Thursday, May 31, 2012

Composting and Chicken Behavior

Composting has been a large part of each farm I have been to.  One of the reasons being that garbage is very expensive to dispose of in New Zealand, so composting reduces your amount of waste.  Another reason is compost is actually a very valuable material that can be fed to animals, or once broken down, to plants.  Composting is important for keeping soil fertile.  While I have been on my trip I have been thinking a lot about my future piece of property and how I want to run it.  How much land do I want?  What kind of animals do I want to have?  What kind of plants will I grow?  What kind of composting system will I have? All very important questions, most of them I haven't answered.  But at this farm I think I have found how I will do my compost.  The way they process compost is there is a series of three bins.  One of the bins is the one you are putting compost into, one of those bins you are taking compost out of, and one bin is "cooking" (I am calling cooking, but I am referring to the aerobic process of the organic material breaking down and producing usable material).  If you are producing more compost or it is not "cooking" fast enough then you can just add another bin to allow for more time or empty one onto a tarp as soon as it is done.  I like this system a lot because it looks neat and there is no mixing involved.  What they do at this farm is once a bin fills up from the home compost, a layer of the from the chicken pens is added to the top, it is covered, and sits until it is ready to be used.
Here is a photo of the three compost bins.  The one we are taking from is the middle one - you can add boards to open and close.
I love the chickens at this farm they are so cute.  There is a flock of laying hens with one rooster.  It is really funny because they act like a flock of hens and he acts like a rooster.  When I bring them greens and goodies to eat the rooster is the one that tries it first then he will make a noise signaling for the hens to come and eat the food.  Kristina said that a good rooster, when there is something really good, will signal the hens and not eat any of it himself.  There is the laying flock that live in pens but then there are these four tiny chickens that run around the farm that are mainly used for pest control.  I wish I could show you the tiny chickens but when you take a picture they just look like chickens because there is nothing to show their scale.  Anyways just imagine a flock of four tiny chickens running around making cute noises.
This is the Rooster.  Isn't he pretty?  I think he was posing.
Here is one of the hens - most of them have the same coloring as the rooster but this one was the only one cooperating for the camera
Here is a photo of some of the garden beds.  I pounded in those stakes on the lower right.
This farm has two dogs.  Very well trained.  This is Siri - I love her.

No comments: