural treatments like vinegar or garlic. But maybe some of you have experience with free rangers and supplementation. I read about Takota Coen a lot and his chickens, and obviously I should aim for better genetics and make this guys resistant
1 year ago

Tony Hillel wrote:Most dogs can be trained to not kill livestock, but some dogs can't.  How serious you are about training is often the difference.   This method sounds really mean, but remember, you are trying to save your dog's life.   Trying to find a home for a dog is difficult, and they often will end up in a pound or shelter and could die.   Remember that.

Almost every puppy we get ends up killing a chicken or two before they get trained.  We just lost one to a 5 month old puppy.   You have to supervise when they are young.  

But once a puppy hits 8 or 9 months old, OR is an adult dog, and they have basic commands down pat, the way we train them is to bring them along into the pens with us with a leash on.   Put them under a heel command and take them right in.   Watch the dog intently.

If the dog looks at a chicken too long, give it a sharp verbal reprimand and snap the leash along with a long, harsh glare.   Do it EVERY time.  Don't let them get focused.  Let them know you are serious about this.

If the dog jumps or snaps at a chicken, INSTANTLY pin him down and get right in his face, growling, teeth bared, and let him know that THIS BEHAVIOR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED OR I MAY KILLL YOU WITH MY OWN HANDS!!!    The idea is to do this so suddenly that you scare the crap out of the dog.   (You almost have to scare yourself to do it right)  He HAS to understand that you are not playing, and HIS ACTIONS are the reason for your wrath.   Once he goes limp and averts his eyes away, slowly relax and go back to business as usual.  Keep watching him.  If he starts to focus on the birds again, bark "HEY!" at him, even if he stares for just a second.  Do it again and I usually follow up with a growl of something like, "Did you NOT understand what I just told you?!?", while glaring intently.

If you do it right, you almost never have to pin them down a second time.   They will still be reeling from the first episode, so when you bark and or growl, they will instantly step back in line.  As soon as they are back in line, relax and go back to your normal, happy self.     The CONTRAST must be night and day.

Walk around the pen for about 10 minutes, and then take him back into his house, kennel or crate and give him about 1/2 hour to absorb the lesson.

The next day, do the same thing.  This time, you probably will only need minimal verbal commands, but do what you must if your dog is stubborn.   Don't relent or back down in the slightest.   10 minutes and then allow him 30 mins to absorb the lesson.

By day 3, the dog will probably not focus on the birds, but will be watching you.  He doesn't want to face your wrath again.   Only give him very light praise, as he is NOT doing anything special, but you want him to feel that he is being good and you are happy with him.

By the end of the week, he will be used to the routine, and will completely ignore the livestock.  

After that, the next step is bringing the dog into the pen and putting them into a down-stay command.  Give him praise for holding, and just sit and relax.   If he starts looking at a bird too much, tell him to stop, and he should.   The more the animals walk around him the better.    The dog will figure it out pretty quickly.

Bring the dog in while you feed the livestock and do chores, and watch him, but after awhile, the training will take.  Soon he will totally ignore the birds.

The real kicker is if you have predators come into the coop.    This may sound terrible, but if you can get the dog onto a coon or possum that got into the coop, they will see THEM as the enemy and won't give the chickens a second look after that.  They will go into guard mode and actually protect the chickens after that.    A GOOD place to be.  My male dog patrols the perimeter fence daily.  If a coon or possum comes in, he will find them.   I've also taught him to look out for hawks, and the puppy has even learned that already.  It's pretty cool.

Very good advice Tony. Our dog killed a chicken 3 weeks ago and since then we are very serious with this. The dog is a 5 months old mastiff, but it is time to teach her right. The chickens are closed, she found a way in and now we have closed that way. So chickens are more or less controlled. But we have ducks patroling the property, cause they are snail patrol, and it forces us to tie the dog all the time as we are afraid of her killing the ducks. I will do this with the dog and the ducks then
1 year ago
I gave this girl vitamins but it was too late. Other Sussex started like this and with vitamins improved, but once I stopped she got like that again and died.

Hard life in the coop
1 year ago
Here you have her . Most of the day she is in this position or even more exagerated
1 year ago

Robert Ray wrote:I've never heard of that behaviour. Honestly, I imagined a hen, laying an egg on her back and had to take a look at this post. I have never seen that either.

Yes, it is hard to imagine and also in English is more difficult because the double meaning of laying. In Spanish we'd say "poner un huevo" to "lay an egg" an "tumbarse" for "laying on her back". But in English is the same word.

But she is not laying eggs, she is laying just like The Dude in a couch
1 year ago

Juniper Zen wrote:

Antonio Hache wrote:But it is more difficult for her to eat and drink that way.

She doesn't get up and walk around, and eat and drink normally? Is she spending all day in this position?

She moves towards the water or food, with lots of effort, and once she got what she wanted, she lays face up again
1 year ago
Hi! One of Our chickens lays faces up and we don't know why, and we are wondering if we should ever let her stay like that.

We observed the last two days that this chicken is limping. Of course, this can be many many things. We had extreme wind here and the mobile "chick shaw" went upside down and she might be injured. Also our little mastiff run a lot after this one and maybe is injured. And also she can be sick, and having Marek disease. The curious thing is that often we find this one laying face up. We try to put her straight, but she changes position, it is like if she is "wanting" to be that way. Or this is my wife theory, that she's got pain in the leg so she prefers to change to that position. But it is more difficult for her to eat and drink that way.

We have this one apart from the flock to see her evolution, but we are wondering why might this one be laying with the back on the floor and the legs upside. I'm looking for info about this specifics, but I find nothing
1 year ago

Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I repeat Antonio's question above.

Antonio Hache wrote:So, has anybody played with the numbers like this? I like the base for some guidance, but the method does not take into accound shrubs, trees and other sources of calories, mulch, etc

I sent an email to the ecology action guys, but they did not answer yet. So I am still figuring out. For example, I have Pawlonias and Leucaenas, those are huge biomass generators, so, one pawlonia equals how many "carbon beds". Also I am planting comfrey, alfalfa, vetiver, in the hedges and different spots. This are not proper "beds", but are also biomass generators.

As for calories, I do have almonds and walnuts, and trying sweet acorns and chestnuts. I'd say one tree harvest equals one or two beds of calories. Same if I make raisins and other dried fruits to store.

And finally, vitamins and micronutrients, mixing greens and fruits might work. So my fine tune might be how to consider all this factors. And I am not yet considering eggs and poultry
1 year ago
Hello! This thread is old, but it touches some things that are going on in my mind at the moment and I thought it is a good time to refloat it.

I have read all the recommendatios about the 40 beds per person for a complete vegan diet for a whole year. It is a good starting point, but I do want to fine tune it as:

1.- I am not vegan, and dont intend to be
2.- But if in the future I do have more animals (at the moment I have ducks and chickens) all their food should grow in here
3.- And I have many many trees, so this trees could provide a) calory crops and b)carbon crops
4.- They say also that up to 75% of the vegetable beds could be for selling outside, so it means 4 beds per person might be extra
5.- I am exploring more and more about perennial vegetables

With this in mind, I am wondering how many beds.

3 beds per person for vegetables could be the right number for me with this. Many vitamins could come also from berries, citrus and some perennial vegetables . I could grow vegetables for income… or for the chickens

But, for calorie crops? This is interesting. I will get nuts and fruits in the near future. So that are calories. But starches? Garlics? It is difficult to get here bananas or chestnut. I will try sweet oaks but they take a long time tom grow. I’d say I might get calories from the trees and the animals anyway. But cant say a number

And carbon crops… 24 9m long beds looks like a lot. If many are intended for compost and mulch, and I do have 10 tree rows 50m long, many organic matter, most of it in fact, I can get it from the chop and drop, wich every year will be more and more.

So, has anybody played with the numbers like this? I like the base for some guidance, but the method does not take into accound shrubs, trees and other sources of calories, mulch, etc
1 year ago

John C Daley wrote:Can you give us some more info about' Jeavons' so we can understand the process and then consider your opinions on change?

Hola John! Jeavons is the author of the “grow more vegetables” book and advocate of the biointensive method for vegetable garden

He states that with the number of beds that I wrote above, using 60% for “carbon”, 30% for “calories” and 10% for vegetables, you can feed one person the whole year

I was wondering if that could be changed using // adding trees and shrubs to the mix
1 year ago