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Logman
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Post by Logman »

I moved to Japan in 1998 and live in western Miyazaki right on the Kagoshima border. Over the past few years, I've been getting into agriculture with my father-in-law. He recently retired and bought some fields. We have a one-acre hatake on which I built a large chicken coop and run. I fenced off half the hatake so the chickens can free-range. We have 29 hens and one lucky rooster. One of the hens got broody a few months back and we just let her get on with it. So we now have 4 chicks added to the flock. Looks like 2 are male so we will have to deal with that issue at some point in the future.

As it turned out, the rice fields my father-in-law bought were too far for the little tractor he also bought. It only clocks about 5mph on the road. It's also not large enough to plough the fields when they are flooded. So I decided to buy a few tambo near us plus the 3 machines you need to plant, cut and thresh. I also got a deal on a broken tractor (well, it was free). I spent 100,000 yen to fix that and we were up and running. Last year we did 2.5 tanbu and got about 60 sacks of rice. I acquired a few more fields and we have 5 in total now totaling over 5 tanbu. So we'll be looking to sell 60 sacks of rice to friends and the local community. I think it should be doable.

Up at the hatake I've been growing all the standard stuff you'll find in a Japanese hatake. Each year's results are better than the last with still a lot to learn.

Oh, I also grew winter wheat for the first time this past winter, on another hatake field my FIL had. Didn't get as much as I thought but might try again. The chickens love the wheat berries. I have a few hundred edamame plants up there right now which I will use for seed stack next year. I went deep into DIY chicken feed last year and came up with a recipe with stuff I can grow that checks all the boxes. Won't be able to grow 100% of what I need (1200kg approx), but could probably get half.

8-)

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Zasso Nouka
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hi Logman and welcome to the forum. We really do appreciate you taking the time to sign up and join our little community.

Sounds like you are getting fully into farming with what you have there, nice :thumbup:

As for what to do with your two male chicks, might I suggest your current male becomes the guest of honour at your thanksgiving or Christmas dinner :lol:, that's what we did with or male chickens. We found that male chickens can sometimes get a bit aggressive after their first year and they would actually attack Mrs Nouka when she went into the chicken run to feed them.

Are you doing till or no-till on your hatake ? We've recently gone over to no-till but am not anti till if that works for you, we've just found in our situation no-till works well for us.

Making your own chicken feed certainly seems like a good idea right now given the rapid increases in price store bought feed seems to be going through and you also know exactly where all the ingredients come from and don't have to worry about using GMO's.

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Logman
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Post by Logman »

Our resident rooster is pretty aggressive and will attack sometimes if you get too close. He hasn't gone for me in quite a while as I know his boundaries pretty well. I'm happy with having an aggro rooster though as he's super protective and will go for any threats. I don't know which roosters will end up in the oven but 2 of them will end up there.

I till our land as I have a gas-powered cultivator.

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Your experience could well be different but for us roosters never really helped much with protection. Most hawks can dispatch them fairly quickly and easily, although they do provide the ladies with a chance to hide while they are being eaten. Raccoons and hakubishin generally attack at night when chickens lack of night vision limits a roosters effectiveness and large dogs or hunting dogs don't seem to have any problem either.

We now only have hens because that means Mrs Nouka can get in there and feed the chickens as well.

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Logman
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Post by Logman »

We only free-range the chickens when we are at the hatake. And we don't have that many predators apart from a few stray cats and hawks. The cats could probably get in under the net fencing in a few places but the rooster scares them off by charging the fence when they turn up. So far the hawks have stayed away. At night the chickens are safely tucked away in their run. We haven't lost one in the 18 months we've had them (touch wood).

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hawks are mostly a problem in the winter and spring when there is less 'easy' food around for them to catch, even for a Goshawk a chicken is a fairly large catch. Sashiba are migratory and if you are lucky enough not to be on their route you won't ever get bothered by them. Ootaka (Goshawks) tend to live in the mountains during the summer and spend the winter in slightly warmer locales within Japan but don't migrate huge distances.

Both are quite beautiful birds and we often get one or two caught in the netting covering our chicken run during the spring after eating a chicken. Luckily we have a qualified falconer nearby who runs a sanctuary and he takes them to be released far far away once he has checked them for any injuries. One thing I learned is always to wear very thick chainsaw gloves when getting them out of the chicken run, their claws are very long and incredibly sharp and can punch right through your hand and out the other side.

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Logman
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Post by Logman »

We have plenty of hawks buzzing around. I don't really know much about them but I guess they are Black Kites, not true hawks as I understand it. I believe a chicken is too big for these birds. They usually prey on rodents, frogs, etc. And carrion I guess. I wouldn't be surprised if there were the odd mountain hawk or goshawk around but it's the common Black Kite I see everywhere around here.