Apartment homesteading?

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white belt
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 12:24 pm
i treat my bathroom as a clean room. yes, crap goes down the pipes etc, but ideally this the room where i go in dirty and come out clean and refreshed. being that i keep my first aid kit there i can also go in to treat a wound or burn or whatever.

for me it's not a matter of mere appearances or people's opinions (my life is mine) but of biohazard and useful compartamentalization of spaces. same as not eating on the bed or keeping paint thinner in the refrigerator, i'd rather have independent modules and prevent clutter.

i think it might be easier to social-engineer landlord acquiesence to quail cage and thermoregulation & pest control of outdoor cages, than it is to rig sanitary bathroom cage controls etc.

shape of backyard sounds great and sufficient and you could have more birds. racoons could be a problem (they are for chickens) but something like an electric rabbit fence might keep them away. light is the same as indoors? not saying "do this"--just a thought.

roof terraces could also be an option as demonstrated new york pigeon breeders.
Right but things get a bit more complicated in very small spaces that must be multipurpose. For example, my refrigerator is located right next to my bathroom door, my stove is next to that, my microgreen/worm shelf is also to the left of the bathroom door. My bed is less than 8ft from my kitchen. It’s a 300 sqft studio, so by definition every space is multifunctional.

I do wonder about the biohazard of keeping healthy birds in a bathroom vs a litter box, bird cage, or those puppy pads in a living space, all of which I have seen commonly in apartments. This is a genuine question, as most of the research I’ve seen is specific to chickens or indoor birds and doesn’t really seem to go beyond the basic, “clean the cage regularly and wash your hands before/after handling.” I know there are disease risks when living in close contact with animals, but how would my indoor setup risk compare to say, a pet with trace feces on their paws sleeping in bed with owners and climbing over every surface in the house?

Alphaville
Posts: 2432
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

yeah i live in a studio too (it's bigger--but for 2 people!) so i hear you there. but while spaces are adjacent, we try to keep some functional separation.

e.g, we have a cooking day and a laundry day, and they're different days so that the clothes don't stink of onions, for example. we also work here! 2 people. but we don't bring office stuff to the bed. reading ok though.

we don't keep a pet here for that reason--no place to get away from the shitbox. had a friend who i think went nuts, we went to visit him once, he had 5 cats in a 2br apartment, and everywhere it reeked of piss. he got accustomed to it i think.

also i started looking at quail cages and sez they need a "dust bath." bird dust on the towels, on toothbrushes, that sort of thing... idk. but ymmv.

this one mentions the dust baths https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/the ... uail-easy/

if you have extra bathroom space, a nice big fern might work better to help oxygenate when the windows are locked, or some of those nasa plants that clean the air or something. (i edited in some note about plants that are not in your quote).

a living space needs room for rest and recreation, and for us the bathroom is that. and yeah we take long showers and play music and chill there. then again ofc everyone lives differently. we like a fun bathroom. check this movie: https://vimeo.com/327649857

anyway, when we had an indoor cat in the cabin or in bigger apartments or house than this one, we trained him to stay clear of the kitchen. true story. cuz i want no shitty paws on my food counter--disgusting. that was a great cat.

white belt
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Yeah I don’t think I could do this space with 2 people, especially since I’ve been working from home exclusively so I’m here all day. I agree about having some functional separation, since I have a dining room, office, bedroom, kitchen, closet, and bathroom area (even if they are all in one room). No washing machine in here so I go to a friend’s house for that. With my vent fan and bathroom fan going I actually don’t have issues with cooking odors soaking into things, but I also don’t cook super aromatic foods very often.

I feel like I may not be describing my bathroom space very well, but basically this large cabinet is located in its own little cubby that is separated from the shower and quite far away from the sink and toilet. But if my dust mitigation strategies don’t work then you may be right in the end. I will post a log of my setup if I end up doing it.

Dust baths are important to reduce stress and parasites. Basically the quail can’t regulate body temperature very well if they get wet, so they only clean themselves with dust baths. I’d opt for giving it to them once a week (along with some sprouts or fodder), as per the recommendation of a YouTuber who has a very successful small scale commercial operation. The downside with having the dust bath in there 24/7 is that the birds will poop in it and lay eggs in it too, which means it would require much more frequent cleaning and reaching into the cage to harvest eggs.

My understanding is that the filtering power of indoor plants is way overblown because that NASA study doesn’t translate to real spaces: https://www.sciencealert.com/sorry-your ... ny-cleaner

I will still have some small plants around the cage to give the quail a more natural setting and also take advantage of the wide spectrum bulb that will be on 14 hours a day to ensure consistent laying. Maybe there is a way to use that same light to grow some food for them to eat.

Alphaville
Posts: 2432
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

yeah, we do the shared space with the helps of headphones, one being a noise cancelling type :lol:

and i know that the nasa thing is only for space, but in winter we keep windows tight, so why not. ofc i'd rather have fresh air all day, but sometimes it's not possible to open windows. so if i will have plants then a little benefit is better than mere room decor. plus houseplants just look and feel great.

anyway, so, this cabinet, it's like a towel closet or something ? i had a cabinet like that once. we actually tried having the catbox at the bottom but it didn't work out.

anyway i feel i need to explain that i can't be right or wrong, as this is not a decision that would apply to me, so i would not be able to judge success or failure on someone else's terms.

and i'm not trying to be "right" in the sense that this is not a debate or something. i'm only interested in exploring ideas. so there are certain limits i'm familiar with, and some of them may apply here, so i thought since we help each other out with projects, i'd mention some potential hurdles. but this is your experiment not mine, so i look forward to learning from it same as everyone.

i did read the bit about quail raised indoor in japan, but afaik japan doesn't have a tradition of central air in homes--their spaces are more open, so people heat up under tables etc. ive read of people using kerosene heaters which would kill you in a usa home. anyway, i'd check that to see how it's applied in their context.

the other thing i saw was how you just need 1sqft per quail, and how a mature quail lays 1 egg a day, so the obvious question to ask is how many eggs do you need per day, as quail eggs are tiny, which tells you how many birds you need. plus space plus food storage plus cleaning area plus plus plus.

another thing i read is cages need daily cleaning? which carting cages from bathroom to outdoor might be a chore.

so, assuming an imperfect record of 6 eggs per week 1 sqft + overhead + labor gives you about 1 chicken egg equivalent per week? chicken egg costs about 10c at the store for regular, 50c for the hippiest most organic egg laid by druid hens.

i know not everything is money, but calculations are helpful.

maybe the way to learn is to get started with bird as pets and scale up if successful?

im thinking eating 2 chicken eggs equivalent a day would require about 12 laying quails or 12sqft just for moving about, not counting support structure. so starting with say 2 or 3 "pet" quails might give you an idea of this is doable.

Alphaville
Posts: 2432
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

To Make a Building Healthier, Stop Sanitizing Everything
Improve the ventilation, even spread some good germs. If you want people to be healthy and productive, tend the microbiome.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... re-viruses

white belt
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Lifetime Yield (per bird)
• 290 quail eggs = 72 chicken eggs = 6 dozen chicken eggs = $18 (valued at $3 per dozen eggs)
• Meat = $3 (this is an arbitrary personal valuation, market value is closer to $5 per bird, but I’m not usually buying quail)
• Poultry Manure (one bird’s share over lifetime) = 5 gallon/25 lb (monthly bucket produced by all birds) /12 *10 = $4
• Total = $25

Profit (per bird)
• $5 food savings
• $5 fertilizer savings*

Other benefits
• Learn animal husbandry skills
• Close loop on fertilizer and part of my food chain
• Self-sufficiency/resiliency
• No packaging for store purchased chicken eggs
• No emissions to transport eggs to store

*Assumes I have productive use for manure or sell it on Craigslist.

If don’t factor in my labor, I make about $10 per bird. If I do factor in labor paying myself minimum wage, then I’m losing $1.70 over the lifetime per bird. Live Feed Conversation Ratio is similar to factory farmed chicken eggs.

Keep in mind I’m designing my system intelligently to require minimal labor and we’re talking about 30 min of weekly work in my own house.
Note that this is the simplest and least optimized iteration of the system. Likely over time I would figure out ways to reduce costs or improve efficiency by hatching my own birds, harvesting more males for meat, selling off some live birds, etc. I also factored in costs for water/electricity even though it’s usually included in my rent.

Stocking density can go as high as 4 quail per sq ft without any issues, especially since laying hens require less space than mixed groups that are mating. Daily cleaning is not required for cages with a wire bottom. I anticipate weekly labor of 20 min with a wire bottom setup of an automatic waterer and feeder.

I think I'll end up doing it in my friend's garage at the moment, so that will result in me not having to do much other than make the cage and eat the eggs. Win win.

Alphaville
Posts: 2432
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

@wb

garage ftw.

i'm eager to read updates on this.

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