UCP Blog 030: Celery – It’s the Enemy of Chickens

Celery Stalks - photo by TheDeliciousLife

Celery Stalks – photo by TheDeliciousLife

Celery.  It seems like such an innocuous and unassuming vegetable.  Don’t be fooled though by its innocent demeanor.  This fibrous crudite is actually a sinister killer of backyard chickens everywhere.

Just two days ago – celery almost spirited away a hen owned by an acquaintance here in Boise.  This is how I helped this chicken keeper triumph over a celery attack on her flock.

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UCP Episode 060: Listener Q & A Session #6

Portrait of a Broody Hen

Portrait of a Broody Hen

On this episode of the Urban Chicken Podcast, I answer a new set of listener questions on a variety of topics.  How long after your husband treats your lawn with a chemical weed and feed can you safely put a flock of birds on it?  What do you do when you have multiple hens go broody at the same time? How do you protect your flock from predators?

There is tons to learn in this episode – including a brief look at a news story involving chickens which sounds more like an Austin Power’s movie plot.   Continue reading

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UCP Blog 029: Paving the Road to Hell…

The Road to Hell - photo by Paul Stevenson

The Road to Hell – photo by Paul Stevenson

It has been a rough week and a half here at the Urban Chicken Podcast headquarters. My Grandma Margaret always liked to remind people (and by “people” I mean anyone whenever the opportunity arose) that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  The saying always seemed to me to most aptly apply to those individuals who talk big, but take no actions towards their intentions. My predicament these past few days is better described as the best of intentions (with actions to back them) completely derailed. Continue reading

UCP Blog 028: 4H Chicken Costume Contest & My Niece

Lydia & her Cockerel Nimbus

Lydia & Cockerel Nimbus

Contrary to a common misunderstanding, you don’t have to be “100% country” or live on a farm for your children to be active in 4H.  Truly, 4H clubs are located everywhere – including very large cities across the country.

My niece Lydia, is a perfect example.  She lives in a very urban area and yet she has been participating as a “Cloverbud” (youngest rank for a 4H member) for the past three years and loving it.  Lydia is pictured above with one of her bantam Wyandotte cockerels, named Nimbus (yes, after a Harry Potter broomstick) in the 4H poultry costume contest at the Western Idaho Fair this past week.  Nimbus is “driving” a little John Deere Tractor as his costume and he (and Lydia) won 3rd place.

Participating in 4H, even as urban or suburban backyard chicken keepers is beneficial to both your kids and the community.   Continue reading

UCP Blog 027: “Weed n’ Feed” & Your Flock – When Can the Birds be Back on the Lawn Safely?

Warning Pesticides - by Chris Christian

Warning Pesticides – by Chris Christian

I recently contacted the Scott’s Company to find out how long would it be after the last use of its “Weed n’ Feed” hericidal lawn product, before it would be safe to allow chickens onto such grass?  This was a question, Urban Chicken Podcast Listener, Susan, posed to me and I couldn’t seem to find the answer in my own independent research.  So I went straight to the source and asked Scott’s customer service representative Susan’s question using the information she provided me.  Continue reading

UCP Episode 059: The Livestock Conservancy – Saving Heritage Our Breeds (Discussion with Jeannette Beranger)

The Livestock Conservancy

How many grizzly bears are in the United States? 1,800. How many grey wolves in America?  5,443 in the lower 48 states (there is an estimated additional 7,700 -11,000 in Alaska.)  How many Redcap breed chickens in the States? Fewer than 500 (and fewer than 2,000 in the world.)

There are currently twelve different chicken breeds listed as “critically endangered” and an additional twelve breeds on the “threatened” list (fewer than 1,000 in the U.S. and 5,000 worldwide) according to the Livestock Conservancy. While the WWF is fighting to protect pandas and rhinos, the Livestock Conservancy is tirelessly working to protect threatened heritage horse, cattle, donkey, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and rabbit populations.

Jeannette Beranger  - photo courtesy of The Livestock Conservancy

Jeannette Beranger – photo courtesy of The Livestock Conservancy

Jeannette Beranger, the Research and Technical Programs Manager for the Livestock Conservancy joins me on the Urban Chicken Podcast to discuss the mission of this organization, some of the projects the Conservancy is currently involved in and how backyard hobbyist chicken keepers (like you and me) can help save some rare and special breeds from becoming extinct from our own backyards.

Jeannette has over 25 years of experience working with animals first as a veterinary technician and then later for several years with the Roger Williams zoo, where she eventually became the head zookeeper.  For the past few years, Jeannette has worked with the Livestock Conservancy researching, educating, networking and implementing various programs and efforts to save endangered heritage livestock breeds with the Conservancy.  She has a depth of knowledge on animals and particularly heritage breed livestock to share on today’s show.

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UCP Episode 058: Listener Q & A Session #5

Wright's Book of Poultry - Plate on Page 488

Wright’s Book of Poultry – Plate on Page 488

It is time again for another session of Urban Chicken Podcast Listeners’ questions and answers.  This Q and A session we consider and discuss ISA Brown chickens, a rooster who is acting like a hen, issues with spilt feed in the coop, identify a mystery breed hen, and hear about another crowing hen!   Continue reading

UCP Blog 026: Pasty Butt & Baby Chicks

New Chick - photo by Nikol Lohr

New Chick – photo by Nikol Lohr

Continuing on our springtime chicks’ ailment series, this week we discuss the common issue of “Pasty Butt.”  The condition “Pasty Butt” occurs when feces get stuck and harden around the chick’s down surrounding the bird’s vent.  The hardened feces can literally “paste” over the chick’s vent and block the excretion of feces.  If not removed, this condition will kill the affected chick and rather quickly. Continue reading

UCP Blog 025: Splay Leg in Baby Chicks & How to Treat It

Springtime brings spring chicks to many of our homes.  Spring chicks occasionally can become injured and ill and require extra attention and care on the part of the owner. One common baby chick ailment is called “Splay Leg.”

Splay Leg (also commonly called “Spraddle Leg”) is a condition that causes young chicks to have one or both of their legs slip to the side of their bodies twisted out from the hip, making it impossible for the bird to walk or even stand.  Splay Leg is often caused by the use of slick surfaced materials (e.g. newspaper) for brooder bedding. The condition may also be caused by vitamin deficiency or incubator temperatures being too high or fluctuating. Continue reading

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