UCP EPISODE 056: Winning the Chicken Legal Fight (a Conversation with Cathy Shea Mormino)

Kathy Shea Mormino (The Chicken-Chick) - photo courtesy of K. Mormino

Kathy Shea Mormino (The Chicken-Chick) – photo courtesy of K. Mormino

In 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) studied urban chicken keeping in four major cities (Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City) and discovered that less than 1% of households had backyard chickens.  The study however further revealed that though only 1% had chickens another 4% of the study’s respondents reported that they planned to get backyard chickens in the next five years. Interestingly, slightly more than half of the study’s respondents said that they thought keeping chickens in urban areas would lead to more illnesses in humans and yet 2/3 of the respondents in Los Angeles, Miami and New York (and 3/4 of the respondents in Denver) also said that they believed that eggs raised in small flocks in backyards were more nutritious than their store bought counterparts. What do these study results mean?

Americans are divided on backyard chickens.  

This nearly even split on the issue of urban chickens is evident in the on-going great chicken debate that is being argued in every corner of this nation.  The competing interests between autonomy over one’s own backyard to raise chickens and live as one chooses is at odds with the beliefs that chickens are strictly a livestock animal that has no place in an urban/suburban landscape. When these diametrically opposed views on chickens happen to live next door to one another, sparks fly.

Kathy Shea Mormino, more commonly known as the Chicken-Chick, comes onto the Urban Chicken Podcast to discuss her long fought legal battle over her backyard flock. The bitter, year long fight over her chickens was not only emotionally and financially draining, but threatened to cost Mormino her livelihood.   Continue reading

UCP Blog 019: Setting Up a Chicken Sick Bay

Injured Chicken - photo by Jen Pitino

Injured Chicken – photo by Jen Pitino

It is an unavoidable part of keeping backyard chickens – at some point one of your flock members is going to get injured or become ill.  In these situations you need to be able to create a workable “chicken sick bay” indoors where you can provide the necessary chicken nursing care.  The need to be able to dispense home chicken health care is especially true with the general shortage of veterinaries with poultry expertise at a reason price in today’s world.  Recently, I found myself scrambling to assemble a makeshift “chicken sick bay” to care for an injured pullet. Continue reading

UCP Blog 018: Christmas for Chickens and the Coop

Christmas Wreath on the Coop - courtesy of Deb Bino

Christmas Wreath on the Coop – courtesy of Deb Bino

Urban Chicken Podcast listener, Deb Bino recently shared photographs of her sharing holiday cheer with her flock.  Deb decorates her chickens coops with Christmas wreaths, lights, and even miniature Christmas trees.  Her hens are not forgotten when it comes to marking the season.

Check out Deb’s Christmas chicken coop decorations below.  Maybe Deb’s photos will inspire you to brighten up your own chicken coop this Christmas with some trim and ornaments!

UCP Episode 055: Listeners Q and A Session #4 – Understanding Sex-Links, Bad Broodies & Plants Toxic to the Flock

Backyard Garden with Chickens

Backyard Garden with Chickens

Today on the Urban Chicken Podcast, I answer more chicken questions posed by listeners in Session #4 of Listeners’ Q & A series.  The chicken issues being discussed and considered in this session are: 1) understanding “sex-link” chickens; 2) dealing with a bad broody hen; and 3) learning which common yard and house plants are toxic to feed to your flock.

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Spontaneous Sex Reversal Study Chart


Do you have a chicken (hen or rooster) which you believe has undergone a spontaneous sex-reversal? Then share your chicken’s information with the Urban Chicken Podcast to be included in our (not exactly) scientific study on this phenomenon.

Please send your bird’s details to the Urban Chicken Podcast through the CONTACT PAGE.  Be sure to include all of the relevant information which is listed below on the chart categories.

Continue reading

UCP Blog 017: Another Sex-Reversed Hen Reported to the UCP

Lulu the Sex Reversed Hen - photo by Angela  Schwendiman

Lulu the Sex Reversed Hen – photo by Angela Schwendiman

I recently had yet another report of a possibly sex-reversed hen!  Here is the initial message that I received:

I just listened to your sex reversal chicken podcast. I have a hen that is about two and a half years old. In the last two weeks she has rapidly started to reverse to a male. I am a PhD in biology. Once I noticed my little Lulu was sex reversing I wanted to learn more about how common this is. I am shocked about the lack of information on the topic. When I heard you wanted to collected some data I got very excited. I wanted to find out how many other people you had heard from.





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UCP Guest Post 001: The Beginning of My New Zealand Urban Chicken Love Affair – by Fiona Campbell

Mindy the Hen, Circa 1979 - photo courtesy of Fiona Campbell

Mindy the Hen, Circa 1979 – photo courtesy of Fiona Campbell

Today’s Post is provided by UCP guest blogger, Fiona Campbell, an avid backyard chicken keeper living in rural Kapiti, New Zealand on five Fiona Campbellacres.  Fiona is the author and illustrator of the book, “Ruby’s Diary,” which is a chicken memoir penned from the point of view of her top hen, Ruby.  The book cleverly considers what is important in life (which is remarkably the similar whether that be a human or chicken life).  You can follow Ruby the hen’s the daily record of the Fiona’s flocks life and happenings on her blog, LINK HERE.  Fiona’s book, “Ruby’s Diary” is also available on her blog website, Ruby’s Diary Hen (LINK).  


I have had urban chickens for nearly 40 years now. While that makes me feel real old, it is actually just a reflection of how young I was when I got my first feathered friends.

I got my first backyard chickens when I was 8 years old and my mum was sick in bed with the flu. It took a lot to fell my mother, so she must have been very crook! It was a good time to strike. “Mum,” I said, “Can I have some baby chickens?” Continue reading

UCP Blog 016: List of Plants Toxic to Chickens

The chickens have been busy weeding

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.

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UCP Blog 015: 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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