Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Small-Scale Livestock Farming

Small-scale livestock farmingSmall-Scale Livestock Farming by Carol Ekarius contains some handy tidbits, but I don't really recommend the book for backyard hobbyists.  While Ekarius takes a holistic approach, she focuses more page-space on making a living than on understanding the pasture ecosystem, so you'll have to do a lot of skimming to find the gems.

I was also turned off by the way the book was written at a sixth-grade level.  Not only are the sentences short and choppy, the whole thing reads like a textbook, rather than like an inspiring and excited rendition of the author's own experience.  In addition, Ekarius includes a lot of basic information, and some of it's just plain wrong.  For example: "The beneficial bacteria are known as saprophytes, and include bacteria that regularly live in the digestive tract."  Um, no.  Saprophytes are fungi that live on decomposing organic matter; that's not a general term for beneficial bacteria.

On the other hand, if you want to start up a farming business raising pastured cows for meat, this book will probably come in handy.  I could also see it being useful for high-school-agriculture classes or clubs.  And the top-notch tables will keep Small-Scale Livestock Farming on my shelf for a while, so all is not lost.  Stay tuned for the eye-openers I teased out of the book in later posts.

Our chicken waterer is perfect for pastured operations since it never spills on uneven terrain or fills with mud.

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