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Other Poultry in the backyard, Quail, Guinea Fowl, Ducks

Intro

RB: Hello, I’m co-host Rich Bowden, welcome to season 3 episode 2 of RegenEarth. Spring’s hit here. The wattles are out and now’s the time to think of what to plant for the warmer months ahead. Here in the cold climate it’s knowing how to stay one step ahead of the frost.

Last month we covered how you can incorporate chickens into your regen/organic backyard and how indeed they can form the apex of the growing system. It was a fascinating episode in which we heard from co-host Jon Moore about all things chooky and this week we want to continue on other poultry in the backyard setting. I encourage you to pop into the feed and listen to season 3 ep 1 if you haven’t already.

Speaking of Jon, here is my co-host, friend, podcaster, farmer and author and now grandfather! Great news! Yes, since the last show Jon’s become a grandfather for the first time. Hello Jon, welcome and congratulations. 

JM: Hello one and all. Yes, quite a milestone. The genes are secure!

RB: Betcha can’t wait for the pandemic travel restrictions to be lifted so you can introduce the young one to the farm!

JM: That’ll happen when it does. We are in a “Hurry up and wait.” situation so there’s facetime and such.

RB: Also congrats to your daughter and son-in-law. OK. Just to go through our goals. Quite simply, we aim at advice for those creating a regenerative lifestyle, in a backyard setting for ordinary folk like you and me. We want to show what you can do to improve your diet, boost your health and to be less reliant on chemical-laden food by growing your own organic food. Each show will be angled towards how you can carry out this project, in a small backyard. 

So this month we’re looking at some poultry alternatives for the backyard. And as Jon will discuss, we’ll cover how chooks or some other form of poultry could be the regenerative cornerstone species for your backyard gardens. Yes, it’s very possible. Jon, what are the species we’re talking about today?

JM: 

  • Looking at three different species
    • Quail – small and with challenges
  • Guinea fowl 
    • Lots of meat – some peculiarities
  • Ducks
    • Closest to chooks but very different too.

RB: You’ve been getting some wonderful duck eggs at the moment Jon, as you’ve been showing us on social media. Can you tell listeners unfamiliar with them how they taste?

JM: 

  • Same as free range chooks.
  • More yolk to albumen

RB: And how do they go for cooking? I hear they’re excellent for cakes.

JM: 

  • Haven’t gotten that far yet.
  • They’re supposed to be perfect for sponges so we’ll see
  • I still amazed at how they sit up on the plate when they’re poached

RB: Would ducks work for those of us with small backyards? The standard quarter acre block?

JM: 

  • Maybe 3 or 4
  • Drake may not be necessary
  • Ducks might get around the no rooster rule
  • Snails
  • Mini pastures
  • Big flat feet
  • Manures
  • A regenerative rotation 

RB: [The Bill Mollison quote about you don’t have a snail problem, you have a duck deficiency]

RB: What about quail and guinea fowl?

JM:

  • Quail
    • Productive
      • 200 eggs/year
    • Problematic
      • Space
      • Mating
      • Vigorous 
    • Delicious
    • Housing
    • Maybe in a small greenhouse???
      • As another layer of biodiversity
  • Guinea Fowl
    • 1/4 acre = half a dozen
    • Small orchard
    • Homing
    • Wanderers
    • 100 eggs
    • Bugs, in particular ticks

RB: We spoke last month of the advantages of using chicken tractors. Would these work with the other types of poultry?

JM: 

  • I think the ducks
  • The quail not so much unless caged
  • Guinea fowl are more for looser controls

RB: OK thanks Jon. We spoke last month of the toughness of chooks and their ideal temperament for the regen backyard. Just wondering if guinea fowl, ducks and quail share the same ease of keeping. Do they have any special needs?

JM: 

  • Ducks 
    • need some sort of water
    • Wetter climate
  • Guinea fowl need space
  • Quail
    • Any weakness
      • Very unpleasant
    • FAO publications but mostly of a battery nature

Finish

RB:  Great advice again Jon. Thanks again for taking the time to drop into the show. Next month we’ll be looking at practical advice for people who are changing the way they live, trying to introduce more organic food into their household but need to save money in the process. 

In the meantime catch up on Jon’s organic podcast at WON (link in show notes).

JM: Think about a bit more biodiversity in your garden/mini farm. Other species of poultry may be a way to introduce a little bit more. And don’t forget you can grab the No-Dig Gardening eBook at worldorganicnews.com

RB: OK Bye for now…

JM: Bye.

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