Convert waste into food

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Update! The most recent information may be found in Criticisms of Lumenos' suburban farm plans.

The purpose of this article is to research the best ways to convert wastes into food or other useful things.

Currently, the focus is Lumenos' habitat. The climate is subtropical, arid, North America. Some of the available waste materials are listed below. Other information that is relevant to possible best conversion methods (in other habitats or this one) are considered lumenotable and can be included here.


[edit] Lumenos "waste" resources

[edit] Backyard

  • A small walled backyard, currently having mostly weeds and mulch.
  • A unique quality of this yard is that it is not parallel to the house making it easy to partition into roughly equal halves, with a small fence that Lumenos happened to find.

This waste resource is potentially contaminated with the following pathogens:

[edit] Livestock pathogens

See Merck table of parasitic worms of poultry.

Lumenos only plans to keep muscovies, chickens (to hatch shipped muscovy eggs and maybe for their own eggs) and probably not rabbits, so this focuses only on the zoonoses of these, local wild animals, and neighbors' pets.

  • Earthworms may harbor a number of helminth parasites of chickens and ducks. Muscovies don't scratch up the ground (or was that mallard-type ducks who have no claws?) like chickens and turkeys, digging for these things. Muscovies are also less inclined to drill with their beaks into mud, like mallard-ducks do.
  • Chickens and not ducks can be infected by parasites carried by flies (houseflies) and slugs, snails, and ants. So it should be safe to feed these to ducks but not chicken.

See Lumenos microlivestock pathogen notes.

[edit] Zoonoses (human pathogens)

See Merck Global Zoonosis table

  • Possible deer mouse feces. Deer mice can be vectors of hantavirus and hantavirus can be deadly.
  • A few cat and dog feces from neighboring green wastes or from cats defecating in the yard. I haven't come across any risk to poultry but cats are important to the lifecycle of toxoplasma gondii.
  • Muscovies are supposedly less likely to transmit the deadly zoonotic strain of avian flu (called H5N1) because muscovy generally do not live if they contract any form of avian flu (or duck viral enteritis). Lumenos is skeptical that this is an advantage in case of muscovies, because muscovies are very adept at catching flying insects, mosquitoes are required to transmit H5N1 from bird to human, and a dead muscovy can't catch flies. Either way muscovies are likely to decrease the risk of H5N1 and other infections, rather than increase them, due to their catching flies, mosquitoes, and roaches.
  • See Lumenos zoonosis notes

[edit] Organic wastes

  • Lumenos (with permission from the homeowners) collects the green wastes from many neighboring houses. This is currently being used as mulch in the garden area. This waste resource is potentially contaminated with:
    • Pesticides
    • Occasional dog feces have been found. Cat and bird feces are possible.
  • Kitchen wastes. Lumenos may start collecting a lot of this from other people. If not handled properly this can attract animals such as flies, deer mouse, and raccoons. These can carry pathogens such as worm parasites and hantavirus.
  • Manure: potentially contaminated with pathogens from the host. If not handled properly, this can attract flies which carry pathogens such as parasites, from other feces, carcases, etc.
  • Snails

[edit] Building materials

(These are mostly salvaged waste scraps.)

  • A ping-pong table to be converted into a livestock tractor.
  • Roll of welded wire fencing with large holes (2" x 4"). This can be bent and folded up on the bottom so it overlaps and makes holes that are 1" x 2"; small enough to prevent ducklings from exiting without climbing. This doesn't provide much protection from raccoons, but one possibility is to stop them with a few strands of electrified wire around the livestock tractor. This may be needed anyway to prevent them digging under the tractor walls/fence.
  • Roll of chain-link fence just long enough to partition the yard into two equal halves.
  • Many large pieces of sheet metal that could be used as a climb prevention barrier (CPB) for raccoons, rodents, and skunks. A labor-intensive (read "unrealistic") idea is to use these CPB on top of the walls, to prevent raccoons from going from the neighbor's other walls, to the walls that we share with the neighbors. An easier alternative is to use them on the gate, to prevent raccoons from getting out if they in. If they drop in, they may not eat very much duck and any dead ducks are butchered and cooked when discovered. These raccoons don't get in again and they may provide valuable nutrients :) .
  • Tarps and lighter plastic sheets.
  • Wood scraps

[edit] Muscovy duck

Much of this info comes from Micro-livestock: Little-known Small Animals with a Promising Economic Future.

Most domestic ducks are descended from the wild mallard, but muscovies are not. They were long ago domesticated by Native Americans.

The muscovy duck has following advantages:

  • Taste, nutrition, feed conversion efficiency: Many poultry have a superior feed conversion efficiency than muscovies, however it is important to note what is being converted to what. Apparently the muscovy can more efficiently digest a wider range of plant material that is available for free. They may be able to convert this waste into the tastiest and healthiest meat/fat of any major poultry. Some experienced guy said that chickens get most of their protein from grass and eat corn mainly for the carbs, and many say that muscovies can thrive on forage alone, suggesting that buying grain to feed may be unnecessary. Lumenos plans to test out some hardy, self propagating feed crops anyway.
  • Quiet: Both hens and drakes are probably the quietest poultry. (Can be especially important in the suburban setting where housing is close together.)
  • Large-size (12 pounds for drakes) and great quantity of breast meat means more meat for the amount of butchering labor. (Some hunters prefer to take only the breast meat, as it is the easiest to remove.)
  • Disease resistance: They are the heartiest of poultry with the exception that avian flu and duck viral enteritis, are often fatal. For the deadly zoonotic strain of avian flu (called H5N1) this supposedly has the advantage of making them less likely to infect humans.
  • Environmental health: Like black soldier fly larvae, muscovies are likely to benefit environmental health by eliminating the major vectors of infections (who are attracted to the manures of the farm): houseflies, blow flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and possibly small rodents (who like slow cooking compost heaps for their warmth and insects). They can provide freedom from nuisance pests like: mosquitoes (and hopefully turkey gnats and fungus gnats). Muscovies have been traditionally kept for only this purpose. They were found to be much more effective than passive traps on houseflies or blow flies (I forget which).
  • Aid gardening: They eat agricultural pests such as: weeds, snail's, slugs, and just about any other insect. Of course they will eat garden vegetables also, but they can be used to clear the ground (and add manure) before the garden is sown. Lumenos plans to test how content and civil the hens and young drakes can be, in a livestock tractor (the older males may fight when confined) although hopefully they will be able to day-range in half of the yard at a time (with wings clipped if necessary).

The muscovy duck has the following disadvantages:

  • The older drakes don't bear confinement as well as many other types of poultry, because they tend to fight each other or kill ducklings.
  • Day old muscovy ducklings cannot survive as long as other ducklings, without food. Also there are less suppliers of muscovies, so they are more difficult to get.

[edit] Worms and grubs

The black soldier fly larvae (aka BSFL, or soldier grubs) probably has a role in this system but not as large as Lumenos once thought. Redworms after thorough composting is looking like a more desirable method of dealing with duck manure, for example.

[edit] Duckweed or watermeal

Duckweed can double its weight in 24 hours and produce a higher quality protein than soybeans.

[edit] Biodiesel

There was a guy who was driving cross county using the waste oil from restaurants, etc. His car smelled like french fries.

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