Completely Self sufficient systems

Apr 13, 2021
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702
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Australia
What are some completely self sufficient and sustainable systems we could all use. For example one is growing food in the garden to feed rabbits them using rabbits for dog an human food.

In the cycle you need food to feed things everything has to have a job to serve something else, this is how it works in nature.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,076
15,226
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Think small, scale up. I collect rainwater in the gutters on my barn, and my goat house. That water fills 275 gal poly totes (one for each), which are connected to watering cups and gravity feed livestock tank fillers, ensuring my animals always have multiple water sources, no effort by me.

Deep litter becomes compost, which is then tilled into the garden soil. Goat droppings are collected and piled around certain non-grass plants, where they are slowly watered in and decay to enrich the soil (around my grapes, mostly).

and I'm working on a biodiverse polyculture (my acres of weeds) which requires no planting/tilling efforts by me to maintain, just periodic and selective weeding. It is not, however, intended as a complete dietary replacement, simply an "enrichment" for my flock and a way to bend the feed cost curve somewhat.

Subsistance SUCKS. Modern society exists due to specialization, and has advanced in large part due to the improvement of transit systems (and, eventually, refrigeration) - you can't do that at home, the scale doesn't exist for it.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,262
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Belding, MI
Think small, scale up.
Exactly.

What can I grow/produce/harvest? Gardening, hunting, raising animals, collecting rainwater, fishing, cutting firewood...

What do I have to buy? Frankly, I can't see not buying stuff like olive oil, or salt, or toilet paper. And I still have to pay property taxes and maintain a vehicle, among other things.

What can I live without? Frankly, I can give up a lot of stuff. If I have to.

And a big one: How hard am I willing to work on all of this? This is WAY more work than having a job and buying what you need. Am I able to do all that work?

If you are ever in the position to have to live this way, putting thought and experience into beforehand will be very beneficial.
 

Florida Bullfrog

Songster
May 14, 2019
674
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North Florida
Which works well in areas with an ecology capable of supporting feral chickens with chicken breeds that are good foragers. :D

Not so much in my area, where the ecology is considered "impoverished" since the lousy soil causes a lack of species diversity.
I wholeheartedly agree, success of keeping livestock with minimal human upkeep is habitat-specific and dependent. That may mean a person’s self-sufficient farming plan may be founded upon choosing a location or property that makes self-sufficient farming possible. A person has to do one of two things, either tailor their land selection to the farming they want to do or tailor their farming to the land that they have. And also be realistic that not all properties suit themselves for any sort of self-sufficient farming.
 

saysfaa

Crowing
Jul 1, 2017
1,201
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Upper Midwest, USA
Accommodating pollinators is a good place to start. Honey bees are hard but planting a bit of bee pasture to fill in pollen dearths, setting out some water with pebbles sticking out, setting out some housing is easy.

Discouraging invasive species or at least not transporting them makes a huge difference.

A garden (pots or part of landscaping make a good start) and chickens next. And/or properly storing food or at least using food in more basic forms.

The 80/20 rule applies. The 80/20 rule applies to the 80% and to the 20% too.
 

tmarsh83

Songster
6 Years
Oct 16, 2015
558
253
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NEIN
Several years ago, i started keeping garden pigs.

We always had a garden. Anyone that has kept a garden knows that more of it doesn't get used than does. I think that usually applies to the fruits of our labor, but the sheer tonnage of crops versus what ends up in a pan or a can is huge. So here was my plan.

Raise feeder pigs to coincide with the rise and fall of the annual garden. I get the pigs a bit later than the pigs that go to the county fair, and my target butcher date is about this time of year, roughly a month after our garden has completely exhausted itself.

In the course of the growing season any produce that doesn't work for my table or storage, goes to the swine. Then, as the garden phases out, i use electric net fencing to give them access to portions of the garden, turning the soil as they go.

By the time the year is over, they've completely turned my garden over. Weeds have been decimated. Fertilizer spread. And with the days that are left, it's too cold for grass or weeds to establish themselves. The garden is more ready for spring every passing year.

It's not a perfect system, but for semi-pastured pork i'm getting feed conversions just over 4. Commercial operations shoot for about 3.5.

I'll take that....
 

My Bagurks

Songster
Sep 3, 2020
111
293
116
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
I had a piece of land that’s I was eyeing up for a garden for a number of years. Dug it in a few spots and found horrible hard clay. Didn’t drain, hard as a rock, and nothing but crab grass survived.
i saved all the coop bedding for a few months and just piled it up off to the side.
I fenced off about a 20x75ft section and spread the pile of bedding and few bales of hay over the whole thing in the fall.
I let that sit. Then in the early spring I had a neighbor come and disk the whole section, breaking everything up and mixing in what I added.
When it came time to plant, I bought 2 yards of local compost. I’d break up the ground in a spot or a row, mound up compost on top and put my plants/seeds down. The bottom of the transplant would actually be on top of the original dirt.
i mulched with grass and leaves from my property in between the mounds and around the plants. What I ended up with was an amazingly fertile area that produced more than I could have expected. Tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, squash, sunflowers, cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, onion, and several herbs.
I only did annuals to start and when the growing season was done, I ran it all over with the mower and left it all there.
the following year, I couldn’t believe how well my plants did.
Took some work and the first year was just to add biomass to the soil, but oh man is it a healthy patch now. I can stick my hand 6 inches into the dirt where before it all, I’d fight a shovel to get 2 inches down.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,193
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
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Chickens/compost/garden is a good start. Keep the nutrients cycling and keep them hyper-local.
That's where I'm at. Chickens make poop, poop makes compost (along with other garden waste), compost goes into garden and makes veggies, chickens get veggie leftovers and make more poop. 100% of my run litter and about 75% of my coop bedding are sourced from our yard, so free litter for me and saves on having to pay for it to be hauled away in the city compost bin.

We keep talking about getting goats to control all the bramble in the front half of the property, but haven't taken the leap yet (gotta get the old shed redone first).
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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Shudder.

Raised beds.

The problem with raised beds in the south in general is excessive heat.

The problem with raised beds in my specific area is excessive heat plus ridiculously excessive drainage. This means watering two or even three times a day.

I'm experimenting with wicking beds but the volume available for the roots is limited so I'm having no luck with tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.

bit back in the ol days there was none of that... so what did they feed the chooks just scraps? Something more? What was ol day chook food.

When you look back -- I forget if that link you've been given includes my link to the download for the 1921 poultry science book or not -- you need to remember that not only is a modern, backyard chicken-keeping situation NOT a diversified farm where the chickens can forage from other animals' spilled feed and the bugs in the manure but that modern chickens are NOT old-time chickens.

That book I mentioned is the latest poultry science of the day. It's aimed at making chickens a serious, profitable part of the farm by improving productivity to get 100 eggs per hen per year ...

From LEGHORNS!

The Brahma in my avatar did better than that and she's the worst layer in my flock.
 
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3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
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Jul 10, 2009
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My self-sufficient chicken setup:

Open coop door. Leave open forever. Chickens fend for themselves.

Which works well in areas with an ecology capable of supporting feral chickens with chicken breeds that are good foragers. :D

Not so much in my area, where the ecology is considered "impoverished" since the lousy soil causes a lack of species diversity.
 

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