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 Episode 061: Should you get Fall/Winter Chicks? A Discussion with Tyler Danke of Purely Poultry

Chicks In A Box

Springtime is the season most usually associated with getting started with baby chicks. However, autumn (and even winter) can be viable seasons for you to get a jump start on next year’s flock.  There are a few marked advantages to getting fall chicks instead of waiting for springtime.

Tyler Danke, owner and operator of Purely Poultry joins me on the Urban Chicken Podcast this week to share his insight on fall/winter chicks.

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UCP Episode 060: Listener Q & A Session #6

Portrait of a Broody Hen

Portrait of a Broody Hen

On this episode of the Urban Chicken Podcast, I answer a new set of listener questions on a variety of topics.  How long after your husband treats your lawn with a chemical weed and feed can you safely put a flock of birds on it?  What do you do when you have multiple hens go broody at the same time? How do you protect your flock from predators?

There is tons to learn in this episode – including a brief look at a news story involving chickens which sounds more like an Austin Power’s movie plot.   Continue reading

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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.

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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 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 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 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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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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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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