Choosing Chickens - #SolutionsWatch

04/14/202153 Comments

Today on #SolutionsWatch James talks to Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast about how to choose the best chicken breed for your back yard or homestead and what such a seemingly simple choice can teach us about the principles of permaculture.

Watch on Archive / BitChute / Minds / Odysee / YouTube or Download the mp4


The Survival Podcast

Episode-2817- Choosing Chicken Breeds Based on Homestead Goals and Intrinsic Characteristics

Jack Spirko on Odysee

Jack's Permaculture Recommendations:

Discover Permaculture with Geoff Lawton 

What is Permaculture? By Bill Mollison, David Holmgren

Grassed Life with Darby Simpson

Greg Judy Regenerative Rancher

The Lunatic Farmer - Joel Salatin

Forest Agriculture Nursery - Mark Shepard

Rob Bob's Aquaponics & Backyard Farm

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  1. bob387 says:

    Had an urban garden, but stopped it because my next-door neighbour was heavy into glyphosate spraying, with the drift that goes with it, and the guy across the back alley (higher up the hill) used the stuff railroads use for weed control along his back fence, which washed down onto my garden. They both had beautiful gardens. Both got cancer and died. I decided to let nature have its way, with minimal mowing and pruning. It produced raspberries and chokecherries all on its own. Big hit with the birds.

    It struck me when Jack said planting was like growing money. That thought crashed right into one of my many unexamined assumptions: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” (that must have been started by a banker)

  2. It sure is depressing to watch members of an herbivorous species, that has mastered plant agriculture & food preservation in ten thousand different ways, still talking about the best ways to murder, butcher & consume other animals who’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

    It’s the sort of thing that sometimes makes me wonder if we should just let the technocrats take over the world, or let them have a shot at re-engineering humanity.

    This was a good interview overall though.
    Wide range of interesting and valuable information packed into 40 minutes.
    Like Jack said, if you’re considering moving off grid (why wouldn’t you be?) just get started now. Start growing whatever you can in whatever space you have, with whatever free time you have. Start building the skills now.

    • cu.h.j says:

      But aren’t humans omnivors? Eating meat is part of our evolutionary history. Some individuals benefit from meat in their diet, in my opinion. I’ve tried to be vegan and I had nutritional deficiencies including thyroid problems from soy consumption.

      If animals, like chickens are raised with care and are killed in a painless way to feed another animal, make the person or animal who consumes the mean undeserving?

      I give back to my community in many ways and I eat meat and don’t feel undeserving. I try to avoid factory farmed meat. I don’t eat beef, but do consume chicken and fish now.

      I also feed my dog meat and she is deserving. She has a right to live too.

      I appreciate your perspective and it’s good to look at ethical considerations of meat eating since it does come from another life form.

    • Duck says:

      “.. murder, butcher & consume other animals who’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve it…”

      Chickens would totally eat you if they were big enough 🙂 Its them or us Lol

      More seriously Humans are not herbivores.. if they were then vegans would not need supplements to avoid B vitamin deficiencies. Humans lack the digestive system that herbivores have to break down fibrous plant matter

    • black sheep says:

      Way I understand it is 95% of plants we can not eat 95% of animals we can… seems to me we have evolved as carnivores.
      But I will go with oprtunistic omnivores.

    • bob387 says:

      To AnimalsArentFood
      A book you might enjoy: Thus Spoke the Plant, by Monica Gagliano. It argues for sentience.I once heard a radio interview of an old couple from the UK. They had a type of plant that could be cut at the root to make 2 new plants. It was always a rather difficult job, until they discovered this: they spoke to the plant the day before, explaining what they had planned, using their hands to show where they would be cutting, and asking it to prepare itself. The next day they usually found that the top part of the plant had actually separated where the cut had been indicated, and the cutting was very much easier and much less traumatic to the plant. They were convinced that plants were sentient.
      I had, at that point, already read The Secret Life of Plants (involving experiments with a lie-detector type setup and astonishing results). I have had my own, less-than-rigorous, confirmation of this phenomenon.
      Bringing this into our current political global situation of ruthless dominance and conformity, I have a feeling that plants might inform us that this is what a lawn-mowing feels like.

      • Duck says:

        Arrogant worms, “Carrot juice is murder”
        Song starts at about 52 seconds

        • bob387 says:

          Dear Duck,
          The Arrogant Worm video was germane and succinct, not to mention hilarious! 🙂 I’ve never solved the predatory/exploitative quagmire which is our planet. Until now. It came to me as I was regaining consciousness from a high glucose-fructose reverie. E. Coli can be genetically altered to excrete all sorts of things from rug fibres to jet fuel. Why not farm E. Coli (and other races of bacteria in equitable ratios) to expel fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates? Minimally Exploitative Engineered Food. MEEF.
          Eat MEEF, not Beef.
          I’ll start making the signs.

          • Duck says:

            ‘..Why not farm E. Coli (and other races of bacteria in equitable ratios) to expel fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates..’

            I would suspect that it would be unwise.. kinda like I would not want to live only on edible algy. Just off the top of my head I worry about how much genetic material you would be eating vs animal cells… having it as a main diet might have suprises

            • bob387 says:

              Wouldn’t use algae because you would have to break up the algae itself to extract the product (messy). Better with E. Coli, (maybe cyanobacteria?) which would actually poop out the desired product, separate from the bacterium entirely. (and no DNA in fatty accids, proteins, or carbs) The problem of getting foodstock for the bacteria without harmfully exploiting any other lifeform is solved by genetically modifying the bacteria to digest a type of cellulose rather than sugar. I read about this in a fascinating book by George Church, called Regenesis. I didn’t appreciate the brilliance of it (in the context of the sentient predator/prey matrix) until today.

      • HomeRemedySupply says:

        bob387 says:
        “I had, at that point, already read The Secret Life of Plants (involving experiments with a lie-detector type setup and astonishing results). I have had my own, less-than-rigorous, confirmation of this phenomenon.”

        Back around 1978, I had my hands on someone’s micro-ohmmeter that measures small differences in electrical resistance. Really, I was (and still am) very uneducated about its technicalities and the subject of electricity in general.
        However, I had remembered a previous article in Readers Digest from years prior. The story was about a guy who did experiments with plants and measuring the plants’ response with a sensitive meter.

        I arranged some potted plants around me on the carpeted floor. Then I hooked up the alligator clips to one of the plants.
        I was playing with a neighboring potted plant a few feet away from the metered set-up, and then tore off one of its leaves. “Ping”…the meter needle suddenly moved. It was as if the metered plant responded to its nearby neighbor a few feet away which just had its leaf torn.
        I tried to repeat the experiment, but couldn’t get any reaction.
        I tried tearing the leaves on the metered plant, but got no reaction.
        I tried all kinds of things, but never got anymore responses.
        The memory of that experiment stuck.

        • bob387 says:

          Thank you for sharing your experience. “The memory of that experiment stuck.” I think that, in itself, is significant.
          Chapter N of Monica’s book came to mind as I read your account. It dealt with her experiment with Mimosa Pudica, a plant that instantly closes it’s leaves and even droops the branch in response to kinetic stimulus. Like playing dead. She objectively proved that this plant learns and remembers (sans a ‘brain’). It quickly stopped reacting to the experiment’s stimulus (but not to other stimuli). If your experiment was what it appears to be, I want to let you know that your plant’s failure to further react was probably as significant as the initial reaction.
          So. My story. I had a big tree that made regular incursions on my sewer pipe, requiring regular maintenance. I had had some previous history with the tree after it had been hit by a vehicle, splitting it’s trunk open vertically. I applied some tar and it healed up. Then, one day, thinking about that old UK couple, I asked it to leave my sewer pipe alone, and thanked it for listening to me. Several years went by, and I again had the sewer guy come to unblock the pipe. The video showed the pipe was completely clear of roots. The blockage was on the main street line. I apologized to the tree, and thanked it again for helping me out.
          ps. Monica made a surprising observation. She feels that her relationship to plants is not based on empathy at all. It has to do with the notion that bark and skin are not the barriers they seem to be.

    • carvers says:

      As a vegetarian I keep chickens and geese for their valuable fertiliser and the eggs are a wonderful by product. As far as meat eating is concerned I find nothing unethical about it if you are prepared to raise the animals yourself humanely, and if your able to slaughter and prepare them for consumption yourself.
      However People who just pick up a piece of dead animal, prepacked in a shop, are anothier thing altogether. Completely distanced from their food. Do they even know what that animal looks like when alive???

  3. Sisyphean Stunt says:

    My goal was eggs, my choice was the hybrid bird used locally for egg production.

    The message here is so important and is not really about hens. It’s about making choices and acquiring skills.

    Physical skills increase your resilience, from sewing and cooking to plumbing and mechanics. Every single one of those and everywhere in-between can help your reserves go further.

    This sort of skill is undervalued by our educational system, however all are vital.

    Learn a new skill

  4. 9tH says:

    under your ‘phew’ video on Odysee, someone left this link:

    Odysee is on that list.

  5. CRM114 says:

    What sweet potato was he referring to??

  6. HomeRemedySupply says:

    I give this #SOLUTIONSWATCH ***** Five Stars
    For me, “Choosing Chickens – #SolutionsWatch” is one of my favorites!
    Fascinating and pragmatic in so many varied aspects!
    It opens the mind’s door to creating a life which works best for the individual.
    Much more than plants and animals were covered in this episode…it inculcates a mindset with clever and pragmatic approaches to building a better future.
    Thanks guys.

    Eggs …Easter Eggs
    Some of the best eggs I have ever eaten were “Easter Eggs”. No, they weren’t hardboiled painted eggs.
    Back around 2005, my job had me working about an hour away from where I lived in the rural parts of the north Texas county. Along the country road was a house with some small acreage. It had a sign “Eggs For Sale”. I rang the doorbell one day and said that I wanted some eggs. The fella brought me a few dozen and showed them to me. They varied in color from brown, blue and green with tints in-between and some hints of pink. He had a special breed of chicken which made the colored eggs. I don’t know what he fed them or how they foraged, but the yolks were a bright yellow and the taste was superb. He was telling me about how the raccoons had broken into his henhouse several times and made for a bad situation.
    During the time I was in the area, I came back for more. He used recycled grocery store egg cartons. So I would bring my empty cartons.

    • Jeff says:

      Agreed – a five stars solution watch for sure! I encourage all to view it, conversation goes well beyond chickens here.

    • pearl says:

      The shells of the araucana breeds are lovely. Among our mixed flock we have four araucana hens of different variety and their eggs are all the same pale blue-green!

      It’s amazing to me how temperament varies from breed to breed: the araucana is wary and shy, the first to see and hide from the hawk. Weeks ago, there were several hawks overhead, shrieking like a scene from Lord of the Rings (I suspect a nest had fledged since they were so vocal, accompanied by dramatic dives and swoops all around). Anyway, our chickens were terrified. Four hens were tucked beneath the one rooster! In spite of his fear, he stood ready and willing to do battle if necessary. I hung around until the hawks’ flying lessons ended.

      About farm-fresh eggs: they don’t hard-boil like store-bought eggs. Using the same method yields very soft whites which basically fall apart when peeled. Just last year I found the best solution which has worked each and every time. Never tried it for store bought eggs, but for fresh, this is the way to go!

      • pearl says:

        Just re-read the method; I’ve never taken the step to cover them with ice water. Just cool them enough to touch with regular tap water and move along!

  7. shatter says:

    Great interview!! Learned something totally new today.

  8. scpat says:

    When I look at Permaculture, I think of a high form of intelligence. Not going against the grain, but working with it. This is so wise. Great interview and I learned a lot. I am a newbie to Permaculture specifically but this philosophy and practice is extremely intriguing and something I feel I will be applying to my life now and in the future. You could probably dissect a hundred ideas that were discussed here and make each into its own #SolutionsWatch. Thank you for this interview.

  9. james.w says:

    I am no longer getting your emails.
    Also, your RSS feed service does not work for me. I don’t get the new posts, just old ones

  10. TruthSeeker says:

    I ran a Hydroponics System in my Garage for about three years with a 210 Gallon Fish Tank and a 4 x 4 foot Grow Bed. I had plans for a second Grow Bed but I shut the thing down because of Mold on the walls and ceiling. Yep, it is easier to buy or trade with others than to raise my own food.
    As a Mechanic, I can repair the Farmers Tractor, and he will be happy to feed me.
    Thus, I say “Commerce” is the key to “Civilization”.

    We would quickly run out of food if we all resorted to hunting and gathering. Perhaps with intelligent Farming we could provide for a Family on 20 Acres. That is what my ancestors got back in about 1850 when European Farmers were being recruited to the USA, and even then my Grandfather’s Grandfather had a special skill as a Thatcher whereby he not only Thatched his own land, he Thatched for other land owners. I know not what he got in return, but you can bet that it wasn’t worthless Paper or Crypto Currency.
    Indeed, the Road Ahead does not look good if we continue to ignore the basic needs of all forms of life.
    Think of it this way; “You are what you eat”, and Bill Gates was raised on junk food!

  11. lizzie says:

    This episode was so interesting, I have so much to say on this so I won’t. Spirko Can always learn more about permaculture, I relate because I could talk to infinity about farming and I really do bore people to tears.
    I have a funny chicken April Fools Day story instead.
    My young nieces would always go for the eggs out of my parents chicken coop. They liked to keep tabs on how many, it was a bit of a thing, often bringing in 2 -3 eggs, never any more than 6. One April morning they were astounded to find 16 eggs, they could not have been happier, completely missing that a dozen of them had best before date stamped clearly in red.

  12. westerncivic says:

    Greetings, Mr. Corbett… first comment as a new subscriber should cross your eyes for screening… now’s my chance! American Yellow Vest here… #SolutionsWatch #PeoplesReferenda… it there is any way to convince you to make the time…

  13. father george says:

    Being able to afford a place where you can keep chickens is living an unattainable dream in the UK. Sounds very pleasant tho.

    • J.P. Wheeler says:

      Really? You guys can’t just move out to the country and buy a couple acres? In the US land is cheaper the further you drift from the major cities.

      • father george says:

        hahaha. No. The UK is a tiny island. Everyone wants a place in the country with chickens, and the ones who can afford that picked their side a long time ago in order to get it.

  14. vadoum says:

    “The selfish ledger” an internal google doco (8mins) giving a model for info and AIlearning and overtaking human descision making

    light analysis of the above

    we are feeding the obstacle

  15. J.P. Wheeler says:

    Jack Spirko is great! Likable guy, who sells permaculture better than anyone. He’s the first one who made me think about growing a tree or raising livestock(whatever, fill in the blank) as a monetary investment! Great guy, full of great information!


  16. Tea says:

    southern Oregon farmers told they will be arrested if they use their own legally owned irrigation water by Fed agency. See video and Please share.

  17. father george says:

    I know it’s uncool to be a downer on solutions watch, but there’s also this cheerful piece from Iceage Farmer covering how they’re closing the doors on even the possibility of some sort of feudal-type medieval chicken-rearing existence outside the system, whereby all living creatures will need to be registered into livestock databases, and they could potentially drop by and gas your livestock on a whim.

  18. bob387 says:

    1,500 tree-range chickens on 1 1/2 acres of the Skeena Valley Farm. The photos say it all.

  19. Nick Sikorski says:

    Should you be interested in reaching out to permaculturists in Japan, James, there’s Permaculture Kamimomi (almost) on your doorstep: they’re up at the top of the rice paddy terraces at Kamimomi, Kumenan-cho. ALternatively, if you’re ever in the are, swing by my place Permaculture Mochizuki in Saku, Nagano.

  20. spiritofsky says:

    Nice video about chicken eugenics ?

    Reminds me of something..

  21. mpei says:

    I was thinking that a show on the co-operative movement would fit well in your Solutions watch section. Yes I know a lot of the Co-ops and credit unions have become business co-ops and like other great ideas, ..Christianity, unions they have lost there way. I think an historical looking back would reveal that they were a great solution for many communities (mine for example P.E.I. Canada) when the economy collapsed in the 1930s. I believe the key to their success was through establishing their own economic system and thus working outside the mainstream economic model.

  22. Duck says:

    When you build the coup/run you should place square pavers down as the perimeter which prevents predators digging under (its too far and they give it)
    I Would also advise that you lay on top that a layer of bricks and put the wood on top of that since wet wood rots fast even if painted or treated.
    For winter and fall My chickens love to have leaves raked into the run and burrow thru them and eat the bugs and such that live in it and it keeps them warm and entertained during the indoor season where there is not sufficient cover for them to be safe…they eat considerably less food when they can Ramage thru such stuff and it an pretty good soil after a couple of years

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