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

CALLING ALL SEX REVERSED CHICKEN STORIES! 

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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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:

Hi,
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.

Thanks,
Angela

 

 

 

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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).  

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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:

Hello!  
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.
Cheers!
Linda

 

 

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

Chickens

  • 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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UCP Blog 014: 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.

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