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Robert Plamondon’s Poultry and Rural Living

beth_feeding_small_barred_rock_pulletsI’ve been writing up practical poultry tips on this website since 1997. Somebody had to!

When we moved back to Oregon in 1995, we soon started raising free-range chickens. There was little information on free-range poultry back then, and most of it was wrong. I embarked on a literature survey of the past 100 years, to find out what ideas and techniques worked and what didn’t. We put the more likely ones into practice, and also wrote them up here on Plamondon.com.

Day-old Black Sex-Link chicks and an Ohio heat-lamp brooder.
Day-old Black Sex-Link chicks and an Ohio heat-lamp brooder.

We’re still raising grass-fed chickens, eggs, turkey, and pork on the same farm today, using the same techniques shown here. My monthly newsletter gives some news about the latest goings-on plus a to-do list appropriate to the time of year.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Deep Litter in Chicken Coops

Deep Litter for Chickens: Another Lost Technique From the Golden Age

deep_litter_poultry_lime
Stirring hydrated lime into deep litter.

Many poultry techniques that were once well-understood became shrouded in mystery after the poultry business shifted to factory farming. The old-time diversified farmers passed away, and there are generations of industrialized farmers between us and them, breaking our cultural continuity.

The Deep Litter Method. One of the lost ideas is the deep litter method (deep litter is also called “built-up litter” or “compost litter.” People think they know what the deep-litter system is, but often they don’t. The descriptions floating around these days are more folklore than fact. The article below is the real deal.

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Robert Plamondon on sabyoutubeRobert Plamondon on sabtwitterRobert Plamondon on sabstumbleuponRobert Plamondon on sablinkedinRobert Plamondon on sabgoogleRobert Plamondon on sabfacebookRobert Plamondon on sabemail
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Save Money on Chicken Feed

How can you save money on chicken feed? Here are a few time-tested methods.

Can My Chickens Find All Their Feed Themselves?

Not really. In the old days, farms and kitchens were so wasteful, with so much grain spilled by the horses and milk cows, and so much garbage thrown out the back door (or, in town, the front door), that flocks of skinny chickens could survive without further attention.

With an increase in our understanding of sanitation and nutrition, opportunities for self-feeding flocks are few and far between.

And because we know about nutrition now, my theme today is:

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Robert Plamondon on sabyoutubeRobert Plamondon on sabtwitterRobert Plamondon on sabstumbleuponRobert Plamondon on sablinkedinRobert Plamondon on sabgoogleRobert Plamondon on sabfacebookRobert Plamondon on sabemail
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Simple Electric Fences for Chickens

To a lot of critters—raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, dogs—your free-range flock is a 24-hour all-you-can-eat chicken buffet. Maybe, must maybe,  the local predators are afraid to run off with your chickens today. But it won’t last.

Trust me on this. I have been almost put out of business by predation several times. If it weren’t for the techniques described here, I wouldn’t have any chickens today.

What worked for me? Simple electric fences. Really simple electric fences.

One-Wire and Two-Wire Electric Fences

Two-wire electric fence for chickensThis kind of electric fence, with just one or two wires, we developed over 60 years ago. It is commonly used to keep raccoons out of gardens and all kinds of predators out of chicken yards.

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Robert Plamondon on sabyoutubeRobert Plamondon on sabtwitterRobert Plamondon on sabstumbleuponRobert Plamondon on sablinkedinRobert Plamondon on sabgoogleRobert Plamondon on sabfacebookRobert Plamondon on sabemail
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Egg Washing

If you raise chickens, you get some dirty eggs. Is egg washing okay, and, if so, how? And how can you minimize the number of dirty eggs? Read on! I’ll cover the basic egg cleaning concepts, how to wash eggs by hand, and what you need to know about both homemade and commercial egg washing machines.

1. Is it okay to wash eggs?

little_girl_washing_eggsIt’s okay by me! Some jurisdictions have laws forbidding you to wash any eggs that you’re going to sell. Some have laws requiring that you wash any eggs you’re going to sell. I’ll go into that further on.

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Robert Plamondon on sabyoutubeRobert Plamondon on sabtwitterRobert Plamondon on sabstumbleuponRobert Plamondon on sablinkedinRobert Plamondon on sabgoogleRobert Plamondon on sabfacebookRobert Plamondon on sabemail
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

9 Best Tips For Keeping Your Old Tractor Going Strong

What upgrades and old-time tricks should you consider for your old tractor? Is a 12V conversion a good idea? A roll bar? A comfy seat? Read on!

I bought my tractor a year after moving to my 37-acre farm in Western Oregon. I needed a tractor just to keep the pastures from turning into forest. In addition, I raise free-range hens in portable houses, and the houses need to be pulled to a new location from time to time.

My tractor is a 1957-vintage Ford 640. Like the more numerous “N” series tractors — 9N (1939 model) 2N (1942 model) and 8N (1948 model), it is a gasoline-powered four-cylinder utility tractor with a three-point hydraulic hitch and a PTO (power takeoff unit) on the back. It’s bigger than the N-series tractors, with about 35 HP. At the time I bought it, I thought it would be nice to have a tractor that was powerful enough to pull a ground-driven hay baler, though now I know enough people who have been injured by balers that I’ve lost interest.

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Robert Plamondon on sabyoutubeRobert Plamondon on sabtwitterRobert Plamondon on sabstumbleuponRobert Plamondon on sablinkedinRobert Plamondon on sabgoogleRobert Plamondon on sabfacebookRobert Plamondon on sabemail
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.