Micro Environment Subsistence System (M.E.S.S.)
Our families primary crops Edit
Malunggay - Moringa Olefara. (Horseradish tree) Leaves especially high in sulphur compounds (amino acids methionine & cystine) often in short supply, and missing from yam vines.
Per lb. pods 118 cal, 11 protein, 16.8 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft. yearly production 200 lbs. or .55 lb. per day, Growing constantly it would take 3100 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 17 lb. per day.
Per lb. leaves 418 cal, 30 protein, 61 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft. yearly production 245lbs. or .67 lb. per day, Growing constantly it would take 715 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 4.8 lb. per day. Sensitive to waterlogging & termintes. M.Ptergosperma has larger leaveas. M.Stenopetala from India easily damaged by cold. Ampalya - Bitter Melon Per lb. melons 91.6 cal, 4 protein, 18.3 g carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 40.88 lb. over a 90 day period, or .45 lb per day. Growing constantly it would take 4,800 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 22 lb. per day. Per lb. leaves (TBD) Banana - Contains natural sugars sucrose, fructose and glucose, & fiber, and a good source of potassium, preferring a range of 27 to 30 degrees C. Reported to do well with roots immersed in black water hydroponic conditions. Edible blossums, fruit, and banana waste is reported to be used to make paper - 300X stronger than pulp paper. Chayote Per lb. melons 103 cal, 3.44 protein, 24.1 carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 68.67 lb. over a 30 day period, or 2.29 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 850 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 19.5 lb. per day. Per lb. leaves (TBD) Roots are reported to be 20% carbs. Kamote - (Impomea Batatas) Sweet potato, edible tuber, stems and leaves. Tuber Per lb: 640 cal, 9.5 protein, 149 carb Tuber Yield per 100 sq. ft. 82 lbs. over a 119 day growing period, or .68 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 450 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 3.12 lb.+ per day. Vine Per lb: 558 cal, 12.2 protein, ___ carb. Vine Yield per 100 sq. ft. 14.68 lbs over the same 119 day period, or .12 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 3000 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 3.6 lb. per day. Can be grown in the same location for up to 6 years. VERY cold sensitive. Leaf and root MUST be cooked. Related to kang kong, which has no tubers. Collards, edible greens raw in salad or cooked. Heat tolerant. Prefer acidic soil. Tree collards are perennial. Plant on 12" centers. Per lb: 182 cal, 16.3 g. protein, 32.7 g carb Yield per 100 sq. ft. 300 lb. over a 52 day growing period, or 5.75 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 200 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 10+ lbs. per day. Onions. Prefer a somewhat sandy soil. Per lb: 173 cal, 6.8 protein, 39.5 carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 400 lbs. 119 day growing period, or 3.36 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 350 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 11.5+ lbs. per day. Helps fight infections, heart disease, etc. Harvest the old leaves w/o killing the plant. Sensitive to salt and overwatering. Leeks Prefer a somewhat sandy soil. Per lb: 236 cal, 10.0 protein, 50.8 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft.240 lbs. over a 133 day growing period, or 1.8 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 500 sq. f. to feed a person, who would have to eat 8.47+ lb. per day. Garlic. Prefer a somewhat sandy soil. Per lb: 622 cal, 28.1 protein, 140 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft.120 lbs. over a 168 day growing period, or .71 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 450 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 3.22 lb. per day. Rice. Seed rate of 1/4 lb. per bed. Per lb: 1686 cal, 30.9 protein, 371 carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 13.7 lb. over a 145 day growing period, or .09 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 1350 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 1.2 lbs. per day. Beans. Edible pods and leaves. Leaves are extremely high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, calcium and protein. Per lb:Yield Pechay - Bok Choy. Per lb. 80 cal, 25 protein, 51 carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 8.5 lb. over a 60 day growing period, or .14 lb . per day. Growing constantly it would take 17,850 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 24 lbs. per day. This is however a valuable vitamin crop.
Kang Kong - (Ipomoea aquatics) Swamp cabbage. Related to sweet potato, but with no large underground tuber. Practically the entire plant is edible, with younger parts preferred. It will grow in soil, or in water. CANNOT tolerate cold weather. Per lb. 131 cal, 13.6 protein, 18 carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. 2.03 lb over a 30 day growing period, or .068 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 22,450 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 15.25 lb. per day. This is however a valuable vitamin crop. Sigarilyas - Wing Bean. Edible pods and leaves. Leaves are 5 - 7% protein, with a yield per 100 sq. ft. 40 lbs over a 60 day growing period, or .67 lb per day. Pods yield similar weight per area and growing period. (Data To Be Developed) Labanos - white radish. Singkamas - Jicama Sitaw - string bens Talong - egg plant Toge - bean sprouts Ube - purple yam Upo - winter mellow Puso ng Saging - banana blossoms Labong - bamboo shoots. Gabi - Taro.
Alogbati (Malabar spinach) Dahon ng sili - Chili pepper leaves.
Kabute - fungus Kamoteng Kahoy - cassava
Munggo - mung beans. Atis - sweetsop (Sugar apple)
Bayabas - guava
Balimbing - Carambola Cacao
Chico - sapodilla
Mangga - mango
Sampalok - tamarind
Tubo - sugar cane
Atsuete - annatto
Kinchay - asian celerey
Luya - fresh ginger
Murang sibuyas - spring onions
Sili - chile peppers Tanglad - lemon grass
Honorable mention crops Edit
Chipilin. 5' bean bush, leaves strip like moringa, not considered a "staple", but a very nutritious addition with a 6 year lifespan. Cassava (Tapioca) Sheds leaves & goes dormant in drought, can take acidit soil. Avoid leaves, or grind & dry to evaporate toxics. Chaya (Tree Spinach) Leaves are poison when raw, boil 1 minute. Grows 6 - 9 feet tall, use in "damp" areas. Swiss Chard. Helps normalize cholesteral & blood pressure, outer leaves can be harvested at 60 days, then once per week thereafter. Malabar Spinach (Tetragonia expansa) New Zealand spinach. Low plant, thrives on hot weather. Alfalfa. Adapted to hot dry conditions. Roots may grow to 30' deep. Nitrogen accumulator, perennial, but replant every 6 - 8 years. Wheat (Triticum) as a leaf crop, most nutritious just BEFORE seed formation. Dry and grind as a food additive. West Indian Pea Tree. (Sesbania grandifolia) Edible pods and leaves (as with beans). Grown throughout the tropics and tolerates heat and drought well. Egyptian Thorn (Acacia nilotica) Very drought resistent, edible leaves and pods. Orach (Mountain spinach) VERY drought and salt tolerant. Quinoa (Andes plant) Okra (abelmoschus esculeatusr) Edible leaves, flowers, seed pods, mature seeds. VERY heat tolerant, somewhat acid, dry to store. Ivy Gourd (Coccinia grandis) Edible leaves & fruit, so prolific often considered an invasive species.
Cow Pea. Annual plant, leaves have a mild flavor, does well growing with banana plants.
Corn. Per ear, around 600 kernels, 80 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carb. Yield per 100 sq. ft. around 50 ears over an average 80 day growing period, or around 50 calories per day. Growing constantly it would take 4000 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 25 ears per day.
Sunflower. Per lb: 2542 cal, 109 protein, 90.3 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft. 5 lb. over a 84 day growing period, or .06 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 1,300 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat .78 lb. per day. Parsley while low in calories is concentrated in vitamins and minerals. The plant odor may help in insect control. Per lb: 198 cal, 16.3 protein, 38.6 carb Yield per 100 sq. ft. 35 over a 77 day growing period, or .45 lb. per day. Growing constantly it would take 2250 sq. ft. to feed a person, who would have to eat 10+ lbs. per day. Pumpkin. Fruits and leaves. Dandelion. There are probably commercial varieties that are less bitter than wild relatives.
Plant propagation Edit
Perpetuating and improving your crop
The are two types of propagation, sexual and asexual. Sexual reproduction is genetically similar to how it functions in animals, involving the floral plant parts to achieve the union of pollen and egg. It is a mix of the genes of two parents to create a new, third individual.
Genetic mixing Edit
In "heirloom" plants, whether bred by nature or by humans, the plant "children" can in general be expected to resemble the parent. For essentially the history of agriculture, farmers, or scientists, bred plants for this long term stability characteristic. However, in plants the "child" may not be genetically stable, which is what we see with "hybrid" plants. A specialized type of seed may grow a highly productive plant, but the the seeds of that plant may grow new individuals that have little in common with the desired results. Perhaps with adequate attention, the desired traits could be stabilized. But the hybrid throwback trait has kept farmers returning to the seed companies every year. Annual reliance on unstable hybrid seed from companies places each annual crop at the risk of catastrophe loss. Focus on heirloom / stable varieties, or if your inclined, see if you can develop a new stable variety. To store you seed, keep it in a tightly closed low humidity container, at around 40 degrees F if possible. The higher the temperature and humidity, the faster the little "life" in the seed processes to eventual un-viability. Every 5 degree C drop in temperature, STAYING ABOVE FREEZING, will double seed life. Seed "lifetime" also doubles with every 1% decrease in water content. Seed moisture will match surrounding air, so use a product such as silica in a closed container to dry the seed, remove the desiccant, and seal the seeds.
Seed sprouting Edit
Seeds need at a minimum water, oxygen, light and heat. The specific requirements of your selected seeds can vary greatly, and you may need to research. In general, to keep your growing medium in the most efficient and effective production, expect to sprout and maintain seedlings in an independent "nursery" area.
Some seeds may be determined to remain in their dormant state. Again, seed specific research is suggested. Some seeds need to have their hard outer coat scratched or otherwise penetrated or softened to allow water to pass. Some benefit from soaking in hot water (170 to 212 degrees F). Some seed requires a particular period of chill, even freezing. There are even seed which will only spout after being eaten and passed thru the digestive system of an ape. Your seed starting medium needs to be fine textured, relatively uniform, well aerated, loose, yet capable of holding water by capillary action. It should be free of insects, disease organisms, weed seed, etc. A renewable mixture could be something like 1/3 sterilized soil (pasteurize at 180 F for 30 min), 1/3 sand size particles, and 1/3 peat moss. No special pots are required, any approach that holds the seedling medium together works. Note: I discovered that sterilizing soil in the kitchen oven may not be the "best" method, as the heated soil may release some distinctly unpleasant odors, that in my case required a follow up scrubbing of the oven, airing out the house, and dinner for the family at the restaurant...
The time to start your seedlings depends upon their growth rate, and when you intend to transplant them. A suitable planting depth is usually about 2X the diameter of the seed.
You can even pre-germinate seeds before putting them in their initial soil. This reduces germination time, and increases the germination percentage. As with the entire theme of this appendix, and the parent document, the goal is to achieve optimum environmental factors to minimize resource use, and in particular waste. Lay seeds in the folds of a cotton cloth or on a layer of vermiculite in a shallow pan, keeping either moist.
When roots begin to show place the sprout in the container, or the garden. Obviously while working with these, exercise great caution to not injure the plant. Provide indirect light for the first day or so, then new seedlings need bright light, but don't "cook" them.
In open-field gardening, container started plants may need to be "hardened off", which is gradually changing their environment from the perfection of your nursery, to the conditions of the open field. This process can be two weeks.
Cloning background Edit
If you're got a great plant variety, but find it's an unstable, perhaps unrepeatable hybrid, asexual propagation may be necessary. The Bartlett pear (1770) and the Delicious apple (1870) are two examples of clones that have been asexually propagated for many years. Some plants naturally clone.
"High tech" cloning Edit
"Plants from Test Tubes" provides detailed guidance for those who want to set up a scientific, yet home-scale cloning operation. The starting material can be meristems, shoot tips, macerated stem pieces, nodes, buds, flowers, peduncle (flower stalk), rhizone tips, root pieces, and in theory a single cell. The cited text is strongly recommended.
Reproduction at home Edit
A simplified home procedure can get you started on your set of wonders. Home made medium: 1/8 cup sugar 1 teaspoon all-purpose soluble fertilizer, absent such chemicals substitute _____________ 1/3 tsp of 35% soluble nitrogen fertilizer 1 tablet (100 mg) inositol (myo-inositol) 1/4 pulverized vitamin tablet which has 1 to 2 mg thiamine, or substitute ___________ 4 tablespoons coconut milk (cytokinin source), also available in _______________ 3 to 4 grains (1/400 teaspoon) of commercial rooting compound which has 1/10 active ingredient IBA, or substitute ___________________ Fill a sterile 1 quart jar with pure water and the ingredients, shake well & ensure all materials have dissolved. The medium can then be poured into previously prepared sterile culture jars, say small baby food jars with cotton or paper support material. Pour until the support material is just above the solution. Put the baby food jar lids on loosely and sterilize, such as in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes or oven (solar!) at 320 degrees F for 4 hours. Also prepare sterile water, tweezers, and razor knife. Select small actively growing plant parts, such as 1/2 to 1 inch of the shoot tip. Remove leaves. Sterilize the cutting in 10% bleach (90% water) for 8 to 10 minutes, then rinse in sterile water. Remove any bleach damaged plant part with a sterile raxor. (Note continued concern for only sterile tools touching the cutting) Put the cutting on the support material in the culture jars, and recap quickly. (All of this should be done in as sterile environment as possible.) Place in a warm, well-lit (NOT direct sunlight) to encourage growth. Contamination will be obvious in 3 to 4 days, if so, remove, discard, and sterilize. When successful plantlets are large enough, remove and carefully & thoroughly rinse off all medium (otherwise expect a lot of fungus) then plant into soil. Water thoroughly and cover with vapor-tight transparent (plastic bag), removing for brief (1 hour) period, gradually increasing the open time over a two-week period until the plants are strong enough to stand the open air.
"Low tech" cloning Edit
Many types of plants can be propagated by a cutting from a vegetative plant part. Take cuttings with a sharp knife to reduce injury to the parent plant. Clean the cutting in alcohol, peroxide, etc., to avoid transmitting diseases (you hope there are none). Looks for modes (bumps on the stem - see reference material for your particular choice of plants). At least one node must be in the rooting medium. Preferred is two up, two down. In general, take cuttings from one year old or less wood, just before, or after (preferred) the spring flush of growth.
Remove flowers and buds to allow the cutting to focus its stored carbohydrates on root and shoot formation rather than fruit or seed production. Rooting can be improved by application of a rooting hormone, with a fungicide if possible. A commercial hormone product is indole-3-butyric acid, 1/10%. (NAA)
If you do not have access to a commercial product hormone, consider cutting and mashing the growing tip of any other plant.
Insert cuttings into a rooting medium like coarse sand, which is sterile, well drained, yet constantly moist. Find a way to keep the container sealed. Put stem and leaf cuttings in bright, indirect light. Put root cuttings in the dark until new shoots appear. Expect the process to take 4 to 6 weeks, or for the cuttings to rot.
Mist propagation involves suspending the cuttings, with as MUCH leaf as possible, in a mist chamber with relatively intense light, to the level of potential heat damage. The mist keeps the cells moist while providing the maximum drive for the leaves to produce food and hormones to prompt rooting.
Layering is a cloning method where stems that are still attached to the parent plant is encouraged to form roots where the stem touches a rooting medium. Expect this to have much greater success than cuttings.
"Air Layering" is just a matter of cutting wounds in a living stem, (generally a 1/2 to 3/4 inch branch, but larger works) and surrounding it with most airy mass, (say damp moss) surrounded by a semi-permeable membrane (saran) to encourage root growth. Once the moss has visible roots, but the new plant free just below the roots, and plant.
No, not theft, but a means of joining different plants so they grow together as one plant. The part to be propagated is called the scion. There is a great deal you can study about grafting, but some simple techniques and basic reference material, along with experiments, can take you a long way.
The rootstock, or stock provides the plant's root system and perhaps the lower part of the stem. The scion and rootstock must be compatible, each must be at the proper physiological stgage, the cambial layers of the scion and stock must meet, and the graft union must be kept moist until the would closes. Perhaps the easiest and smallest graft involves cutting one bud from the scion twig, inserted into a slice in the bark of the host tree.
Pruning for production and health Edit
Fruit & nut trees, can be trimmed and trained to an arbor or espalier system. Trees trained in this fashion should be grafted onto dwarfing rootstock or roots grown in a container.
An example would be two tree whips planted six feet apart, against a grid 12 feet apart, 8 feet high, with vertical wires/braces at heights of 18, 36, 54, and 72 inches. Season one spring, cut the whip just below crossing the lowest wire. Retain the uppermost shoot as the central leader, tie two side shoots onto the wire, remove all other growth. Let the ends of the horizontal leaders point up though, otherwise horizontal growth will stop. At the end of season one the central leader should have grown above the second wire. Repeat in the spring of each year until the top wire is reached, then instead of cutting the top off train it to the very top wire.
By the end of the fourth season, the trees should be in heavy production. All pruning is done during the spring and summer months. After new growth is the spring is about 2", cut it off, also remove 1/4 of the previous season's growth. Don't cut terminals at the scaffold. Early August, or when new growth is 10 to 12 inches long, cut it back to two or three buds. Repeat about a month later. This encourages fruit bud formation and prevents vigorous growth.
Grapes for example must be trained to a definite system, and pruned severely, to be most productive. Something similar to the above espalier works. Set 5 foot posts 15 to 20 feet apart, with wires at 2 1/2 foot high and post top. Vines are trained on the wires. During annual winter pruning, one cane is saved from those that grew from near the base of each arm. This cane is cut back to about ten buds, on which fruit is borne the next season from shoots developing from those buds. Select another cane from each arm that grew near the trunk and cut it back to a short stub having two buds. Again, similar procedures apply to blackberries and raspberries.
What's bugging you Edit
Most people associate insects with disease and crop loss, but in reality less than 3% are considered pests. Most insects are either actually overall beneficial or at least harmless.
For persistent pests, note the parts of the Neem tree (Azedarachta indica) are said to work like malathion, but be harmless to people.
The primary pollinator of our crops is insects... are you ready to use a cotton "Q-Tip" and climb around your tree to pollinate for your fruit?
Present synthetic pesticides are largely oil based, and will probably become very costly to produce. Even if you have available chemical insecticides, they may not be the "best" solution. Insecticides can do more harm than good, in particular if you destroy the natural enemy and/or competitor of the pest.
Experience in Arizona has shown some sprays are more likely to kill "other" ants, leaving an open playing field for fire ants.
Conduct research for the likely pests in your area, and for their appropriate natural predators. Plan, if appropriate, for subsistence of your tiny allies. Healthy plants are less likely to attract pests, and better able to withstand pest attacks. Also in your research look for plant varieties that are naturally resistant, or perhaps a "companion" plant that either lures insects away from your desired crop, or drives them away.
All vertebrate animals, from mice to man, have potential to become pests. Your particular pest depends on your local situation. Can you add the rabbits, or deer, to your table?
Often the presence of an animal pest will, like with insects, be evidenced by damage to crops, before you actually see the culprit. The first line of defense is your fence or wall, with minimal size openings. If you're in to high-tech, ultra-sound has been somewhat successful on some species, in particular rats. This and other "frightening" animal control methods tend to quickly become in-effective when the intruder leans that nothing harmful happens.
All that "bugs" you, will not necessarily be insects. Technically, a plant disease is any alteration of a plant that interferes with its normal structure or function, or renders it unfit for its normal use. Problems can be caused by living or non-living influences.
A famous plant disease was the potato blight in Ireland in 1845 - 1846. There virtually the entire crop of the staple food for the nation had the same genetic susceptibility to a particular "pest", wiping out the crop figuratively "overnight".
For disease to occur, there must be a susceptible host, note that plants tend to be limited as to what can effect them, in a stage of development susceptible to infection by the disease.
There must of course be a pathogen present, otherwise there cannot be a disease. DON'T BRING IN FOREIGN MATERIALS OR PLANTS.
The environment must be suitable to the pathogen.
Bacteria and fungi generally cause spotting and rotting of leaves, fruit, stems, and roots. Virus type agents cause distorted growth. Nematodes, microscopic worms that eat plant roots generally show up as stunted growth and distorted roots.
Plants can be "invaded" by other plants, such as mistletoe, that taps into the victims circulatory system.
While probably not exactly a disease, plants can appear "ill" due to physical damage, nutrient deficiencies, water or temperature stress.
PATHOGEN DISEASE DEVELOPMENT
Most pathogens need to be carried to their new "home". DON'T BRING IN FOREIGN MATERIALS OR PLANTS. Keep you working surfaces free of outside contamination.
Penetration is the process of getting inside the plant, whether thru an existing opening or thru an active assault such as use of an enzyme to dissolve plant cells. Keep your plants safe from injury. If you find a diseased plant, you may be able to cut off the diseased, or your best action may simply be to remove the plant.
If your plant is under attack by insects, you may be able to physically eliminate them. If visible, trying picking them off, or washing them off with soapy water. Soap is one example of a product that can serve to coat the insects spiracles (breathing holes).
Unavailability of nutrients, even some microscopic quantify, can dramatically effect plant growth, as can a surplus, or contamination with toxic chemicals.
Presented in terms of a typical woody plant stem structure, the visible stem is the bark, which is the aged remains of the phloem. Working inward, the phloem layer can be considered as the arteries that transports the sugars and enzymes from the leaves down to the roots. If these arteries are severed, the supply of new energy to the roots can be dramatically reduced, or severed, effecting root growth. In this case, although the plant may continue to visibly grow, it's health is in jeopardy, or doomed.
The next inward layer is meristem tissue, which is tissue which has not yet become "locked" into developing into any particular part of the plant. It may develop into phloem, or into xylem. If the plant is wounded exposing the meristemic tissue, and the would is kept moist and dark, root tissue will grow. Meristemic tissue is also typically located in root or young shoot growing tips, and in dormant buds.
The next inner xylem layer can be considered like veins, carrying water and "raw" nutrients up to the leaves for processing.
Plants in general, and in particular bushes and trees, do not heal themselves as we and other animals. In an animal, the blood clots and stops loss, internal antibodies circulate to fight infection, the wound heals over, and in general damaged tissue is removed.
In a woody plant, is essence everything below the meristem tissue, phloem and xylem, is already "dead". If the living tissue is damaged, chemical signals in the plant quickly tell the cells to shut off flow in/out of the damaged area, and the plant then attempts to grow new tissue to surround the damaged area. The internal blockages and new growth takes place faster than that on the exterior, which in the case of a large wound may never close.
You cut a rather large branch, several inches or more from the intersection of the branch with the main trunk. The tree isolates the branch, which cannot then seal-off the wound. The trunk attempts to cut-off the branch completely, starting from inside the trunk where the original "bud" from which the branch grew. This leaves a large "wound" in the trunk, susceptible to invasion, infection, rot. Had the same branch been cut close to the trunk, the tree would have a chance of growing bark over the wound.
Man is an omnivore Edit
Chickens can reach maturity in around 10 weeks, with a death rate from 3-18%. Raised for meat 2 kg of feed becomes 1 kg of live weight. The Leghorn has egg production up to 300 eggs per year but not meat. Varieties such as Dominique and Australorp for meat and eggs produce up to 170 eggs per year.
One egg provides 74 calories, 6.29 grams of protein, and 4.97 grams of fat. One 3 ounce serving of chicken provides 183 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fat. Assume each person eats two eggs per day and a 3-ounce servings of chicken meat per day. Maintained for eggs, Dominique requires around 4 layers per person, or 43 chickens for each of the 10 person homesteads in this plan. To slaughter one per week you need 10 more growing, or in total taking into account the worst mortality rate around 65 birds.
Assume six square feet of space per bird, your chicken run is around 390 square feet, let's say 20 foot on a side if all one level (it can of course be multi-level). You are going to want good ventilation to avoid a concentration of ammonia from the manure. Your chickens are NOT going to be trained to use a composting toilet, so you need a mesh floor where the manure drops onto appropriate absorption compost material. One chicken layer generates an estimated 40 lbs of waste annually, primarily phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Something to immediately capture and divert chicken waste would be useful. (Thoughts anyone?) Ammonia is a colorless irritant gas produced by the microbial breakdown of nitrogen, is prominent in poultry manure. We're looking at a chicken run potentially being on every urban family lot. Chickens need three times more air volume than humans per kilogram of body weight to meet their specific oxygen requirements.
Expect to need at least 2.5 gallons of H2O per day, examine the Lubing 2 Nipple Aqua to provide constant water, avoiding the spills and disease of bowls and troughs. The chickens will have greater growth if low level light is maintained, aim for 16 hours of lighting per day. The optimal temperature for high productivity and best health for laying hens is between 15 and 30 ° C (59-86° F), humidity to keep dust down and provide cooling can come from a misting system, for high-tech see the Top Climate System.