Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My girls

The girls came out of their run to help me with digging some leaf litter into the soil. They enjoy their work!
 The bantam Sumatras found some greenery to work over.
 Ms. Wyandotte had to get into a planter. She's very bossy.
 Lady Fanny is a Speckled Sussex. She is a senior hen with excellent mothering abilities.
 Pixie is my Peruvian basket hen. She's about the same size as the Sumatras, but her feathers have a purple sheen, while their glisten iridescent green.
 This sweet Ancona is so lovely. Her comb reflects her condition. While she was going through her molt, it was small and shriveled. Now that she is recovering and getting ready to lay again, it is a nice red color and getting bigger. When her comb first started growing, my husband was certain she must be a rooster. he had never seen such a big comb on a hen.
 Blondie, my rosecomb Dorking, the princess of our flock. My personal favorite, but don't tell the other girls.
A Cuckoo Marans. I look forward to her dark brown eggs again soon. Maybe next week.

Friday, December 4, 2015

ABA and APA Yearbooks

ABA president Matt Lhamon remarked the other day that "The ABA Yearbook alone is worth the price of membership." He captured in a few words how encyclopedic and useful these volumes are.

Both the APA and the ABA publish Yearbooks every year. I'm happy that the APA includes two of my articles in the 2015 Yearbook.

These Yearbooks are exceptional, compact treasures of information. In an Information Age of the Internet, they are a reminder that some books can't be replaced. Rather than searching electronically for information, just open one of these books and flip through the pages.

The ABA Yearbook is filled with photos that can acquaint the beginner with breeds, ranging from the Silver Laced Wyandotte and Silkie on the cover to Old English of many colors, Sebrights and Mille Fleur bantams.Experienced breeders can find other contacts, breed clubs can find advocates for their breeds, poultry clubs can find lic4ensed judges. Master breeders are listed. If you want to connect with anything bantam, this is your resource. Well worth the $25 price of a membership, indeed!

Similarly for the APA Yearbook. Judges are listed, along with photos of many of them. Lots of color photos in the advertisements. The ads in these publications have valuable information not available many other places. And, of course, the articles. Jim Sallee judged  the World Gamefowl Expo in the Philippines, and he and Bonnie went to the Hannover, Germany Poultry Show. They tells those stories in the Yearbook's pages.

Big names in the poultry world contribute to its pages: Frank Reese on What the 'Old Experts' Knew, Mark Fields on Interpreting the Dominique Standard in 2015, Lou Horton on his 20-Year Breeding Program for Buff Wyandotte Bantams, John C. Metzgar on Frizzled Fowls. A report on the 2014 Canadian National, from north of the border.

I was especially pleased to write about Watt Global Media's collection of original oil portraits, some of which hang in their corporate headquarters lobby.
These books contain answers to many of the questions you will have in the coming year. Have both at hand.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eggs from pastured hens

 The NY Times posted this encouraging story about a farm raising chickens on pasture for eggs. There are a few more details I'd like to know: What kind of chickens are they raising, and where they get them from; how long do they keep the hens; what do they do with hens who are past laying.

Whatever the answers are to those questions, this farm and the news story about it represent a huge change for the better. Some day, all eggs people eat will come from hens who are living good lives.

Putting the Chicken Before the Egg

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — A decade ago, a couple running a dairy business in Northern California visited a Mennonite farm where the owner had used a flock of laying hens to teach his children business principles and instill values like responsibility and care for nature.
They returned home and bought 150 hens for their boys, Christian and Joseph. “My parents told us, you and Joseph are in charge of keeping these 150 birds alive,” recalled Christian Alexandre, who now heads the family’s egg business.
What started as a parental effort to instill solid values has become the mainstay of Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms. Within five years, Christian and Joseph were tending 1,500 hens and had a deal in place to supply eggs to Whole Foods stores in Northern California. Christian remembers Walter Robb, co-chief
The rusty red chickens foraging in the fields outnumber the cows 10 to 1 — and the roughly five million eggs they will produce this year command prices that make organic milk look cheap. “The egg business has kept the dairy going for several years,” Blake Alexandre, Christian’s father, said.

Read the rest of the story here.