Living With a Low-Yield Well

Slow wells and running out of water are no jokeSlow, low-yield water wells are no joke, as I learned when I nearly ran out of water one summer. Yikes! Running out of water is seriously Not Fun.

How did we fix our problem? More importantly, how can you fix your problem?

Can you need a new well? Maybe not! With the right setup, you can have all the water you need with a very slow well. We do fine with a well that gives only a quart per minute.

What is a Low-Yield Well?

A low-yield well (also called a “slow well”) is a water well that has delivers water more slowly than you need. Since a well is basically a hole in the ground that water seeps into, if you pump the water out of it faster than it’s flowing in, eventually the water coming out of the pump falls to a trickle or stops altogether.

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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.

Temperatures and Your Hens [Infographic]

What temperatures are right for your hens? What happens when temperatures are too high? What happens when they’re too low? This infographic shows you the effect of air temperatures on laying hens.

Temperature and Your Hens, from Poultry Production by Leslie E Card, published by Norton Creek Press.

Leslie E Card, Poultry Breeding and Management. Norton Creek PressThis infographic comes from Poultry Production: The Practice and Science of Chickens by Leslie E. Card, which I have reprinted under my Norton Creek Press label. It has hundreds and hundreds of pages of useful information like this. Like most of the really useful poultry books, this one was first published a while ago, in 1961. But it’s a gold mine in spite of (because of?) this.

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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.

Better Than Chicken Tractors: Hoop Coops for Free Range Chickens

“A chicken house should either be small enough that you can reach into any part of it from outside, or big enough to walk around in.”
— Traditional poultry maxim

hoophouse chicken coop

The Mark I hoop coop, designed and built by Karen Black. The house is pulled by hand downhill to a new patch of grass, once or twice per day. The Mark II hoop coop (not shown) has the open end facing the direction of travel so the operator can see inside while moving the pen. This reduces the number of broilers that get run over by the back wall. A 2×4 ridge pole to supports the top of the hoop, which otherwise can collapse under snow loads or buckle under the weight of heavy hanging feeders.

My wife, Karen Black, invented these simple chicken houses in the Nineties, when she decided she wanted a pen she could walk around in, rather than the standard Salatin-style pens that are only two feet high. This is in keeping with a old-time poultry maxim: “A chicken house should be small enough that you can reach into any part of it from outside, or big enough to walk around in.”

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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.

Your Chickens in June [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, June 2016

News from the Farm

June is busting out all over. One sign: A couple of our White Hybrid 300 ducks snuck off and hatched 20 ducklings between them, and one of our Red Sex-Link hens did the same and hatched 10 chicks. All 30 are doing splendidly. Another sign of June is that the grass is as high as an elephant’s eye because our Ford 640 tractor chose this moment to need transmission work.

But back to the ducklings and chicks. The ducklings are on our main pasture with our mixed flock of geese, ducks, and hens. With baby chicks, this is bad news, because baby chicks are too fragile for the rough-and-tumble of flock life, and need to be kept away from any sizable flock for at least a few weeks. The ducklings are made of sterner stuff, and their mothers are aggressively protective, far more so (and more effectively) than mother hens!

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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.

Poultry FAQ: Deep Litter in Chicken Coops

Lost Techniques From the Golden Age

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
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.