Friday, February 25, 2011

Tampa Bay Online Covers Backyard Chickens

Feb. 25. Tampa Tribune reporter Michelle Bearden filed a story online: Chickens clucking their way to an urban yard near you. The story covers urban chicken activity in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

7 Reasons to Raise Chickens (courtesy of McMurray Hatchery blog)

1. Fresh Eggs

There simply aren’t any eggs fresher than those that you can get if you raise your own chickens.


2. High Quality Eggs and Meat

When you raise your own chickens, you manage their food supply, water supply, and living conditions. Take good care of your chickens, feed them a balanced diet, provide a good clean water supply, keep their coop clean, keep your flock healthy, disease free, and stress free, and in return, they will give you excellent quality eggs and meat.


3. Sustainable Food

As long as you provide for their needs properly, your chickens won’t care whether the Dow Jones average is up or down or what the price per barrel is for crude oil this week.  Your chickens can supply you with meat and eggs right through the toughest times.


4. Table Scraps

Does it bother you to throw yesterday’s wilted lettuce salad into the trash so that it can be carried off to the landfill?  Feed it to your chickens instead, as a supplement to their regular diet, and they can convert it to eggs for your table and fertilizer for your garden.


5. Garden Fertilizer

Chicken manure can be an excellent addition to your garden, particularly if you feed your chickens organic feed.  When cleaning out the coop, add the manure to your compost pile.


6. Stress Relief and Enjoyment

There are few things more relaxing and enjoyable than watching your chickens as they forage, chase grasshoppers and other garden pests, and do their other antics.  Many people say that watching their chickens helps them relax.


7. It’s Great for your Children and Grandchildren

From my experience, most children love chickens.  They love to feed them and gather the eggs. Helping care for the chickens helps children to grow up to become responsible, caring adults.

What are some of the ways that raising chickens has enriched your life?  Why do you raise chickens?

Courtesy of McMurray Hatchery Blog

Sunday, February 20, 2011

USF Microbiologist Tracks Pollution from Large Scale Chicken Operations

A USF microbiologist, Valerie Harwood, has found a source-specific micro-organism that she believes allows contaminated water to be traced back to poultry operations. Now that her approach has been validated in two peer-reviewed journals, it appears she was right and massive confined animal feeding operations may finally be held accountable for water pollution.

CLUCK TIPS: Ingenious Treadle Feeders Protect Chicken Feed and Minimize Waste

One goal with coop design is finding a way to feed the birds that minimizes waste and reduces the likelihood that anything other than chickens will end up eating the food. That saves on food and thwarts hungry vermin. Chickens like to vigorously swing their heads from side to side as they sort through pellets or grain looking for the choicest morsels. The result can be a lot of far-flung waste. Many feeders seek to minimize this by having the food level recessed and a lip that reduces scatter. That helps with waste but doesn't secure the food from other hungry grain eaters. The ultimate design therefore would allow chickens to feed but not other animals. The most common solution is to use the chicken's body weight to open the feeder since songbirds, mice, etc weigh less than chickens. This is obviously an in-coop solution since raccoons could easily learn to press the treadle for food if they could access it.