Timberfeast Local, Woodland Raised Meats


Check out this farm, which I learned about on the Sugarbeet Co-Op Edible Garden Tour:

Timberfeast is the love project of Mark Brady and Katie Kennedy, two young farmers proudly and compassionately raising pastured animals and pesticide-free vegetables in the small town of Chatsworth, Illinois where Mark’s family has been farming for over six generations. We are honored and humbled to co-create with the animals and the Earth to provide the best, most nourishing, nutrient dense food we can for you and your families.

Rodent issues?


 

Do you have mice in your coop? Those pesky little visitors stop by looking for spilled feed, a dry place to hang out (or even worse, to make a nest – and produce more pesky little visitors).

Many rat and mouse baits are toxic to cats, dogs, and chickens – and all of these animals will happily make a quick snack of a rodent who’s had a bit too much toxin. So what to do?

A few ideas:

  1. Put your feeder at the height of the chickens’ backs. This will prevent them from swishing food onto the ground.
  2. Switch to a pelleted feed to minimize spillage.
  3. Purchase a weight-activated feeder. These feeders will open for chickens — but not for mice, rats, or sparrows!
  4. Try keeping your feeder in the coop all the time – and make sure to close the birds – and their feeder — in at night. Rats and mice are nocturnal (out most often at night), and this will limit their access to prime-time feeding.
  5. Mix hot pepper into your feed. Birds cannot taste capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers “hot,” but mammals sure can! Just be sure you don’t breathe in the pepper dust or touch your eyes while handling the feed.
  6. Build a better (nontoxic) mousetrap. Check out this idea from Backyard Chickens: Drill a hole in the bottom of a soda can. Place can on a dowel rod so that it spins. Drill holes in the top of a 5-gal. bucket so that the dowel rod (with the soda can on it) fits in the holes and spans the diameter of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the soda can. Place a ramp up to the bucket. The mice will smell the peanut butter, run up the ramp, try to get the peanut butter on the spinning soda can, and fall into the bucket. Dispose of rodents as you see fit!

Silkie roo looking for home


Contact Kathryn Humphreys, kathrynhumphreys4@gmail.com

Archimedes, 5 month old white Silkie rooster, vaccinated, in need of new home. Contact before 8/20/16.

Helping Your Chickens Survive the Dog Days of Summer


Help your chickens beat this crazy hot and humid weather!

As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat. When temperatures reach the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. In temperatures above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an air-conditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage).

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.

Sugar Beet Edible Garden Tour in Oak Park, July 26, 9 am-2 pm


At the peak of growing season you will get an insider’s peek into the edible gardens of our neighbors in Oak Park and Austin.  You are invited from 9 am- 2:00 pm into beautiful private gardens to learn more about urban agriculture and get inspired to grow your own food!  Cycling from garden to garden is encouraged.  This is a day of learning, fun and enjoyment!  No dogs, please.

Home to Roost will be at 1153 S. Elmwood.

For more information, see the webpage. 

 

CDC Reports 611 Cases of Salmonella from Backyard Chickens


The CDC recently has linked 611 cases of Salmonellosis with backyard poultry.  While these cases are not cause for widespread alarm or banning of chickens altogether, they serve as a reminder to practice good hygiene around the birds. Their waste may harbor Salmonella and E. coli, so handwashing is important when you come in from the coop. Exercise common sense in handling your birds, as you would with other animals.

Washing your hands is one of the top ways experts suggest to protect yourself.

After you handle live poultry, feed live poultry, or touch its backyard coop or living space,wash your hands vigorously for 20 seconds or more with soap and water, then dry them with a clean towel. Have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy in case you can’t get to a sink right away, says Elizabeth Scott, PhD, co-director of the Center for Hygiene and Health at Simmons College in Boston.

“If possible, wash your hands outdoors, not at the kitchen sink,” Scott says. “You do not want to be rinsing salmonella off your hands and into the kitchen sink, and you don’t want to use the kitchen sponge or dishrag either. The salmonella can proliferate in both.”

You should also clean any feeding dishes or other equipment outside. Do not bring them indoors. (from WebMD)

These are fairly simple measures that you can take to ensure health and enjoy your chickens.

 

 

 

Chickens Reduce Malaria Risk


Yet another great reason to love chickens! The next time you’re in Ethiopia, sleep with a chicken to reduce your risk of getting bitten by the malaria-carrying mosquito!

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