Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken Sitters

One of the drawbacks of having any kind of animals is that arrangements must be made for their care when you are out of town. We've been fortunate here in California. Our cat sitter, Evie Zanella of Auntie's Paws N the Pines, got interested in chickens after she began caring for our cat. She soon had several of her own, shown here with one of them. So we were confident that she'd be knowledgeable about caring for the chickens as well as the cat when we started our own backyard flock.

She's not alone! Mother Nature Network reports today that chicken sitters are available in Los Angeles.

"And now, with an increasing number of self sufficiency-minded folks beginning to keep chickens in urban and suburban areas, you can hire trained chicken sitters to watch over your brood — and perhaps supervise conjugal visits — while you’re out of town. L.A. at Home recently spoke with Anna Goeser, Master Gardener, veteran chicken keeper (15 years), and proprietress of Easy Acres Chicken Sitting, a professional chicken sitting service or what L.A. at Home calls 'the latest indulgence for L.A. urban gardeners.'"

We're grateful to have Evie to rely on. She does much more than care for the animals. She watches over our home while we are away. We can be away from home without worrying about mail deliveries, newspapers piled up in the driveway or, in the worst case, gas and water leaks if an earthquake strikes while we are away.

Making arrangements for care is an important part of being prepared for emergencies. Who would care for your animals if you weren't available?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Java Breeders Club

The Java Breeders of America Poultry Club now offers coffee mugs, caps, tees, i-phone cases and more decorated with designs by artist Diane Jacky. Diane is an artist who is well known in the poultry world. Her major projects include many of the oil paintings published in the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection, such as these Buff Brahmas. She has painted many turkey, goose and pigeon standards. Diane's work can also be seen on the covers and pages of many hatchery catalogs and websites such as Murray McMurray Hatchery, Ideal Poultry and Welp Hatchery. If you aren't captivated by Javas, chceck out her other offerings. If you like poultry, you are certain to find some that you can't resist.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet the Chickens

On Friday, April 1, I'll spend the day at Bauer Speck Middle School in Paso Robles, showing the fifth graders my chicken and talking to them about theirs. It's part of their annual Ag Day. Judy Honerkamp invited me to be part of the activities. That will go well with the article I'm writing for Hobby Farm Home on Chickens in the Curriculum, for the September/October issue.

Saturday is the Morro Bay library event. On Monday April 4, Cuesta College will show "Mad City Chickens" at their North County Campus, 7 pm. I'll be on hand to answer questions after that.

On Wednesday, I'll join the group having lunch with Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. Her book focused a lot of attention on the issues of raising food even in urban situations that do not initially look promising. Cuesta College chose it as its Book of the Year. I'm honored to be invited to be part of the activities.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Take your chicken for a walk

For the whimsical, here's a new product demonstration. This is a Hen Holster, a combination diaper plus harness. The D-ring on the back allows a leash to be attached.
I'm tempted to try this with Blondie, my gregarious pullet. She loves to get out and about, but our yard isn't fenced. She'll be the Display chicken when I speak at a paso Robles school next month. She has Star Quality.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cotton Patch Geese

Tom Walker wrote about his Cotton Patch Geese in Mother Earth News. He's doing a great job reclaiming these birds and focusing on their usefulness.
"Typical of most of the southern part of the United States, my area was cotton country. Grass grew in abundance in the cotton fields and, in keeping with long tradition, cotton farmers used geese to eat that grass. Geese were cheap labor for keeping the cotton fields clean, and they can weed other crops, such as corn and strawberries, too. Cotton fields were typically referred to as cotton patches; so, we present-day fanciers of this common goose have dubbed it the Cotton Patch goose. Apparently, this goose is the goose with the pink bill and feet that was brought to the American Colonies by the English in the early 1600s. The breed is autosexing in that its gender is evidenced by its color at the time of hatch (males are yellow as goslings, females are gray)."
This photo, from the 1950s, captures them at work. Traditional breed will be valued and preserved for their uti9lity as much as their beauty. Thanks, Tom, for keeping them going and for documenting their history.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Urban Poultry Workshop in Wisconsin

Jeremy Trost is working with people in northeast Wisconsin to help them get started with backyard chickens. He's holding a workshop Saturday, March 26, 2011, 9 AM—1 PM at the Winnebago County Expo Bldg, Sunny View; West Wing at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds in Green Bay. He'll address:

Where to buy chicks and feed
Raising chicks to chickens
Producing eggs, meat or pets
Chicken health and care
How to build coops
How to determine sexed chicks (male vs female)
All your questions

For $10 per person, it's a great deal. Full information on preregistration is online.

Thanks, Jeremy, for your work!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Attention: Southwest Wisconsin Poultry Producers

Greenlink Consulting, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and local producers, is working to evaluate the feasibility of a Southwestern Wisconsin based USDA inspected poultry processing facility to serve small, mid-sized, custom and batch poultry producers in Southwestern Wisconsin. We are requesting feedback from current and potential poultry producers to help assess the true demand for additional processing capacity.

Please help us assess poultry processing needs by filling out this short online survey

Your response to this survey is completely voluntary and all individually reported data will be kept confidential. Data will be reported in aggregate and final results will be disseminated through existing poultry interest groups and county extension educators. Please submit your response by March 13th.

Thank you in advance for your participation and please feel free to forward this message to other poultry producers!

This project is funded by an Agricultural Diversification and Development Grant from the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.

Laura Brown
Community Development Specialist
Center for Community & Economic Development
University of Wisconsin-Extension
328 Lowell Hall - 610 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: 608-890-0008 Fax: 608-263-4999

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Exhibition Poultry magazine

The March issue is now available! It has show results from Dalton, Georgia, Victorville, California and Morganton, North Carolina. Archiving these results alone makes this magazine invaluable. It's often difficult to get show results. Creating this publication fills an important need in the poultry world.

Editor Ann Charles is providing excellent information for the exhibition world, which also serves all those interested in traditional breed poultry. This month's feature on the history of Jersey Giants is fascinating. I appreciate the opportunity she gave me to write about the production aspects of traditional breeds that are taking their place on Champions Row.

Thanks, Ann, for providing this publication free to readers. Readers, that means the advertisers are supporting it. Take note of the advertising and consider whether you need to place your business in front of her readers. Reasonable rates!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Morro Bay Library

I'll bring Blondie, my White Dorking pullet, with me to speak at Morro Bay Library, 2 pm April 2. The event came about as part of Cuesta College's Book of the Year, which is Novella Carpenter's Farm City.
Mr. D, my Colored Dorking rooster, may attend as well. A neighbor complained about his crowing and he had to move. His new home is in Morro Bay, a few blocks from the library. However, on the journey to finding him a new home, I connected with a Beltsville White Turkey who needed a new home as well. He moved to the Urban Farm at the former Tropicana Nursery on Quintana Road, too.

The turkey, who has a lot of Star Quality himself, will make an appearance at the library event. It depends on how complicated transporting the birds gets as to whether Mr. D will also be able to appear.

If you are in the area, come join us!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ABA auction features exceptional birds!

This weekend is the American Bantam Association 2011 Semi-Annual Meet in Harrington Delaware.
The ABA is once again proud to offer the ABA Breeders Auction. This is a silent bid fundraiser. These wonderful birds have already been donated by ABA Members:
One pair Black Cochin Bantams from Tom Roebuck, Jr. of Virginia, such as these, shown with one of the Blue variety as well.

One pair White Cochin Bantams from Tom Roebuck, Jr. of Virginia

One pair Quail Belgian d'Anvers from Kevin & Karen Unrath of New Jersey

One Pair Black OE Game Bantams of the Andy Barnes bloodline from House of Champions in Colorado

One Pair SC White Leghorn Bantams from House of Champions in Colorado
The auction can accommodate two more donations. What have you got to offer? Bidding will be brisk! This is an opportunity to acquire some exceptional birds and attendant bragging rights.