Chicken Tuesdays Short Film Screening Tonight


Home to Roost and chicken owner Tim Norris provided chicken wrangling for a short film, Chicken Tuesdays, last year. Tonight is the private film screening. Lots of luck to director and writer Brandon Daley! See this post for pix from the filming.

Seeking proposal topics for Good Food Fest on March 18


We’re again recruiting presenters for short (20 mins) workshops in the Festival’s Good Food Commons, between 10:30AM and 4PM. 

The event is at the Good Food Festival, Sat March 18, at the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL).

As in the past couple years, ChiChickEns is coordinating the “Raise Your Own” section, seeking presenters on all livestock topics. You can cover the basics, and/or you can discuss a special skill or interest. Ideally you bring a demonstration critter (or two) and some supplies/equipment for show and tell.
Presentations are just 20 mins long and start every half-hour, from 10:30AM and ending at 4PM.
There’s a short form to fill out (and more info about the event) at this LINK. The button for the application is at the bottom of that page. The deadline for filling out the application is Feb 20.
Presenters get access to this fun and busy event (Sat), and you can also reserve a table to display your stuff on Fri (see the link for more on that.)
Feel free also to propose teaching a workshop in another Resource Area (Growing, Composting, Making, or Community Building), as you wish.
Event guidelines mention needing proof of insurance to display live animals — if you are not a small biz or organization with your own liability insurance, we can arrange for event coverage — please contact me, and I can point you in the right direction.
Also, if you have other questions, let me know!

Chicken Patriotism


Even chickens are feeling love of country these days. Jokgu the Brahma hen plays “America the Beautiful” on the piano – no, really!

Converting Chickens to a New Diet


I’ve gotten several calls lately about chickens who aren’t eating their (new) food. Here’s what’s likely going on.

Birds are persnickety creatures, and any change to routine or environment can upset the applecart: construction noises may cause them to stop laying, a new object in the cage/coop may be avoided at all costs out of fear, it may take a while to get used to a new coop.

Diets are no different. If you switch from a crumble to a pelleted diet, for example, your birds may avoid the new food completely.

Chicken feed comes in several forms: mash (finely ground), crumble (looks like Grape Nuts), pellets (the name gives it away!), and a mix of grains with pellets, grit, etc. If you are changing to a different form of food, your birds may not recognize the new stuff as food.

Not to worry – here’s what to do. For the first week or two, mix 25% new feed and 75% old feed. Then switch to 50% new 50% old for a week or two, followed by 75% new, 25% old for a week or two. Finally, you should be able to feed them the new diet at 100%.

During this process, observe the chickens and check their crops to make sure they are eating the new food. Birds have been known to starve themselves during a diet change.

 

2017 Urban Livestock Expo


Come out for the Urban Livestock Expo, Feb 18, 10-1, at the Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W 111th St, Chicago, Illinois 60655.

Ever considered how to keep bees, goats, chickens, ducks or quails in your backyard? Join AUA’s winter gathering for free, fun workshops on daily care, ideal breeds, how to troubleshoot common problems, and professionals’ tips for being a good neighbor with animals in the city!

All levels of expertise and interest welcome, from the experienced to the curious! In addition to these great workshops, students will guide us on behind-the-scenes tours of their livestock barn and aquaponics center!

Area urban livestock groups and businesses will also staff resource tables with information on further learning opportunities, support networks, sources of supplies and equipment, and more.

To power all that learning, we’ll have tasty local food and beverage vendors with us as well! Don’t miss this fun opportunity to expand your knowledge, connect with other practitioners, and get close to a goat. Spread the word to your networks, send questions to info@auachicago.org, and see you then!

**Unfortunately, Home to Roost will not able to attend this year due to chicken-keeping classes at the Morton Arboretum. 

 

Home to Roost’s 2017 event schedule is posted.


Check out my 2017 event schedule. Hope to see you in a class or at an event. If you’re interested in a class but have conflicts with the dates it is offered, I can do an in-home session. Just drop me a note!

To refrigerate or not refrigerate, that is the question.


Did you ever wonder why Europeans and other cultures don’t refrigerate their eggs?

Long story short, if you wash your eggs after you collect them, they must be refrigerated. If you don’t wash the eggs, they can be kept at room temperature.

An egg shell is naturally porous to allow an exchange of gases during incubation. When a hen lays an egg, her body secretes a protective coating that prevents bacteria from entering through the pores of the shell and water and oxygen from leaving the egg. This coating is called the cuticle, or bloom. When you wash an egg, you remove the protective coating, you are opening the egg up to bacterial contamination, which can be prevented by refrigeration. Once you wash and refrigerate the egg, however, it must stay refrigerated to prevent contamination. In addition to protecting eggs from bacteria, refrigeration also prolongs shelf life.

If you want to keep your eggs at room temperature, collect them and simply brush off dried fecal matter or gently sand any that is stuck to the shell. If you choose to display them at room temperature in an pretty basket or spiral egg holder, such as this one. When you are ready to use an egg, wash it an proceed with cooking.

If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, check out this article or this one.