UCP Guest Blog 005: How to Hatch Chickens – by Freeman Apou

Pixabay chicks-1444525_1920

Freeman Apou is a passionate animal welfare advocate and chicken expert from a lifetime of experience raising poultry on his family’s farm.  In his guest article below, Freeman shares his knowledge on egg hatching basics, walking you step-by-step through the process to a successful hatch of chicks.   

How to Hatch Chickens

If you’re looking to hatch your own chickens, you need the correct tools, knowledge, and confidence to do so. Hatching is loads of fun and you can get the entire family involved. Children absolutely love hatching chicks. If you’re a school teacher, start a class project. Incubating eggs is a fantastic way to keep children engaged in the process and teaches them responsibility.

Hatching eggs is wonderfully easy, especially if you’re using an electric, automated incubator. The total process of hatching chicken eggs takes only 21 days, so you won’t have to wait long to see the results. During the incubation process, you can candle your eggs, a technique to check growth of the chick embryo, although I recommend not doing this more than twice for the safety of the growing chick. Continue reading

UCP Blog 039: What breed is this beast of a chicken?


A non-chicken keeping friend of mine recently sent me a YouTube link to an amateur video of an unusually large chicken and asked me if this video was “‘for real?'” I clicked the link and watched an enormous rooster emerge from a coop in a fenced pen area.  To say that this bird was big is an understatement – this white rooster caught on film was a veritable beast!   Continue reading

UCP Bonus Podcast Episode 001: Composting, Gardening and Living with Backyard Chickens – A Conversation with Chicken Experts Pat Foreman & Victoria Miller

Hens Free in the Garden - photo by Grey World

Hens Free in the Garden – photo by Grey World

Mother Earth News, (arguably the coolest, best established, and most trustworthy of news sources for all things self-reliant and homesteading) recently invited me to interview two chicken experts who were presenting at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Texas.  I was flattered and excited to host this interview with Pat Foreman and Victoria “Redhed” Miller (that is not a misspelling of her nickname.)    Continue reading

UCP Blog 038: Courir de Mardi Gras (A Cajun Chicken Chase)

Faquetigue Mardi Gras Courir - photo by Patrick Lorenz

Faquetigue Mardi Gras Courir – photo by Patrick Lorenz

Mardi Gras, the hedonistic festival before the advent of the Lenten season, typically brings to mind glass beads, parade floats, drunken revelers and an endless party flowing out onto the streets of New Orleans.  Cajun style Mardi Gras, celebrated in the small, rural towns of Louisiana is a much different affair.  At the center of country Mardi Gras is an event called the Courir de Mardi Gras (the Fat Tuesday Run). The Courir involves a lot running and of course, chickens.

Continue reading

UCP Blog 037: “Chicken People” – Chicken Documentary Review

Chicken People - Show Chicken Documentary

     Chicken People is an interesting behind the scenes glimpse into the world of competitive show chickens. This 2016 released documentary follows the lives and chicken-breeding efforts of three individuals hoping to show the winning bird at the Ohio National Poultry Show.  Continue reading

UCP Blog 036: Breezeway Between Coop & Run Done – Oh Yeah!

Coop to Run Breezeway

     Last fall (er – that is autumn of 2015) I built my flock a deluxe chicken run adjacent to their coop.  The new chicken run is free standing and completely separate from the coop. (See pictures of the run in this previous post.) I did not build it attached directly to the coop because I could not figure out how to do so and make it both functional and attractive. The solution was simple – a breezeway connecting the two! Continue reading

UCP Blog 035: Mouse in the Hen House = Chicken Treat

Wood Mouse - Photo by Jans Canon

Last night I saw something surprising that both horrified and thrilled me in equal parts. I was out collecting the eggs from my coop and run when I noticed my Welsummer hen, Beatrix behaving strangely. In the corner of the run she was shaking her head wildly back and forth.  I then noticed that there was something held in her beak, something small, limp and not quite distinguishable in the fading light.
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UCP Guest Blog 004: How to Select the Right Incubator for You – by Emily Baker

Hatching - photo by Alisha Vargas

Hatching – photo by Alisha Vargas

Emily Baker is a flock owner of Ancona Ducks and the manger of Incubators.org.  In this article, she shares her expertise knowledge of how to pick the right incubator for your hatching needs.  

While there is still snow on the ground, it may be hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. Yet, if the groundhog is to be trusted, spring is only about a month away. For many of us, this marks the beginning of the most exciting time of year- hatching season!

Whether you are hatching chicks for profit or pleasure, you need the right tools to get the job done. While some breeders prefer to let Mother Nature do her thing, many enjoy the experience and control of hatching using an incubator. However, with so many options available on the market, it can be a bit intimidating to choose the ideal incubator for your hatching needs.

So how do you know which incubator is the right one for you?
Continue reading

UCP Blog 034: Serama Egg … Makes For a Tiny Breakfast

Ayam Serama - photo by Phalinn Ooi

Ayam Serama – photo by Phalinn Ooi

At the most recent of my niece Lydia’s 4H meeting, the children were instructed to bring an egg from their flock for a lesson.  One teenage member, Aimee, brought a tiny egg laid by her Serama hen, a bird which she had just acquired a couple of months ago.  The tiny egg produced by her diminutive bird was about the same size as a candy egg for Easter. When the egg was cracked open as part of this 4H project, things got even more interesting. Continue reading

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