UCP Blog 023: “The Art of Happy Hens” Chicken Infograph

Chicken Infograph - by Janel Crisp Goodwin & Terry Golson

Chicken Infograph – by Janel Crisp Goodwin & Terry Golson

The Urban Chicken Podcast was recently contacted by graphic designer Janel Crisp Goodwin, who teamed up with chicken expert, Terry Golson (of Hencam.com and Golson was the guest in the UCP in Episode 052 LISTEN HERE) to create a very cool chicken infograph called “The Art of Happy Hens.” For those of you new to the ‘infograph’ world, it is the use of graphic art to convey information in very palatable and aesthetically pleasing manner. “The Art of Happy Hens” infograph is a delightful melding of art and chicken information. Goodwin invited me to share this chicken infograph with the Urban Chicken Podcast audience, which I have done at the end of this post.   Continue reading

UCP Episode 057: Understanding Chicken Molting with Meredith Chilson

Frida cooperating for Molting Picture - photo by Jen Pitino

Frida cooperating for Molting Picture – photo by Jen Pitino

Backyard chickens molt every year to replace broken, frayed and old feathers.  Though conventionally, chickens molt in late summer/early fall, a bird can molt anytime of year that suits.  Molting is both a physically and emotionally stressful time for the bird.

Meredith Chilson, a veteran chicken keeper with over forty years of experience and knowledge joins me on the Urban Chicken Podcast this week to discuss feather molting in chickens.  Meredith also shares some practical tips on how to make the molting process a little easier for you flock.  Continue reading

UCP Blog 022: Wintertime Chicken Spa Idea

Heated Chicken Spa - photo courtesy of Deb Bino

Heated Chicken Spa – photo courtesy of Deb Bino

Wintertime this year has been especially brutal for some areas of the U.S.  In particular, the New England states are reporting 20 year record-breaking snowfalls and cold temperatures.

Deb Bino, an Urban Chicken Podcast listener living in Pennsylvania, has come up with a clever way for her backyard chickens to get some relief from the winter weather — a chicken spa!  Deb’s winter chicken spa is easily constructed and greatly appreciated by the birds who are as tired as their human owner of the endless snow this year.

Here is how Deb constructed her chicken spa to fight the winter blues.  First she buried an electric, heated foot-mat in the bottom of a sand box under a mixture of sand, diatomaceous earth, wood ashes and peat moss.  The sand mixtures is about five inches deep, which gives the birds plenty of material to dig and lay in.  Being mindful of fire safety, Deb wrote that she carefully wrapped the cord to the heating pad in duct tape to keep the spa more secure.

Deb then constructed a simple box frame (roughly 4’x6′ in size) covered with clear plastic sheeting.  This sheathed box frame is leaned against a building and over the chicken spa so that the birds can enjoy the warm sand mixture out of the elements.  According to Deb, her wintertime chicken spa can comfortably accommodate four hens at a time.  The flock has been greatly enjoying their heated oasis from the winter weather!

UCP Blog 021: Chickens May Not Have Teeth, but They Are All Born with a Tooth

Newly Hatch Olive Egger with Egg Tooth Still Attached - photo by Jen Pitino

Newly Hatch Olive Egger with Egg Tooth Still Attached – photo by Jen Pitino

The ability for birds to develop teeth was lost approximately 70-80 Million years ago.  Yet all birds are born with what is called an “egg tooth.”  Though called a tooth the egg tooth is actually a horny protrusion of harden skin found at the tip of the chick’s beak.  The egg tooth is shaped in a point and is an essential part of the gestation process. Continue reading

UCP Blog 020: Tiniest Egg EVER!

Fairy Egg, Regular Egg and DoubleYolker - photo by Jen Pitino

Fairy Egg, Regular Egg and DoubleYolker – photo by Jen Pitino

My newest flock members (a set of five pullets – three Blue Bresses and two Sulmtalers) are not all laying quite yet.  The Sulmtaler pair, (which I’ve named Frick and Frack) is definitely laying semi-regularly.  The Blue Bresse hens though are much smaller than the Sulmtalers and not laying at all.  Well, not laying at all until recently.   Continue reading

UCP EPISODE 056: Winning the Chicken Legal Fight (a Conversation with Kathy 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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photo by:

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.

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