Tag Archives: natural farming

Chicks 4 Days Old

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Wild chicks first venturing out of the nest will be following mama around eating bugs, grass & herb tips, fallen fruits, bulbs & tubers, worms, whatever they happen to find. Chicks this age should be getting a gnarly wild diet while the gut is developing so that they develop a full healthy gut. This is Natural Farming. How does Nature do it? That should be the whole of the discussion but let me illustrate my point with a story.


Chicks raised on commercial feed (grain) grow much shorter underdeveloped digestive tract. That means they have poor digestion no matter what you feed them. I have seen young roosters starve to death literally sitting on top of a pile of unlimited food. They had been fed a diet of commercial feed their entire life. They were unable to digest the real, whole food at their feet. I see commercial grain as the same thing as feeding a fast food diet.


Master Cho talks about feeding chicks brown rice and chopped bamboo leaves the first 3 days of life. When I was in Hawaii and ordered chicks, they were sent by air and were 3 days old when I got them. If I fed chicks that were more than 3 days old bamboo and brown rice most of them died.


A chick gets three days of nutrition supplied by the nutrients in the egg yolk. That is how they can ship chick from the Mainland to Hawaii without needing to feed them. They can survive the first 3 days without food. If their gut is primed with wild food, in Master Cho’s case hard to digest whole rice & bamboo leaves, then it primes the gut system that life is hard and the chick grows a full healthy gut system, able to digest almost anything edible. Later in life if that is the only food available they will be fine because they have developed a gut that can digest that kind of food.


The same thing happens with plants. If you plant a seedling in soft fluffy soil with all the nutrients it needs, it doesn’t need to develop a strong healthy root system. Why bother to spend effort and resources when life is easy?


Master Cho says he puts an uncooked brown rice grain in a newborn’s mouth every day. Why does he do that? A newborn can only digest mothers milk, not whole grains. He does it to prime the growing baby’s body that this world will be full of rice and you need to grow to be able to digest the food that you will be eating, and here, for you, it’s rice.


That is the purpose of feeding brown rice and bamboo to chicks from day 1-3. Life is hard. Get ready. On day 4, after they have depleted the nutrition of the yolk, they need nutritious feed, as they would naturally find in Nature as mentioned above.


Many KNF sources suggest 30% commercial grain feed. That is like saying that you feed your children good healthy organic food, except that you let them have McDonalds for one meal every day. How healthy are your kids going to be? How healthy are your chickens going to be? A lot depends on what you feed them early in life. It seems to be a better choice to develop a gut that can fully and properly digest food, rather than spend labor and resources to make food more digestible for chickens. Try to feed them a diet that is as natural as possible. Let your chicks grow a natural, healthy gut. What are you going to feed them? Watch newly hatched chicks that can freely roam. What are they eating? Nature has the answers.

ARE YOUR PLANTS FAT?

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ARE YOUR PLANTS FAT?

Master Cho likes to compare plants and plant growth to humans. For one thing it makes it easy to understand. He is known for saying “Don’t make your plants fat.” What does he mean?

Nitrogen is given to plants to encourage growth. It gives them a dark green color and great growth. Then we wonder how to get rid of the bugs. We like to give plants nitrogen because we like to nice green color and the fast growth, but it turns out too much nitrogen makes plants, in Master Chos words, ‘fat’. And just like humans, plants that are fat are not healthy.

A ‘fat’ plant will bring in bugs, aphids, scale, white fly, beetles, sucking and chewing insects that come calling because they detect a sick plant. The chemical companies have convinced us that the darker the green the better. We can see results and think the chemicals are working. Then the pests come in and the chemical companies can then sell us all kinds of more chemicals to kill the pests. They tell us that nutrient deficiencies make plants unhealthy so we buy more fertilizers. But these plants are already over-fed! They make a lot of money and we think we don’t have a green thumb.IMG_20170314_192158

In this picture are two roselle plants. The one on the right is healthy and properly fed. The one on the left was given some nitrogen (organic fish fertilizer) and is sick, weak, and full of chewing and sucking insects. Notice there are no chew marks on the healthy plant. These two plants were spaced about an arms-length apart so it wasn’t because the pests did not find the healthy plant. Soon after this picture was taken the sick plant was dead. The one on the right received no fertilizer and continued to grow and produce.

Keep  in mind that nature is perfectly capable of fixing nitrogen and getting it to plants. Look at a lush green forest or other natural landscape. It grows perfectly even though no one is going through the forest with fertilizer. How? The air all around us is 78% nitrogen. There is no shortage of nitrogen. You don’t really need to even be concerned with nitrogen fixing plants, usually legumes. If you have proper microbial ecology in your soil the nitrogen will get fixed and your plants will uptake what they need. Microbial ecology is the key.

This is a major difference between Master Cho Korean Natural Farming SYSTEM (KNF) and other methods of growing plants, even organically. KNF is a system approach that relies on two components.

  1. Soil Foundation: Make sure your soil has high levels of ecologically balanced microbes, a healthy and alive soil.
  2. Nutritive Cycle: Give plants inputs that encourage the plants life cycle stage. The focus is not on NPK, trace minerals etc. That comes from having vibrant healthy soil. KNF inputs are not used for nutrition. They provide chemical signals, hormones, enzymes, co-factors etc. that will tell the plant what to do, eg. grow or make fruit. The nutrition comes from the soil.

So stop overfeeding your plants, reduce your pests, and save money.

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