Chicken Nipple Waterering Systems

...r who has tried our deep bedding suggestion but is having trouble keeping the chicken waterer clean as a result. Chickens are certainly expert at fouling (fowling?) their water source. Which is why many people use nipple waterers like the one above. Chickens learn to use them quickly (they like to peck at things, after all). I’ve seen two DIY options: the simplest is a suspended five gallon bucket with nipples stuck in the bottom (as in th...

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Chicken Talk at the LA Green Fest Saturday November 17

I’ll be doing a talk about keeping chickens on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm at the Los Angeles Green Festival. Topics will include: How to construct a chicken coop What’s involved in keeping chickens Predator proofing What to feed your chickens Chicks vs. pullets The Green Festival will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Kentia Hall, 1201 South Figueroa Street. The convention center is right n...

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The Hen: An Appreciation

...Reading the fine book, On Writing Well, I came across this passage by E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web) about chickens, proving that nothing ever really changes: From “The Hen: An Appreciation,” which is found in the book of essays, The Second Tree from the Corner, by E.B. White, 1944: Chickens do not always enjoy an honorable position among city-bred people, although the egg, I notice, goes on and on. Right now the hen is in favor...

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The Perfect Chicken Coop?

...m the outside so you don’t have to go in the coop to collect eggs. It has a roof over the run to keep your chickens dry. It’s the basic form I used for our coop with a few refinements–I ran hardware cloth under run to keep out burrowing predators. I also extended the run to keep the chickens from pecking at each other (the more room they have the better). To paraphrase Nassim Taleb for the second time in a week, if a given desi...

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Mistakes we have made . . .

...guilty of. Simply put, we’ve failed to detail all our blunders. These mistakes and accidents, some funny, others painfully disappointing, have more instructional value than our successes. And oh, how many blunders there have been in the past ten years. It’s about time to round up the top 6. I’m sure there are many more that I’ve forgotten, but here’s a start. 1. Installing a water garden. That water garden looks gre...

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It Quacks Like a Duck

...hat the folks at Petaluma Urban Homestead have had the brilliance of exploring the world of ducks in addition to chickens. The Petalumans correctly describe the garden destroying power of chickens as “like having teenagers around”. As much as we enjoy our chickens we can confirm this. On their blog the Petalumans describe some of the virtues of the less destructive duck: Bill Mollison once said something like, “You don’...

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Simple Tech

...time we in the first world used some of these low-tech ideas–say by replacing our iPhones with a flock of chickens? Do you know how many chickens you can get for the price of an iPhone? Two hundred. Of course your deluxe $100 iPhone calling plan courtesy of AT&T will only pay for around 400 pounds of chicken feed a month, so the fiscally prudent will trim that flock down to around 65 chickens. Of course if you let that flock catch the...

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Chicken Cannibalism!

...to have taken care of the problem. Sure we may lose a hen or two to hawks and cats, but that seems a better fate than being eaten alive by one of your own kind. We’ve also switched to a higher protein feed to see if that will help as there is a minority opinion in poultry farming that chickens resort to cannibalism as a result of protein deficiencies. Most commercial poultry farms take care of cannibalism by cutting off beaks when the chick...

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Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

...e gills and frantically taking notes. I suppose we helped with the plucking. When Steve invited us back for this Thanksgiving slaughter, we accepted. First, it’s just neighborly to help others with heavy tasks. “Many hands make light work” and all that. And we like hanging out with Steve. And we wondered if it would be easier the second time around. (It wasn’t.) We had a fourth pair of hands, too–our friend, Christi...

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The Barrier Method

...r gauges of row covering can be used to ward off frost, or help jump start plants in cold weather. Our chickens have a very secure coop. Connected to it is some extra play space, bounded by picket fence. This doesn’t protect the chickens from much, but they only use it during the day, when predators are few. It’s more to protect our garden from them. But I hope you can see the twine that stretches from picket to picket. Thes...

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