Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Well, 2016 sure flew by fast, didn't it? As I'm writing this, it's less than three hours until 2017 officially begins. Guess that's an indication of what a wild 'party animal' I am. No apologies, I do love my solitude. . . it's refreshing after long hectic work hours.

Hope your Christmas was very special! It snowed a little where I live, but I was able to get out and visit family; had a wonderful visit. Great food, and company, too.

Soon, we'll see signs of Spring, and thoughts will turn to things like gardening, and getting a few chickens, too. Right?

Will keep this post short, but just want to raise my glass in a toast to you and yours. "To a very happy, healthy and successful New Year!" Actually, I'm drinking a delicious mug of hot chocolate, but that shouldn't be a problem, as the wish is sincere. 

In a couple of days I'll tell you about my friend (and business partner) Carrie's new book . . . she's running a bit behind schedule, but will soon have it published.

Have a safe fun New Years Eve and do drive carefully if you'll be out and about!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Importance of The American Poultry Association to Chicken Keepers

The American Poultry Association, The Authority on Breed Standards . . .

Every backyard or rural chicken keeper can benefit by learning about the breeds of chickens and other poultry. Every industry needs to set and maintain standards and anyone who raises chickens could be considered a participant in  the chicken industry. 

At least as a responsible consumer.

If you live elsewhere in the world, there is a standard for you to learn from, too:

The American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection, British, Australian chicken breed Standards
It is my understanding that quite a few shows in Europe go by the British Standard in their poultry exhibits. Australia has their own, and I'm not aware of any other countries that have a standards book. Victoria Roberts is the editor of the British Standard. She's very knowledgeable. I have a CD of hers and a book she wrote that I really enjoy, too.

The American Standard lists breed according to Class, then variety. The British standard classifies breeds according to feather type. 

The American Poultry Association was formed in 1873 with the goal:

"to stabilize our economic and commercial breeds to uniform size, shape and color, with good production and practicality; with provision that ornamental breeds, including the Bantam, be attractive, productive and meet requirements of the Standard breeder."
~American Standard of Perfection, 1993 edition 

New editions of the American Standard are published periodically as new breeds are admitted. Whether or not you've ever exhibited your poultry - or ever plan to do so - having a copy of the Standard is a huge advantage.

In it, you learn the following requirements for each breed, male and female:

  • Proper comb type
  • Number of toes
  • Beak type and color
  • Earlobe color
  • Leg color
  • Eye color
  • Beards, muffs or tufts, if applicable
  • . . .and much, much more

Including, Disqualifications and Defects.

If you're only interested in having fresh eggs, rather than learning all that the Standard contains, but would like to get more enjoyment from attending a chicken show, you might like the "chicken Show appreciation chapter I included in The Art of Taming a Chicken . . .   How to Tame Your Backyard Flock.

It's in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Frozen Chicken? Alive and Well! Never Give Up

    Yes, sweet precocious little "Timmy" - nicknamed 'the little rascal'. Four nights ago when I went out to put the chickens in the coop, he was nowhere to be found. The next morning my heart broke when I saw him. He was soaked, and so cold - not at all good for a Silkie! I picked him up and brought him inside, blotted him with towels, I set him in a box with dry towels while getting one of my carriers and padding it with straw. He stayed in for four days. First day, showed signs of life, but wouldn't eat. 

The next day he ate a little, and the third day, he ate pretty well, but still slept a lot and didn't look at all spiffy. He's back outside now, though, and is active and back to normal. Thank God! I sure didn't want to lose him, But when I brought him in I really didn't have much hope for him.

It was kind of strange how I got the little guy; an unusual call from a man my dad used to work with asking if I'd like a pair of Silkies. Of course I didn't hesitate. There's always room for one more (or two).  Well, there are those pesky space requirements, but I have a pretty big place.

He and his mate fit right in with the layers - they teamed up every evening to guide any stragglers into the coop. He and "Lula" are back together now doing their thing.

Thought you might like to hear about what I certainly regard as a little miracle, seeing as it is almost Christmas.

May you have many miracles, too, both big and small!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"My First Baby Chicks, What, Exactly, Do I Need to Prepare?"

It's never too early to start planning! Christmas will come and go quickly, then in just 90 days or so we'll see the exciting signs of Spring.

This baby chicks question arose last night while I was at work. We got a couple of new employees there, and strangely enough the conversation during break gravitated toward chickens.

Truth be told, and as you probably suspected, there was a lull in the conversation and I brought up the topic, so it wasn't really such a strange phenomenon. 😉

Well, I'm happy to report that I now have this great chicken hobby in common with a fellow worker - who recently made the decision to get started by ordering ten baby chicks from one of the hatcheries.

She asked me to make a list of everything she'd need to do in order to be all prepared, so I did, and will share it with you, too.

Have a coop ready or within days of completion before you order baby chicks. Time goes fast!
  • Buy or build your own brooder. If you already have a brooder, make sure it's sanitized, all the parts are in working order, and test it out, including the heat settings, within enough time to purchase another one if it's not working. Set it up 24 hours before the first day of delivery stated on your invoice for the chicks. Often it will be "either" "or" within a 2-day window..
  • If you're buying baby chicks from a local feed store, know what you want ahead of time and what the babies of that breed look like. The hatchery websites usually have a picture of both the babies and grown chickens of the breeds they sell and are a reliable source of correct identification of breeds. Often, the feed stores will nearly sell out one breed and put the remaining baby chicks in with a tub filled with another breed. This is a good idea in order to keep them warm, but if you have your heart set on seeing the breed you've chosen when they grow up, you may be disappointed. I learned the breeds by ordering brochures from all the hatcheries I could find, then studying them for hours on end when I was fourteen. It was free, and, of course we have the Internet today.
  • Get your feed (non-medicated if you've chosen to have the babies vaccinated for Coccidiosis by the hatchery) and water containers, buy chick feed a few days ahead of time and make sure you have chick grit, any electrolytes you've chosen, pine bedding, paper towels, hydrogen peroxide and other common first aid supplies in case there are any injuries(rare).
  • Read extensively about caring for the babies days or weeks before you get them. It's not rocket science, but you'll need to show them where the water container is (dip their beaks in it) watch for common issues like "pasty butt", splayed legs, beak issues, signs of illness, pecking, and such.
  • Different people who write about chickens sometimes have different ideas about what to feed baby chicks. Some boil eggs, peel them and mash them for the babies for the first couple of days. Since the embryos were nourished in this way before hatching, this is a solid plan. Others stick with a high quality commercial chick feed that has been researched and developed to provide all necessary nutrients. Some use corn meal, mash, or ground oats mixed with a little water. Everyone has their favorite, but I've never seen any recommendation that would have the potential to harm the babies.
  • Baby chicks seem less stressed when you have some soft calming music playing, so you might consider that.
  • Follow all sanitation procedures, keep consistent feeding schedules . . . and enjoy your chickens first six weeks

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In Gratitude to Chickens - For Centuries of Service to Humans

The purpose of this book is to debunk the common stereotypes about chickens that the "uninitiated" just seem to accept as truth!

After seven months researching and writing, I'm comfortable predicting that most people who read it will come away with the realization that we each owe a debt of gratitude to chickens.

Their contributions to our improved health and longevity alone certainly warrant that, don't you think? And this began way back in the days of Aristotle.

A preview reader said this book was "Fun and Addictive". He's not a fan of chickens, but is still planning to give the book as a gift and a Christmas party hostess gift! Fancy that!

I chose the highest quality white paper with images in full color for the print version; I figured chickens deserve no less, though not every image in the book is of chickens. Naturally, this meant an increase in production costs. 

Will be adding the file to Kindle in a couple of days, with a very special launch price.

Here's the link to 'In Gratitude to Chickens' if you want to check  out the sample pages available:

Friday, December 2, 2016

"CHICKEN PEOPLE" , The documentary Movie, Gets My Highest Recommendation!

Just watched this last night . . . Really enjoyed it.  I had pre-ordered it. According to the Amazon listing the CD will be available on December 6th. It's under $10.

This documentary film by CMT teaches a lot about chicken exhibition, demonstrates many qualities about chickens that cause us to become addicted to them, and showcases several people, the breeds they love and some of their trials and tribulations with life in general and with their chickens.

It's filmed primarily at the Ohio State Fair, where one of the largest chicken shows is held every year in the United States.  

If  you're a "chicken person", you'll love this, I'm sure! If not, you'll learn some of the answers to the question that may be on your mind like - "why on earth would anyone want to raise chickens?" 😊

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Human-Chicken Interaction Study Almost Completed

Have you seen this? If you're anything like me and love to learn about culture, history, and chickens this promises to be very fascinating. Experts in fields of study such as History, Biology, Anthropology, the Behavioral Sciences , etc. at these universities are conducting the research.

Learn more

Human Chicken Interaction