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 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

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.

Continue reading

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 Episode 047 – Langshan Chickens: Matt Stillman Discusses this Ancient Chinese Secret?


Bantam Black Langshan - photo courtesy of Matt Stillman

Bantam Black Langshan – photo courtesy of Matt Stillman

Question: How do you make the most strikingly beautiful, large, feather-legged, dark brown egg-laying chickens?  Answer:  Ancient Chinese Secret!

Langshan, Cochin and Brahma are the three breeds that comprise the entire Asiatic Class of chickens recognized by the American Poultry Association.  All three of these originated in China and have been causing a stir in the western poultry world since the 1800s.

Matt Stillman Langshan Breeder - photo courtesy of Matt Stillman

Matt Stillman

Today on the Urban Chicken Podcast, we are going to discuss at length the rarest of the Asiatic Class birds – the Langshan.  Matt Stillman, a breeder of both standard and bantam Langshans and District One director of the American Langshan Club, joins me on the show to share the fascinating history and attributes of this marvelous Chinese chicken.  Continue reading

UCP Episode 040: Rare & Unusual Breeds – Chicken Importation with Greenfire Farms

Ayam Cemani - photo courtesy of Greenfire Farms

Ayam Cemani – photo courtesy of Greenfire Farms

Allegedly, it all began with the Coronation Sussex – a chicken variety developed to celebrate the coronation of King George.  In 2007 Florida Attorney, Paul Bradshaw noticed a demand for Coronation Sussex Chickens in the United States.  Though Coronation Sussex chickens have been in existence for approximately two centuries, this native English breed was essentially unavailable in North America at that time. Bradshaw recognized a rare opportunity and imported some hatching eggs of this rare breed from Australia.  Bradshaw’s gamble paid off when he sold his first pair of Coronation Sussex in the U.S. through an on-line auction for $4,500!  Ever since then, Bradshaw’s 12 acre Florida farm, called Greenfire Farms, has specialized in importing, raising and arguably saving rare and unusual birds.  Continue reading

UCP Episode 038: Love the Dark Eggs – Oh Wonderful Marans!

Black Copper Marans - photo courtesy of Bev Davis

Black Copper Marans – photo courtesy of Bev Davis


The Marans chicken breed is marvelously varied!  The untrained observer could see a Black Copper, a Blue, a Wheaten and a Cuckoo Marans and never realize that these chickens, with vastly different coloring and feather patterns, were of the same breed. What unites these different looking Marans are their rich, brown egg color.

Marans chickens have a long history dating back to the 12th century when English sailors  Continue reading

UCP Episode 033: The Kentucky Specks Chicken – The Rarest American Bantam

Kentucky Specks Rooster - Photo by elmfarm87

Kentucky Specks Rooster – Photo by elmfarm87

The Kentucky Specks chicken is an American rare breed of chicken that is shrouded in much lore and mystery.  These small white and black mottled chickens – splashed with red hackle feathers and blue, green and red saddle and tail feathers are unusual and handsome birds.  Today on the Urban Chicken Podcast, we are joined by guest Denis Dooley who is an breeder and advocate of the Kentucky Specks chicken.  Denis helps separate the facts from fiction surrounding this diminutive speckled fowl.   Continue reading

UCP Episode 019: Picking Great Backyard Hens with Chicken Aficionado Mike Stanton + Eating Raw Chicken?!

Chicken Sashimi - photo by yoppy

Chicken Sashimi – photo by yoppy

There are hundreds of different breeds of chickens.  Literally, hundreds.  Though one likes having options – it can also be daunting to try to sift through the variety of birds to find the breeds best suited to your own personal needs.  Mike Stanton, a chicken-breeder, show-chicken competitor/judge and buyer of chicks for a local farm and garden store has a wealth of knowledge about picking and raising backyard hens.   Continue reading

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