TOWN OF WYOCENA -- As Airling “Butch” Gunderson strolls through his farm, he sees a nesting goose, about a half-dozen roosters strutting around a feed bowl and some duck hens engaging in a wing-flapping fight over whose turn it is to use the birdbath.
What he doesn’t see: The scary signs of a virulent avian flu that has spread into Wisconsin.
If the flu had infected his flock, then he’d likely see symptoms -- hens that won’t lay eggs, birds coughing or sneezing, watery green diarrhea, loss of appetite.
As a professional journalist, I began writing about heritaqe poultry after my daughter and I acquired our first chickens in the 1980s. Voyageur Press invited me to write How to Raise Chickens in 2007, followed by How to Raise Poultry in 2009. New editions of both were published in 2013 and 2014. The poultry book covers ducks, geese, swans, turkeys, guineafowl, game birds and ratites as well as chickens.
My next book, The Backyard Field Guide to Chickens, will be available in May 2016.
Traditional breeds are the best choice for small flocks. I continue as a regular contributor to Backyard Poultry magazine.