Friday, December 13, 2013

Upcoming Poultry Classes

I am excited about the great line-up of classes I'm presenting beginning this January. I'm featuring classes for the new chicken keeper, along with topics for those of us who are currently keeping chickens and want to learn more. To register for any class featured below, contact Shawn at City Folks Farm Shop.

Classroom at the Urban Coop
Wednesdays,  Jan 15 to March 5, 2014 6:30 to 8pm  Cost: $99
This is an 8-week class series on keeping chickens in an urban setting. We will cover everything from permitting and city code, raising chicks to egg production and health and safety. Certificate presented.

Working for Chicken Feed
Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 6:30pm  Cost: $25
In this one night class, we will cover everything you need to know about maintaining a healthy diet for your backyard flock. This workshop coincides with the introduction of a bulk grains section at City Folks Farm Shop. We will be blending up some tasty chicken feed that you could serve for breakfast at your own table!  Bring a spoon for this hands-on course.

Chicken Boot Camp
Wednesdays, March 19-April 2, 2014  Cost: $45
Ready, set, go!  This jam packed 3-week intensive on keeping chickens may leave your head spinning!  We will cover all the basics of urban poultry care. Homework is required!

Poultry 2.0+
Tuesdays, March 18-April 8, 2014  Cost: $65
Join local "friends of a feather" as we explore more advanced topics such as: successfully increasing your flock, diagnosing illness and other chicken maladies, developing your own feed recipes, other poultry such as geese, turkeys, quail, ducks, etc.

To register, contact Shawn at City Folks Farm Shop  614.946.5553

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snow Chickens

Now that we have had several snowfalls here in Central Ohio, you have probably experienced the amusement of watching your chickens deal with the snow. Each flock is different and individuals deal with it differently.

For the most part, my hens were snow woosies.  They did not want to get their feet wet, or the snow was too cold, or whatever.  I'm sure it was complaining that I heard in their voices. If there was snow outside of the pop hole door in the morning, the boss hens would gaze outside and contemplate their next move.  Usually, the decision was to go out, but how to avoid the snow was the question.  Many times there were bare spots near the coop, which would allow the girls access to the outside without having to walk on the snow. Usually, a couple hens would "accidentally" walk in the snow, and then they would realize that it really wasn't the big deal they initially made it out to be. At that point, it was OK to walk in the snow. Such drama queens!

I always loved the tenacity of my hens.  Most wanted to be outside, not matter what.  This group of hard core hens usually included several Barred Rocks. I did have a few though, who took one look outside and turned around. Some would attempt to fly onto a bare spot, giving it their best effort, but usually falling short. Some would opt to stay in, others would leap to perches or bare spots outside. If the boss hens took too long deciding on their course of action at the door, sometimes a more timid, but very determined bird would tuck and run towards outdoor freedom, getting pecked the whole way. This usually resulted in the timid runner shrieking as she exploded out the door, leap-flying her way toward a bare spot or safe place to perch. This was usually a Leghorn, but occassionally my Americana hens would do this too.

Even tho I had thousands of chickens, I babied them as much as I could. Most times, after a big snow, I would lay down some old hay or straw outside of their pop hole door and around in the paddock area. A few arm fulls, or a couple flakes of hay made a very nice mat for the hens to walk on outside. Some days, the wind was just too strong or too cold, and I did not open the doors for them that day. Those days they got other treats and goodies to keep them busy such as an old cabbage, pumpkins, sunflower heads, or expired produce I managed to procure from one of my egg accounts.

All in all, hens get through the snowy season just fine. Encourage your girls to get outside. They need the sun this time of year. Enjoy their snowy season antics!