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Tue Sep 18, 2012, 11:58 PM

Mass slaughter of farm animals set to push food prices up 14%

Source: The Guardian

The mass slaughter of millions of farm animals across the world is expected to push food prices to their highest ever levels.

As well as hitting consumers' pockets, the predicted 14% jump in food prices will also dash the Bank of England's hopes of pushing inflation down to 2% by next year.

Farmers across the world have begun a mass slaughter of their pig and cattle herds because they cannot afford the cost of feed, which has soared following the worst US drought in living memory, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Experts at investment bank Rabobank warn that the mass "herd liquidation" will contribute to a 14% jump in the price of the average basket of food by next summer.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/19/mass-slaughter-farm-animals-food-prices

91 replies, 11331 views

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Reply Mass slaughter of farm animals set to push food prices up 14% (Original post)
alp227 Sep 2012 OP
marble falls Sep 2012 #1
antigone382 Sep 2012 #3
Incitatus Sep 2012 #5
JenniferJuniper Sep 2012 #14
AngryAmish Sep 2012 #21
littlemissmartypants Sep 2012 #6
Kindly Refrain Sep 2012 #22
JackRiddler Sep 2012 #25
NickB79 Sep 2012 #35
Ilsa Sep 2012 #75
NickB79 Sep 2012 #79
Ilsa Sep 2012 #83
bhikkhu Sep 2012 #2
Orrex Sep 2012 #4
Blanks Sep 2012 #7
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #8
Blanks Sep 2012 #18
Javaman Sep 2012 #23
Blanks Sep 2012 #29
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #32
Blanks Sep 2012 #37
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #39
azurnoir Sep 2012 #84
Blanks Sep 2012 #89
azurnoir Sep 2012 #90
Blanks Sep 2012 #91
flvegan Sep 2012 #41
Blanks Sep 2012 #44
flvegan Sep 2012 #47
Blanks Sep 2012 #51
flvegan Sep 2012 #56
Blanks Sep 2012 #60
TheCruces Sep 2012 #76
Blanks Sep 2012 #77
NickB79 Sep 2012 #80
bw3517 Sep 2012 #62
flvegan Sep 2012 #64
Blanks Sep 2012 #68
flvegan Sep 2012 #69
Javaman Sep 2012 #49
Blanks Sep 2012 #50
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #24
Blanks Sep 2012 #30
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #43
Blanks Sep 2012 #46
Orrex Sep 2012 #9
Blanks Sep 2012 #31
Orrex Sep 2012 #40
Blanks Sep 2012 #45
Gore1FL Sep 2012 #15
Blanks Sep 2012 #78
NickB79 Sep 2012 #36
Blanks Sep 2012 #38
sad sally Sep 2012 #65
Blanks Sep 2012 #67
Tigress DEM Sep 2012 #10
triplepoint Sep 2012 #11
4th law of robotics Sep 2012 #12
Sunlei Sep 2012 #13
harmonicon Sep 2012 #17
Blanks Sep 2012 #33
harmonicon Sep 2012 #48
Blanks Sep 2012 #52
happyslug Sep 2012 #27
NickB79 Sep 2012 #81
madrchsod Sep 2012 #16
docgee Sep 2012 #19
magical thyme Sep 2012 #20
Blanks Sep 2012 #34
JackRiddler Sep 2012 #26
sakabatou Sep 2012 #28
olddad56 Sep 2012 #58
JackRiddler Sep 2012 #70
Ilsa Sep 2012 #72
flvegan Sep 2012 #42
mikki35 Sep 2012 #53
EmeraldCityGrl Sep 2012 #85
mikki35 Sep 2012 #54
lonestarnot Sep 2012 #55
olddad56 Sep 2012 #57
LeftyMom Sep 2012 #59
Codeine Sep 2012 #88
jpak Sep 2012 #61
Exultant Democracy Sep 2012 #63
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #66
Ilsa Sep 2012 #71
Ilsa Sep 2012 #73
NickB79 Sep 2012 #82
Ilsa Sep 2012 #74
undergroundpanther Sep 2012 #86
Codeine Sep 2012 #87

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:08 AM

1. How does glutting the market raise prices?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:14 AM

3. Probably many of the animals have not reached ideal market weight yet, for one thing...

And the issue is that the animals slaughtered now will not be there to slaughter later. The article says that food prices will jump 14% by next summer...that's a whole year almost for the coming shortage to take effect.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:18 AM

5. There will be an initial drop because of a flooded market

but then there will be an increase because of the diminished supply

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Response to Incitatus (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 02:50 AM

14. Happened with lobsters in southern Maine this summer;

They arrived too early and way too many were soft shell, which have less meat and Lobstermen ended up getting lower prices from wholesalers, who in turn charged consumers less for soft- or new-shelled lobsters than for ones with sturdy hard shells.

But I'm sure global warming had nothing to do with it. Jesus or Neptune or whoever is in charge of the ocean these days was probably just experimenting.

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Response to JenniferJuniper (Reply #14)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 09:35 AM

21. There is a theory that killing off all the cod widened the niche for lobsters

But since everything I learned about marine biology I learned from "The Life Aquatic" someone who knows something about the situations can surely correct me.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)


Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 09:41 AM

22. Often they aren't glutting the market

 

Like in this case:



Seems rather suspect to me. Because the next action was to ship in American eggs which the Mexicans rejected because they say they taste bland.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:21 PM

25. This meat will be sold at cheaper prices... and then?

Then there will be lower stocks next summer.

Get it?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 04:01 PM

35. Millions of head of breeding stock are going to be killed as well

We'll see a drop in meat prices for the next few months, and then the prices will spike as no newborn cattle and pigs take their place.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #35)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:23 PM

75. Herds will need to be re-populated.

Of the smaller herds, even fewer will be sent to slaughter to regrow herds.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #75)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:04 PM

79. They can only repopulate the herds if feed prices come down

Many farmers are actually losing money on every cow or pig they're selling, due to the high price of corn, soy, and alfalfa. Maintaining their herds long-term in this kind of market would be financial suicide.

No one is going to start thinking of rebuilding their herds until a) the price of feeding them comes down dramatically, or b) the cost of meat goes up dramatically.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #79)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:12 PM

83. Pork is expected to rebound considerably.

But yes, the cost of operations has to decrease or the prices have to increase.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:14 AM

2. This happens every time the price of feed rises

which happens every time there is a general drought. The headline is kind of ridiculous, but the prediction may well be correct; drought leads to less food on the markets in several ways, and less food is more expensive food.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:18 AM

4. Thank goodness global warming is a hoax

Otherwise we'd be in real trouble!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:31 AM

7. Chickens.

If you want to have meat next summer; start raising chickens. You can order baby chicks through the mail and they eat grass and bugs.

You can also raise them for eggs. Of course if you're gonna eat the chicken; you'll have to get someone to kill it (or kill it yourself). After you've had them for 6 months they're like pets.

Killing them is not something normal folks enjoy.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:37 AM

8. I don't have room for chickens on my tiny apartment balcony, nor

inside my 1-BR apartment in the city.

And the only thing I can successfully grow on my balcony is cannabis. I can't eat that, but at least I won't worry as I starve.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #8)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:41 AM

18. What's the dimensions on your balcony?

You can raise a chicken in 4 square feet. I have 4'X4 cages that will hold 4 chickens.

I'm just kidding about putting them on your balcony, but I don't think people realize how little space it takes to raise chickens.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #18)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 10:08 AM

23. I'm curious. I have a small yard...

I already have a 160 square foot garden and I keep bees.

How much room, minimally would I need to raise, say, 3 hens?

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Response to Javaman (Reply #23)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 01:29 PM

29. You could build a 4'x4' cage.

Then you could move it around in the yard and keep the grass down.

Make no mistake; they will make a huge mess if you leave it in the same place for very long (if you keep them confined in a cage of that size) and they won't do as good a job as horses keeping the grass evenly cut. The up side is that you can move the cage when you gather the eggs daily. If they eat all the grass down to just the dirt; the grass that grows back will be the greenest grass you've ever seen.

Chickens will eat a lot of things that you would otherwise landfill i.e. apple peels, leftover pizza, pasta etc.

If you have hens only; they don't make any noise so nobody will complain. If you'd like; I can post a picture of my 4'x4 cage that I keep 4 roosters in. Very simple, a person can build one in about an hour if they have the tools and equipment.

On edit: they recommend 10 sf/chicken if you want to have a cage that stays stationary. So a permanent cage 6' x 5' would work fine.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #29)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 03:43 PM

32. I would like to see your photos

 

How often would you move the cage around?

Also do they require additional food beyond the 4x4 patch of grass and bugs and occasional kitchen scraps or is that enough?

Can't really do this right now (apartment) but I intend to at some point.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #32)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 04:26 PM

37. Here is the simplest cage I have.



It takes two 8' - 2"x4" both cut in half and one 4' x 8' sheet of plywood (or OSB). I screw the 2x4s into the corners of the OSB which is cut into 2' x 4' sheets.

One of the 2' x 4' sheets of OSB is hinged at the bottom (it should open down toward you). Then it takes a 6' x 4' sheet of 'chicken wire' (I use 2" x 4" mesh) fastened to the 2" x 4" lumber and then wired to the OSB (drill a couple of holes in the top of the OSB).

As far as moving the cage; I'd say move it daily, mostly because you won't have to open the door to get the eggs. You'll want to cover the top with something a towel would probably work fine (I use some old black felt material) you may want to tie it down or just use the leftover sheet of OSB to weight it down.

I wouldn't feed them just scraps and count on the bugs all the time, a 50 lb bag of layer costs about $16 right now and I'd feed them a cup or so a day (put it on something not just the ground). You'd have to experiment with the quantity, but if you have some left over then you'll know you gave them too much.

You may want to put a roost in there. That would consist of another 4' 2" x 4" screwed across the back with enough room for them to sit on.

Chickens are really cool. These are all roosters. You couldn't just go out and get 4 roosters and get them to live together in a cage this small. These grew up together so they aren't aggressive toward one another.

One thing you do need to know about chickens is that mixing them is hit and miss. If you have 3 hens and decide to go out and get another; it may work to put her in with the existing, and they might peck her to death. That's one of the reasons I wanted a simple, cheap, easy to construct cage (fairly dog proof) if you decide to go get some new chickens; spend the $15 to $20 build a new cage. You may not want to risk mixing them.

On edit - water. Make sure they always have fresh water. You can buy waterers at your local farm store, but in a pinch; you can use empty coffee cans. I've even used old bleach bottles cut off below the handle. Make sure they don't tip them over, if they do you may want to just buy a waterer.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #37)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 05:25 PM

39. Great info

 

thanks!

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Response to Blanks (Reply #37)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 01:03 AM

84. thanks my SO and I have been discussing doing this

however we have one problem we live in MN and winters here are COLD so we're trying to figure out a way around that one, without costing ourselves an arm and leg in energy costs

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Response to azurnoir (Reply #84)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 06:36 PM

89. In a small cage like that you can cover it up with plastic...

Last edited Tue Sep 25, 2012, 07:12 PM - Edit history (1)

...tie a rope around it and put a drop light inside; it will stay warm down to very low temperatures.

On edit: I also have bigger cages. I constructed A-frames out of old shower doors (available at places that sell used construction debris). It works out that since it is pointed at the top; the enclosed space is small so the chickens stay Warner.



I had to remove the shower door enclosures from the cages because it gets incredibly hot inside them during the summer.

The chickens in a confined space will keep each other warm and they will lay their eggs inside the shower door enclosure. It doesn't get nearly as cold here, but if you get a 'stock tank heater' for their water and confine them into a small space with it, they should stay above freezing.

I haven't had any problems down to freezing temperature. If you experiment with a drinker that a stock tank heater will fit inside (and the chickens won't tip over) I think you'll find something functional.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #89)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 06:38 PM

90. thanks we had considered insulating the garage heavily

but that would work too

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Response to azurnoir (Reply #90)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 08:58 PM

91. Chickens are vile, vile creatures.

If you haven't had them before, you might want to ask around about the advisability of keeping them indoors (even in the garage).

The first 3 weeks of a chickens life they need to be kept in an environment where it is about 100 degrees. I use the largest plastic tub I can find (get two, transfer them, hose it out, switch off). Tear up newspaper into strips about an inch wide and put it on the bottom of the tub. Then put the baby chicks in it. If you're going to have chickens in the garage this is how I would recommend it; only while they're small.

Once they've feathered; you don't want them confined in a small space, but they need to be confined. You can order your chickens 3 weeks before you expect it to be warm enough to be outside. You can keep them inside after they are 3 weeks old, but if you don't continue to increase the amount of space that they have as they get older; you will lose them and they'll hop out of the tubs.

I hang a light bulb in the tubs (light bulbs are key) . In the first week; you can keep about 25 in a big tub, leave the lid on the tub, but not sealed up (compost the newspaper daily) If you have two tubs; by the end of the second week you'll want to have split them up (12 in one tub 13 in the other).

Once they are full grown; they aren't that fragile. In fact if you don't mind springing for it; a doghouse with a light in it would keep full grown chickens plenty warm (put something over the door at night). If you've got grass showing through the snow even if it's freezing outside; they'll go out and scratch during the day if you let them.

Also you might consider a 12'x12 PVC hoop house. Mine stays nice and toasty on cold days.



I raise fish (only goldfish so far) and watercress inside my greenhouse, but it works for chickens too.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #29)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 06:26 PM

41. 4 x 4 with 4 chickens?

Mobile battery cage. How quaint. Hope you don't live in California.

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Response to flvegan (Reply #41)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 07:12 PM

44. No. Why?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #44)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 10:27 PM

47. I like how you dismissed my first point.

And with that, I dismiss you.

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Response to flvegan (Reply #47)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 08:55 AM

51. I apologize.

If I dismissed your first point. I looked for it; would you mind pointing it out again. I had no intention of being rude to you.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #51)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 12:01 AM

56. Battery cage.

Go.

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Response to flvegan (Reply #56)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 08:40 AM

60. I've never heard it referred to as a battery cage.

I refer to it as a small chicken tractor. It can be put on new grass with very little effort. It protects the chickens from predators, the chickens can be allowed to run around all day and return to the safety of the 'tractor' at night.

Why do you call it a battery cage?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #60)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:07 AM

76. Each animal has one sq. ft. in which to live.

In California, that's below the legal minimum size mandated by law (factory farms, included). In any state, it's cruel.

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #76)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 12:20 PM

77. The guideline that I use is 4 sf/chicken.

Although there should also be a requirement for cubic feet/chicken as well.

Most of my chickens are in cages where they have 4' above them (although the cages pictured above only have 2'). So in addition to them having plenty of room to scratch; they get to fly up to a roost.

The cages pictured provide each chicken with 8 cf/chicken (if there are 4 chickens in the cage). Battery cages would put 32 chickens in this much space, and the chicken would live its entire life in that space, indoors with bad air. I just want to point out that there is no comparison to the quality of life for the battery cage chickens versus 'chicken life' in these cages.

I initially made these cages to keep the rooster to hen ratio of my free range chickens a little lower. I also planted some trees that I didn't want to let the horses around so I scooted these cages around the trees to keep the grass down.

I was trying to donate some to the local Occupy camp, and I figured they could keep a few live roosters around and avoid refrigeration (and reduce kitchen scraps if they had any). Unfortunately, they weren't interested in the donation. So I'm still trying to give away some live roosters.

Anybody have any suggestions?

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #76)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:07 PM

80. 4x4 is 16 sq. ft, which translates into 4 sq. ft per chicken

Math is your friend.

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Response to flvegan (Reply #41)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:26 AM

62. Turns out he is in the clear

 

From the California Proposition 2

"Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_2_%282008%29

If you look at the picture he provided, they have ample room to do all of this and more. You should do a little research before pointing fingers.

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Response to bw3517 (Reply #62)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 04:13 PM

64. Indeed.

"fully extend their limbs"

My research is done, thanks. Finish yours.

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Response to flvegan (Reply #64)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 06:13 PM

68. Perhaps your research should have started with why they are called...

...battery cages. Then you would have seen that a single cage that is mobile is in no way, shape or form a 'battery cage'.

In fact in this context the term 'mobile battery' is an oxymoron.

My 'chicken tractor' actually fits that description nicely.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tractor

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Response to Blanks (Reply #68)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 07:43 PM

69. (facepalm)

I should actually thank you for that post.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #29)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 08:32 AM

49. If you could, could you post a pict of your 4x4 set up?

Thanks!

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Response to Blanks (Reply #18)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:17 PM

24. If I ever have chickens, it will be in a proper coop with some dirt to run around

and scratch in, and not a battery cage. They can easily be raised in a suburban back yard, but are illegal in most suburbs.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #24)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 03:28 PM

30. What you will find in a 'proper coop'...

Is that the chickens will dig holes and then when it rains water will fill the holes and mix with the chicken manure (and any food that they have not eaten) and it will smell really bad.

There are nice coops, but what you see a lot of people (like Joel Saladin) doing these days is 'chicken tractors'. Chickens eat a lot of bugs so part of the idea is to expose them to different patches of grass every day.

I have several combinations of chicken tractors, but the ones that I like the best are 8' x 8' covered with 2" X 4" wire mesh (chicken wire sucks). I move them by scooting one side and then moving around and scooting the other side (more work than it should be). If there's good drainage inside the cage; I can leave it in place all the time with 6 chickens. If I were willing to move one every couple of days I could keep as many as 16 chickens in it. I stick 2 x 4 lumber through the mesh so they have roosts and cover it with a tarp in the summer heat and lean 4 x 8 sheets of OSB up against it when it's really cold (and put a light bulb inside).

I think if you experiment with chickens some you will see the advantage the 'tractors' have over a coop. It can get really disgusting inside of the coop and tractors fertilize the ground they sit on. Unless you have a good use for the manure after you've cleaned the coop, pure chicken manure is very potent (and dense) so you can't just scoop it up in a bag and grow things as readily as you can with horse manure.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #30)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 06:53 PM

43. Oh I know all about chicken tractors, too. I have done all kinds of homework over the past

15 years dreaming about my future little farmette.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #43)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 07:27 PM

46. I wish you luck. I'm sure you'll enjoy it if you get the opportunity.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:37 AM

9. Many cities don't allow chickens to be privately raised for food within city limits

I know that's how it is in my town, for instance.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #9)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 03:41 PM

31. It is odd to me that they can allow dogs, and not allow chickens.

Yeah, roosters are noisy and I can see them discouraging that, and an improperly maintained (over crowded coop) can stink the high heaven.

However, if a person has a small 'chicken tractor' (like I talked about above) and 3 or 4 hens; they could raise all of the eggs that they need and nobody would be the wiser (in a fenced yard). They could feed them kitchen scraps (except chicken) and supplement it with a small amount of feed and keep the bugs down in the yard. If you let them out just before sunset they'll run around and chase bugs and return to their cage when it gets dark. It's actually very entertaining.

They've really taken a lot from us when theyve forbidden chickens in town.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #31)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 05:56 PM

40. Chickens are allowed to be raised as pets but not for food

Honestly, I haven't looked into the particulars, and there's probably a limit to the number of birds you can own pet-wise in any case. A neighbor who had a few chickens and ducks gave me the info, and since he actually had the bird in hand, as it were, I was inclined to take him at his word!

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Response to Orrex (Reply #40)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 07:26 PM

45. We have local ordinances in both Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The maximum in NLR is five, but I expect if nobody complained you could get away with a lot more.

Both ordinances are very specific and fairly limiting, but it makes sense to have strict regulations so they can shut someone down at the first sign of trouble. Go beyond the limitations at your own peril; with the understanding that if you cause trouble - they can shut you down.

I live out of town. I don't know how they would know if you were raising birds for meat or eggs, but I expect if you were making a big to do out of the slaughtering of chickens; even if it is legal, somebody would be trying to shut you down.

I'll bet if you did it quietly; nobody would fuss.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 07:06 AM

15. Then you have to eat chickens as a side effect.

I am more inclined to herd cattle or shepherd sheep in my suburban environment.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 12:24 PM

78. Liking the taste of chicken is a prerequisite.

Or at least eggs.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 04:08 PM

36. The problem is that chicken feed prices have shot up too

I raised a small flock (5 hens and a rooster) for a few years before finally butchering them last summer. I got AMAZING numbers of eggs out of them, on the order of 2-3 dozen per week! I was able to keep my feed costs low by feeding them tablescraps, letting them graze in an enclosed run, and bringing home waste cottage cheese and yogurt from the dairy plant I work at.

I just went and looked at chicken feed last week, because I was thinking of getting another flock, and yikes! Prices for feed pellets and scratch grains have all jumped by several dollars per bag. Plus, my job no longer allows anyone to take home product, even if it's destined for the garbage.

I'm currently looking into planting a portion of my yard into either grain or squash production (chickens love squash, and they keep for months into the winter) to cut feed costs, but it's no longer as clear that raising your own eggs and meat is cost-effective.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #36)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 04:52 PM

38. Chicken feed did just go up.

Horse feed did too. I figured part of it was because of the drought. I expect the price of eggs to go up too though; so the feed cost might be a bust.

I have a small garden so I give the chickens anything that isn't in pristine condition. I also have some 'weeds' that the horses won't eat, and I rip them out by the roots and give them to the chickens. They'll eat whatever I put in their cages.

It's still a work in progress, but we're trying to get back to a 'less dependant on Walmart' lifestyle.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 05:19 PM

65. My next door neighbor has six chickens and had one rooster. Two weekends ago, the red

rooster got barbequed 'cause he'd started to attack people - I put garden and fruit stuff in their pen (it's okay w/neighbor) and he'd come after me a time or two. She had to look for someone to come and kill the old guy - said even though he'd gotten mean, she couldn't do the deed.

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Response to sad sally (Reply #65)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 05:53 PM

67. We get an aggressive rhode island red every once in a while.

The thing about chickens (and this is one of the reason cages are a good idea) is that; if it's dark, you can walk right up to them, grab them by the legs and hold them upside down at arms length until they're calm. They are defenseless in the dark.

In my experience even the most aggressive roosters are calm as can be after they've been upside down for a few seconds.

Its a difficult thing to kill your chickens (particularly if you've raised them from a baby chick), but I try to approach it from the perspective: every time I eat chicken someone had to kill it.

I expect no normal person enjoys killing them. In fact I'd watch my back around anyone who says they enjoy it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:56 AM

10. Buy lots of jerky!! nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:59 AM

11. Ain't It Good To Be Alive?

 

and a self-sustaining Vegetarian?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:59 AM

12. Don't worry though. You'll be able to drive them to the slaughterhouses using corn-fuel

 

and while it isn't cheaper and get's lower mileage and is a net carbon emitter at least it wasn't used to . . . feed people.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 01:30 AM

13. The yield for corn has gone from 30 bushels an acre to 300!! an acre over past 30 years.

The world is way to dependent on huge factory farms where animals have to be fed refined antibiotic/growth hormone feeds because they are crammed together in filthy close pack.


Surely there are plenty of places in the world where corn/grains and grass have NO problem growing.

This warning about the price of meats and animal feed looks like price setting to me by that industry.

States in America need to drop any zoning restrictions for small farm start-ups. Keep in the health and safety laws only. It's not hard AT ALL, to have a tiny farm that meets your entire families yearly food needs and have PLENTY of extra to sell.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #13)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:27 AM

17. I guess you haven't been noticing what corn fields look like this year.

It's a lot worse than it's ever been in my lifetime, here in Michigan at least, and I know there are places in the country that are far worse.

Are you a farmer? I don't think you'll find many farmers tell you that it's "not hard AT ALL" to be a farmer, especially in a year like this.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #17)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 03:51 PM

33. Corn is grown in a lot of places where corn should not be grown.

I don't know how anyone could get the idea that farming is easy, I think a lot more people need to be involved in it than are currently, mostly because it isn't all that easy.

Corn requires a lot more water than wheat (for example) and for some reason they plant corn in places where wheat and alfalfa can be grown and rotated without irrigation (maybe not this year).

There should be some kind of restriction on growing corn in areas that water is not readily available.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:16 AM

48. It certainly is, but I don't think there should be legal restrictions.

We just need to have more sensibly regulated markets and complete reconfiguring of subsidy programs. Lots of the country that used to be "the bread basket" is now growing corn, but is more suited to other crops, but places like Michigan and Indiana aren't amongst them. Farmers all over are being hard hit this year, even if they made the best decisions and did everything the right way.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #48)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 08:59 AM

52. I agree with you.

It makes a lot more sense to have financial disincentives (through subsidies) than laws.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #13)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 01:04 PM

27. You are talking about Average vs ideal

Last edited Wed Sep 19, 2012, 02:06 PM - Edit history (2)

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/11/corn-yields-have-increased-six-times.html

After remaining flat between 1866 and 1939 at about 26 bushels per acre, corn yields started increasing dramatically in the 1940s due to the introduction of hybrid seeds, and the widespread use of nitrogen fertilizers and herbicides (source). By 2009, average corn yields had increased by more than six times to a record high 165 bushels per acre, before falling to 153 bushels per acre last year, and an estimated 148.1 bushels per acre for 2011.

Under ideal conditions it is possible to produce over 300 bushels per acre, but the average is about 160 bushels per acre, for most corps never come close to such "Ideal conditions":

http://www.agronext.iastate.edu/corn/production/management/harvest/producing.html

One reason for increase in average bushels per acre is a lot of marginal land (over 20%) has been removed from corn production over the last 50 years. If you remove one acre of land that gets 10 bushels per acre, but keep in production another acre that get 300 bushels per acre, you have double your crop per acre (from 155 bushels per acre for BOTH acres, to 300 Bushels per acre for the acre you did farm). Thus the removal of 20% of farm land to corn is a factor in the AVERAGE increase in corn per acre.

On the other hand, increase size of corn due to increase use of fertilizers, AND a huge drop in crop loss to bugs due to the increase in the use of Herbicides are by far bigger factors.

I just wanted to point out the 300 Bushels per acre is NOT the average, while the 26 bushels is an average. You would be better of using 160 bushels per acre then the 300 number, the 16o number is more relevant for the comparison you are making.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:13 PM

81. 300 bushels an acre?!?! In your dreams!

The average yield this year is 125 bushels per acre. The BEST fields rarely get beyond 170 bushels per acre in perfect growing conditions. 30 years ago, cornfields were still getting over 100 bushels per acre on average in the US. The average yield for a US cornfield hasn't been 30 bushels per acre since the 1930's! And in the meantime, we've added 6 BILLION people to the planet in the past century.

And in case you haven't noticed, global warming is already starting to play havoc with the weather. Flooding one year, drought the next, spring coming 2 months early and then a cold snap in May, etc. All this is already hurting crop production, and is only going to get far, far worse in the coming years as the ice cap melts away.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:14 AM

16. wtf---"is expected"

i thought the guardian was above that kind of bullshit headline. oh well ,another day another misleading headline to scare the masses.

now who will benefit from using scare tactics? ....... let me think.......

i got it!


investment bankers!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:45 AM

19. If they would have stuck to feeding with grass, they would be fine... nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 09:14 AM

20. I'll be vegan by then...and loving it

I'm about 80-90% there anyway. I'm not throwing away any of the "wrong" foods that I've amassed -- just working my way through them a little at a time while everything new that I buy fits the new food pyramid that puts colorful veggies at the bottom of the pyramid, and meats and sweets at the top.

Not out of morality, but pure health concerns. It's not just that I don't have health insurance yet; I don't trust it and personally I prefer preventing illness to suffering. I also was motivated after watching patient after patient in the ER, the vast majority of them with preventable illnesses based largely on poor nutrition.

After reading Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD, I decided to try his approach and have to say I love it and recommend it to anybody who has any health concerns. He has studied nutrition for decades and through thousands of patients. The science backs up his assertions and his anecdotal evidence.

After just a couple weeks, I have more energy and if I follow his food pyramid exactly I don't get the cravings that I used to have to fight (and inevitably lose the battle to, lol). I think my cravings, where I would stand in front of the fridge at home or vending machine at work, and think "I need something...but what?" were about needing a lot more nutrition than I was giving myself.

I've also already lost an inch or two off my waist -- 5 or so more to go. My allergy symptoms have also declined a lot, despite weather that should have driven them crazy.

I was afraid it would be very expensive, but soon discovered I could center my diet around some of the cheaper fruits and veggies and then fill in with the more expensive ones. Seeds and nuts are very costly by the pound, but when you only eat a couple teaspoons of them/day, then the expense drops to normal.

And he considers frozen veggies at the supermarket as fresh for the purpose of nutritional content, which contains the costs year round.

I also was afraid that trying to balance legumes and grains for "complete" proteins would be a lot of work, but he doesn't believe it is necessary and makes some pretty convincing arguments as to why not.

I'm also finding it fun. Many of his recipes are too complex for everyday life, but they are also easy to simplify.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #20)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 03:56 PM

34. Have you seen the documentary 'Forks over Knives'?

It talks about a lot of what you're saying. I've cut back on the amount of meat that I eat, but I haven't given it up completely yet.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 12:23 PM

26. Meanwhile, 40% of US corn harvest goes into the gas tank...

In the form of ethanol that produces very low or perhaps negative net energy, and net higher carbon emissions! We're talking about enough corn to feed hundreds of millions of people.

But some agribusinesses are happy about that. Hooray!

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #26)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 01:07 PM

28. We need to stop it

Do some more research so we can use other sources instead (switch grass?).

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #26)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 12:07 AM

58. limiting the supply increases the demand...

The consumers will continue to be screwed until we unionize like labor once did. Lets knock off the corporations, one brand boycott at a time. Where is Ralph Nader when he could actually be useful.

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Response to olddad56 (Reply #58)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:02 PM

70. Where's Nader? Probably being almost 80, you know?

But yeah, what you said.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #26)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:16 PM

72. The EPA is looking at reducing the requirement for

minimums to go to ethanol, last I heard. I don't think they've decided yet, though.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 06:28 PM

42. I *could* state the obvious

but then, that would be obvious. Rarely do folks like obvious.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 09:22 AM

53. Suburban gardening

There is no doubt that people SHOULD be thinking about starting or restarting gardening, keeping chickens, etc. Your food bill is not going to go down, that's for sure. But please remember - the thing about both chickens and gardening - neither one of them can be dropped once you start, unless you slaughter the chickens or reconcile yourself to a garden full of lovely lush weeds. It's not something that can be done only on weekends - they have to be tended. The chickens? Daily. The garden? Often, especially if its been extra-rainy (weeds) or extra-dry (watering). Its also called WORK. You can't do either one sitting down. Wielding a hoe down a row is work. Carrying a bucket of water is work. Once in a great while, you're gonna trip and lose your bucket of water Lugging a 50# sack of chicken feed is work. Cleaning the chicken pen is work. It also stinks - I don't care how many times you clean it, it still stinks. When it rains, anywhere your chicken pen is or has been will reek to high heaven of ammonia, the by-product of the natural breakdown of shit. If you've got a stationary chicken pen? Chicken shit turns to liquid grease in the rain and is an awful lot like walking on grease on a linoleum floor (!!!). There will also be ZERO grass anywhere in a stationary chicken pen - they eat it all so fast you won't believe it - so the entire enclosed run will be bare earth within a very few days. If you plan on using a chicken tractor or portable small pens - they must be moved daily, unless you want serial areas of all grass removed. Unless they're heavy enough or tied down enough, stray dogs or cats can and WILL eat your chickens and/or eggs - double the loss if your chickens aren't old enough to put up any kind of fight. I know several people who came back for more hens because they came home from work and found their pens upended and feathers everywhere...That being said, I would still very much recommend you try - just PLEASE be aware of what you're getting into and plan accordingly. The rewards are great, but there are very real drawbacks/risks.

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Response to mikki35 (Reply #53)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 01:54 AM

85. There is a product that will make your life much easier.

It's a white powdery substance your feed store will know the name of.
We sprinkle it each time we clean the coop and lightly cover with shavings.
Our coop is nearly odorless. The shavings and poop are used as fertilizer
And mulch in the gardens. The substance is NOT Lime, but looks like it.

Sorry, too late to go down and get the name.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 09:29 AM

54. FYI

And just when you think you've got a handle on things...lol!
We built a stationary chicken house/pen with a solid floor, sturdy walls, and an outside run that was completely enclosed in chicken wire to keep critters from getting in. We put a lot of work into it to keep the chickens safe from predators.
Remember that derecho wind in July that made such a mess? We not only lost electricity for about a week, I lost about 1/2 my chickens at once. Found them in a heap - all blown into the back wall of the chicken house at once. Just imagine if they were our sole source of protein for a big family......

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 10:52 AM

55. I've already seen crap missing from store shelves on last grocery run.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 12:04 AM

57. okay. let the hoarding begin.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 12:40 AM

59. "food"

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Response to LeftyMom (Reply #59)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 07:51 AM

88. +1 nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 08:56 AM

61. but...but...but... global warming is a fraud!!111

Damn you Algore!!111

Damn youuuuuuu!!11111

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 01:26 PM

63. Supply and demand. If Americans reduced their meat consumption even a little this would balance out.

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Response to Exultant Democracy (Reply #63)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 05:28 PM

66. China eats almost twice as much meat as the USA

Not per capita, but in total, which is what counts here. And as the article says, this is a world-wide issue.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:14 PM

71. More animals will be kept for breeding and repopulating the herd

next Spring and Summer, also. It's not just that there are fewer animals for slaughter.

Corn is being harvested in the US at record speed because the farmers can get the best prices due to feed corn shortages. About 25% has been harvested already, and it is usually only about 10% at this time.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:18 PM

73. Brazil is bringing a record winter corn crop to market.

I don't know who their primary customers are, or if it could bring down US prices. (The Brazil Ag report was televised last night.)

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #73)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:19 PM

82. Brazil is small potatoes in the corn market

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f9ff6b8e-e6f6-11e1-af33-00144feab49a.html#axzz27PdMuzPj

They're planning on exporting 15 million tons of corn this year. In comparison, the US produced 330 million tons of corn in 2009.

Also, the article states their primary market is the Middle East and Asia.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Fri Sep 21, 2012, 09:21 PM

74. Pork producers are losing a bundle on lean hogs right now.

Lean Hog Futures are currently in the low $70's, but expected to hit mid $90's in Spring. It's a good time to freeze some meat if you eat it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 02:37 AM

86. great

I'm being moved out of my moms house I'm on ssi and won't have help from roommates godammit I'm screwed. If food and stuff I need like heat,water etc keeps going up I'm not going to be able to afford to exist.Godammit. I hate my sisters.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 07:46 AM

87. Meat prices, not food prices. nt

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