UCP Resources 001- List of Plants Toxic to Chickens

Many of these poisonous plants are found in the average home and yard. These plants have different levels of toxicity – some can be nibbled on in small quantities with little or no harmful effects. When allowed to free-range, chickens are usually smart enough to avoid eating these toxic plants, so you don’t need to go and rip them out from your yard immediately in order to protect your flock.  However, you do need to be mindful that you are not trying to feed these plants to your birds particularly (e.g. putting cuttings of these plants in the flock’s run where they are locked up and might feel compelled to eat these dangerous plants.

list of toxic plants









UCP Blog – Mini Egg Discovered Inside Regular-Sized Egg! (VIDEO)

Mini Egg Inside an Egg - Photo Courtesy of Linda Alvarado

Mini Egg Inside an Egg – Photo Courtesy of Linda Alvarado

I was recently emailed by Urban Chicken Podcast listener, Linda Alvarado who shared a photo and a short video of a miniature egg discovered inside a regular-sized egg laid by one of her backyard hens.  She found this strange, soft-shelled little interior egg when making breakfast recently.

Here is what Linda wrote to me:

This weekend I found an egg inside an egg when I was fixing breakfast. When looking it up I came across your article and thought you might like to see.



Check out the video I made of Linda’s egg inside an egg: 

UCP Episode 054 – Chickens a Survivalist Tool? – A Conversation with Aaron Frankel of the In the Rabbit Hole-Urban Survival Podcast


  • Burgeoning U.S. national debt
  • Islamic fundamentalist terrorism
  • Continuous spewing of Fukushima radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean
  • Instability in the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency
  • Ebola outbreaks
  • Growing tensions edging towards a new world war
  • Unfettered immigration
  • Peak Oil
  • Global warming
  • Earth’s possible impact with the asteroid Apophis in 2029…

These and many other current issues are part of the growing concern over what some believe may be the inevitable TEOTWAWKI (“the end of the world as we know it.”) Whether you accept that the “sh** is about to hit the fan,” it is undeniable that prepping and survivalism is part of our current national zeitgeist.

Aaron Frankel, an urban survival expert and podcast host on the subject, joins me on the Urban Chicken Podcast to discuss chickens as a key tool in any survivalist’s preparations for the worst. Aaron also shares his personal insights on keeping his large flock of “tactical” chickens on an industrial city lot in urban Houston, Texas.  Continue reading

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Contest #8 Results: The Winner of the Avian Aqua Miser Original Waterer

Avian Aqua Miser in Use - Photo by D. Faust

Avian Aqua Miser in Use – Photo by D. Faust

Some months ago I was given a complimentary Avian Aqua Miser to try out with my own flock.  I am happy to report that my newest flock members (these are the new birds that I recently mentioned on the show that I got as day-old chicks this Spring) have taken to this watering system very well.

There are many facets of the Avian Aqua Miser that I appreciate.  It is a simple to use and durable product.  I particularly like that it is easy to re-fill with clean water and is safe to add apple cider vinegar to without worries of leaching toxins (which is a concern with metal waterers).  My Avian Aqua Miser does a terrific job keeping the flock’s drinking water clean – having nipples rather than a drinking basin means that it is impossible for the birds to get their water dirty.  Yay!

I am very pleased to announce that the winner of the Avian Aqua Miser Original watering system is Tyler Allison of Illinois.  Congratulations Tyler!  I know you’re going to get lots of good use out of your Avian Aqua Miser.

If you’d like to learn more about the Avian Aqua Miser check out their website: LINK


UCP Episode 053 – How to Primp Your Chickens for Show

Three Bucket Chicken Washing Method - Photo by Jen Pitino

Three Bucket Chicken Washing Method – Photo by Jen Pitino

Earlier this month, my sister and I dipped our toes into the pool of competitive chicken shows by entering several birds at our local county fair.  When I first started down the backyard chicken trail, I would have never considered getting into showing chickens.  So what changed?

New birds.

In fact, I have lots and lots of new chickens in my life which I have been remiss in telling you (the Urban Chicken Podcast family) all about. Late this past spring, I was generously gifted about 2 dozen rare and fancy breed day old chicks.  I have been sharing those birds with my sister and niece (a few living at my house and the bulk of birds at hers). Consequently we have decided to try our hands at chicken breeding and hatching with some of the recent additions to our flock.

We are now at a point where between our established flocks and all of the newbie birds, we have more chickens than we know what to do with – and they keep growing and eating more and more.  The hard truth is that we need to figure out which of our birds are of breeding quality and which are just pretty duds.

The timing of the local American Poultry Association (A.P.A.) sanctioned poultry show at our county fair was perfect!  We could take a bunch of the birds that we really needed some  professional feedback on and enter them into the chicken show.  The birds would be inspected and judged by an A.P.A. certified poultry expert, and he would be able to give us the insight that we needed to move forward.

Now entering chickens into a show involves more than just scooping your birds out of the backyard and dropping them off at the fairgrounds. There is an important primping process involved in getting your chickens ready to strut their stuff for the judges.  Today on the Urban Chicken Podcast, I walk you through how to get your birds ready to show – a process that I just experienced firsthand for the first time recently.

Continue reading

UCP Episode 052 – Spying on Hens with Terry Golson of Hencam.com

Terry Golson of HenCam photo by Spencer Webb

Terry Golson of HenCam photo by Spencer Webb

What is really happening inside of your chicken coop?  Who is the naughty feather pulling hen?  Is there mischief occurring in your flock that you’re simply unaware of?

For the average chicken keeper, it is impossible to know the answers to these questions. Some secrets are simply unknowable in the lives of your flock.  One chicken expert and enthusiast has challenged that limitation and the private lives of her hens have been exposed for the entire world to watch.  Through an intricate surveillance camera system rigged up in her chicken coop, Terry Golson of Hencam.com is providing unlimited and unfettered access for any would-be chicken voyeurs to watch her birds as they unwittingly carry on their daily routines.

Continue reading

UCP Giveaway #8 – Avian Aqua Miser Original Waterer

Avian Aqua Miser Original - photo courtesy of Mark Hamilton

Avian Aqua Miser Original – photo courtesy of Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton and Anna Hess are the co-owners of Avian Aqua Miser.  This small company designs and manufactures simple to use and maintain chicken watering systems.

The Avian Aqua Miser Original is designed to hang in a coop or run and provides birds with clean water.  Unlike the typical chicken waterer that sits on the floor of the coop and inevitably ends up full of dirt, debris and poop, the Avian Aqua Miser Original is an enclosed watering system that keep your flock’s water clean from start to finish.

You can win your own Avian Aqua Miser Original through this giveaway made possible by the generous donation of Mark and Anna.  To learn more about this waterer and other Avian Aqua Miser waterers, check out the Avian Aqua Miser website HERE.

This contest will be open for entries starting August 18th and ending August 28th at 5 p.m. MST I will then draw one name at random to receive this terrific gift of an Avian Aqua Miser Original.

You can sign up to win this watering system in the sign-up box in the sidebar of the UCP webpage! (Note: you may not see this on a mobile device and will need to log on a regular computer.)

Good Luck!

UCP Giveaway #7 – Your Choice of Two Bags of Luv-Nest Nesting Herbs!

Tina Hickman, certified herbalist and backyard chicken enthusiast and owner of Luv Nest has created four aromatic and effective dried herbal blends to be used in coops and nesting boxes.  All herbs used in Luv Nest herb blends are 100% organic and absolutely safe for your flock to consume.

You can win your choice of any TWO Luv Nest herb blends.  This giveaway is made possible by the generous donation of Tina Hickman.  Thank you Tina!  To learn more about the use of herbs with your hens and the Luv Nest products, please be sure to listen to UCP Episode 051 (LISTEN HERE).

This contest will be open for entries for TWO WEEKS only starting July 29th through August 5, 2014 at 5 p.m. MST. (Contest entry period extended to August 12, 2014 at 5 p.m. MST — Apparently my date calculation skills were off the day I originally posted this contest.  Oopsies.  All fixed now so get your entries in to win!)  I will then draw one name at random to receive this terrific gift of TWO bags of your choice of Luv Nest herb blends.

You can sign up to win these LUV NEST nesting box/coop herb blends in the sign-up box in the sidebar of the UCP webpage! (Note: you may not see this on a mobile device and will need to log on a regular computer.)

Good Luck!

UCP Episode 051 – Herbs for the Hens: a Conversation with Tina Hickman of Luv Nest

Mill Dene Garden 21-09-2013

Across all continents and cultures, man has been using herbs for their medicinal and beneficial properties for thousands of years.  Even today it is estimated that 80% of the world’s population relies on herbal medicines as part of their primary health care.  Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (Hindu medicine) continues to be based on the use of herbal therapies and remedies.  The beneficial properties of herbs are not limited to humans.

Every backyard chicken owner can promote the health and happiness of their hens through the use of fresh and dried herbs.  There are numerous herbs which can repel pests, promote vitality and improve the overall well-being with your birds.  In a nutshell, you can use herbs as simple, aromatic and inexpensive tools for your flock.  When given the opportunity, chickens will freely eat herbs to get the benefits from these plants and flowers.

Certified herbalist and backyard chicken keeper Tina Hickman joins me on the Urban Chicken Podcast this week to discuss the many ways herbs can be used to benefit your hens. Continue reading

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UCP Giveaway #6 – Win a Copy of Liz Wolfe’s “Eat the Yolks” Book!

Eat the Yolks book cover

Presumably you have listened to my interview with Liz Wolfe (UCP Episode 050 – LISTEN HERE) and found her to be as charming and informative as I did –  and now you want more.  Here is your chance to win her book, “Eat the Yolks,” for your own reading pleasure and overall edification.

This contest will be open for entries for TWO WEEKS only starting July 4th (woohoo – marking food freedom!) to  July 18, 2014 at 5 p.m. MST.  I will then draw one name at random to receive this terrific book that will both amuse and educate you.

You can sign up to win Liz’s “Eat the Yolks” book on the UCP webpage in the sidebar!