Introduction to group

By captain.k on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 - 10:28am

Hi everyone,

I just joined the group (although I've been a member for a while) & I'd like to introduce myself.  I met Chris Martenson a few years ago in western Mass when he launched the crash course.  Since then my path to lead a greener, more sustainable, and more prosperous life during this "peak" time has led me on an interesting journey: from western Mass we moved into a yurt and lived off grid for a few years, then we took to the sea to live life afloat (very sustainable & low impact).  But then after a couple years, my wife and I conceived a child, and instead of sailing to Central America as planned, we sold our boat and flew down.  Now here, we have been graced with the blessing to buy into a permaculture community/farm. 

We are building a wonderful house from naturally fallen rainforest hardwoods (not cut down by people) on our lot and our permaculture garden is growing so fast. Our 14 ponds are stocked with Tilapia, and we just finished a large mango harvest that yielded a truck load of nice dehydrated mango leather!  Our roads are lined with pineapples, sugarcane, coffee, cacao, guava, bananas, etc...  And there are lots of chickens and ducks.  We are loving the 4-growing seasons per year, but it is a bit hot during the dry season, for sure!

Here are a few pictures of our greenhouse for starting seedlings and a few other parts of the farm.  I look forward to sharing information with all of you and learning from your expertise!


Captain K












algallop's picture
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Posts: 1
What are you feeding your chickens and ducks?

Captain K,

Love the pictures of the permaculture farm! I believe we live in similar climate zones (I'm on the rainy side of Hawaii Island). We grow many of the same crops here.

You said you have lots of chickens and ducks. I was wondering if you grow any of their food yourself (besides kitchen scraps). I have a few laying hens, and a handful of Muscovy ducks, and I am currently quite reliant on the local feed store for their primary food source (50# bags of layer feed that come in on a boat from thousands of miles away)...I would like to grow a more significant percentage of their food at home. Any ideas?



Thetallestmanonearth's picture
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Posts: 325
I'm in the process of trying

I'm in the process of trying to figure out the same thing for the pacific NW climate if anyone knows what I can plant here for chickens.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1988
chicken feed plantings

The PNW has, in some ways, a similar climate to where I live. We are assembling our chicken coop. What do you plant for feed?

robshepler's picture
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Joined: Apr 16 2010
Posts: 117
Chicken feed

Our chickens free range in our orchard all year, during the summer they have a lot of forage but we do supplement. We are doing our best to wean ourselves off of store bought chicken feed and have a long way to go with 60 chickens. If need be we can reduce the flock pretty fast.

We are growing pumpkins, sunflowers and Hopi blue corn for the girls. Pumpkins store pretty well and they love them. The sunflowers are doubling as bee food right now but should store great as well. The Hopi Blue corn makes a wonderful cornmeal and is high in protein, the girls will have to fight us for it.

Sure would love to hear what other folks are thinking and planting!

bluewaters kevin's picture
bluewaters kevin
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Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 2
Chicken feed

Our hens have been really happy with our new little maggot farm! Sounds disgusting, but the girls absolutely love them. And from what I've read, the maggots are highly nutritious for the hens. We’ve had worm bins for kitchen scraps (the ones the girls can’t our wouldn’t eat) for a long time, but the maggot bin easily takes meat scraps, dairy, citrus, etc that I wouldn’t put in the worm bins.

We bought the BioPod, which to me was expensive, but I think is a fairly new design, so the manufacturing costs, etc should come down over time. And I was fine with paying the extra to reward what the product designer has come up with. There are many designs available online if you want to make your own maggot bin.

The key feature is the inclined ramp, by which the mature plump maggots naturally crawl out when they are ready to go to their next stage. And the process of crawling out cleans them off pretty well. So in the collection bin, all you have is a mass of wriggling, high value chicken food, ready to delight the girls!

bluewaters kevin's picture
bluewaters kevin
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Posts: 2
permaculture farm

Captain K – Thank you for sharing your story and photos. I look forward to hearing more updates. Are there particular books/resources you suggest that have been useful to you in thinking about the permaculture/sustainability aspects of what you’re creating?

rheba's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 74
Chicken Feed

Maggots freeze in the winter. The specs for that maggot farm say Zone 7 or higher so that isn't going to work for a lot of people who live in Zones 5, 6 and 4. I guess you could raise extra maggots and dry them but that doesn't sound like a good thing to me for several reasons.

One solution is to build a hoop house out of bent cattle panels (google it). Start growing earthworms in there in the summer and keep a small manure pile going during the winter. We bed our horse in peat moss so it is really yummy stuff for worms. Even when it is really freezing outside you can dig into the bottom of the pile and get some worms. I don't think that it would be feasible on a very large scale but you can usually get some live protein that way. We have a hoop house attached to our chicken coop so the chickens can go out to play when it is snowy. If you do that you will probably have to screen off your manure/worm pile or they will dig it up. You will also have to take care to keep it a bit moist.

Chickens will also eat table scraps including potatoes. They cannot live on potatoes but they can eat them two or three times a week. In many poor societies the chickens and dogs survive on the same diet as the humans.

You can boil their egg shells, grind them up and feed them back for calcium.

The trick is to determine what a balanced diet is for chickens (look online or on a feed bag) and how you can get there without using extruded material. We are going to be planting a lot of winter radishes, turnips and mangel beets this year to try to provide more winter forage for all animals. A diet of maggots along will not be good for chickens.

I would love to hear any other ideas. I think there is a guy (Ussery?) who has blogged about ways to make your own chicken feed. Remember, chickens have lived with humans for thousands of years without bags of feed. There are going to be tradeoffs in terms of time, health egg production etc. It would be good to understand them better before things so awry.


captain.k's picture
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Joined: Apr 13 2013
Posts: 4
welcome, chickens & feed

Thanks everyone for the nice welcome!  Sorry I didn't reply earlier, but last week I was in the caribbean, and then this weekend I had to work on the pacific!  Atlantic to Pacific in one day. Gotta love this narrow isthmus down here.

Anyway, the chickens & ducks aren't getting supplemented except occasionally by the kids who like to feed them. There are lots of kitchen scraps and just plenty of bugs around for them, but we are experimenting with a variety of different corn types in the garden. These are old and native corns from the Americas, and we are going to see which types grow best, and I imagine some will make it as good scratch for the girls.

Thanks for the idea about the maggots Kevin!  What an awesome idea for the meat wastes! that will be perfect for the left over fish waste after making fillets.


As far as books go, "Permaculture" by David Holmgren is a great book. But there are so many more!




We've added another building to start seedlings & we've been maximizing the space in the dome for more production.  It's all so lush with all the sun & rain this time of year.  With so many people raising the gardens now, we have had to implement a harvesting schedule. Now every Friday morning we all go down & pick up as much as we want of whatever is ready to harvest right then.  Hopefully that'll keep us all from taking too much, or taking too much at the wrong time.









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