Off the chain

michael chainsaw

Here’s one way to make sawdust.  Michael’s taking out all his angst on a choice red oak log, trying his best to tear into the tough heartwood to generate high quality substrate for our chickens.  After about 30 minutes, we accumulated enough sawdust to fill roughly 15 5-lb bags.  So far six of our chicken mushroom clones (two Laetiporus sulphureus and four L cincinnatus) are making their way through sawdust blocks.  When the mycelium starts picking up steam, I’ll post pics.

chicken myc

Our goal for these preliminary trials is to determine which of the 25 strains we have can fruit indoors from bags.  We know all of these strains can fruit because they are clones from wild fruits.  Indoors is a different story altogether.  Taking some cues from nature (ie. how the chicken mushrooms fruit in the wild) and clues from what others have tried in the past, we devised a method of setting up our substrate that should give us a decent idea of which strains are worthy of further experimentation.  Because we didn’t supplement (ie. add a nutrient-dense component like wheat bran), the fruits may not be substantial, but all we need is a little chick of a chicken to indicate whether a particular strain has the potential to be a commercially-viable strain.  Based on information from two international producers who had some success with chickens, it seems likely that even with extensive research testing various substrates, less than 20% of wild clones will fruit indoors.  Unlike their ornithological namesake, chicken mushrooms are not so easily domesticated.  They are the roosters of the chicken world.  Let’s hope they never lose their wild flavor.

There is a lot to report on, but instead of making long posts that are few and far between, I’m gonna keep posts to one topic and try and post more often.  Stay tuned for updates on our hunt for space, a new method for generating outdoor bed spawn, school projects, and an exciting workshop I’m leading focused on growing mushrooms at home.

Thanks for checking in!

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