Saturday, October 26, 2013

LB Children's Clinic Health Fair Fun

Today our three little Angels, did some PR for backyard chickens.  They were a big hit with all the kids and their families.  Many wanted to pet and hold them and were so excited.  Up close they marveled at how pretty their feathers are and loved how soft their feathers are.  The little Angels are about 4 months old and their mommy is a rhode island red and their daddy is a white frizzle bantam cochin.  They are super friendly but after a  little scratchy were pretty bored.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Learning About Native Plants with Sylvia

This weekend Sylvia held a wonderful event for the LA Urban Chicken Enthusiasts.  She presented information about how to created a Certified Wildlife Habitat in her West Side home.  She first removed her grass, added a dry river bed and plants a wide a array of plants and developed a site that included all the elements to support wildlife, water, shelter, forage and a place to raise their young.

 She also told us how she designed her coop and even arranged for us to go to her daughter's house to see their coop.  It was Sylvia's granddaughter that had thought it would be a great idea for her to have chickens.  Sylvia is no stranger to chickens and she had a picture of her with chickens as a little girl.

We had a bleach foot bath to decontaminte shoes before attendees walked around Sylvia's yard and asked for anyone with chickens to have fresh clothes to help with biosecurity to prevent the inadvertent transmission of infections.

Thank you, Sylvia, again for such a well organized event.

The Babies Are All Grown Up

Peanut has kicked her little babies to the curb and sees them as just plain annoying.  But they haven't forgotten their mommy.  One of her little angels still tries to sleep with her even though it means being pecked and that they don't really fit under anymore at 4 months of age!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We Love Our Baby Chicks

OK Update on Peanut, our special Rhode Island Red hen. I was surprised when she started to act broody.  I didn't know that RIRs were ever broody but our wise group let me know that heritage RIRs are great mommies!  Now she's got three little cute chicks that she hatched from herself and Frosty our frizzle rooster. They're 3 weeks old now and wonderfully friendly and I might even say i think that they are girls. I could sit all day holding Peanut and the three of them. They like to sit on her back and we all take quicky naps together.

Here's a super cute video of one of the chicks not even a week old dust bathing with her mommy. It's funny to see her get kicked around and loving it.

 I love Peanut and her babies.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Support Chickens, Bees and Goats at the Long Beach City Council Meeting 7/16 5pm

It's the big moment when the Long Beach City Council will address the proposed changes to allow more people to have chickens, goats and bees.  The proposed changes to the municipal code is a bundle right now but the council members can ask for any kind of changes.  We are awaiting the proposed agenda and we are hoping that there will be a revised version of the changes.  You never know which way things will go and it would be best to email the representatives ahead of time as they will likely be reviewing opinions now!  Here are people you can contact to show your support of making urban agriculture more accessible to the people of Long Beach and changes in Long Beach will hopefully help out people trying to changes codes in other cities.  If you are in support please send the city a message, otherwise they won't know.

The city council meeting is held in the city chambers at 333 W Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA.  There is a time for public commentary at which time you can say something in support of chickens, goats and bees.  Hope to see you there.

From the last city meeting (below) so there may have been changes but as soon as there is updated info, I'll change it here.

The Long Beach City Environmental Committee has posted the recommended changes to the city code.

Please take a look.  One of the strangest things is that water and food need to be given every 12 hours.  That's silly.  You need to have your home inspected before a license can be issued.  And the worse, is that the "inspector" can determine if there is anything else that would be of concern that would not allow a license to be given in addition to many other things.  There is also something that says that the enclosure needs to be cleaned daily so technically deep litter wouldn't be allowed.

The City's current ordinance allows livestock in some areas of Long Beach, but not in others. The Environmental Committee is considering an ordinance that may standardize the City's livestock ordinance throughout the City, and create new standards for allowing chickens, goats and bees in residential areas.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Great Tips For Coop Building

I love what I just found on Urban Chickens which had a link to this great list of tips.  When you go to the site just click on the tiny pic and it's easy to read.  You'll love it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ultimate Way To Say, "I Love My Chickens"

It's very LA to show your love and devotion to your chickens by getting an incredible tattoo.  Artist, Mike DeVries, is in Northridge and has created this remarkable image.  Almost seems like he's going to peck you if you look at him the wrong way.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Children's Chicken Art

I was delighted to see some of the thank-you pictures that Erik and Kelly got after a school class visited their urban homestead.  Here's a sample of what the created after watching their chicken frolic in their coop and dust bathe.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sprouting, Fermenting, Fodder and Kombucha Fun

Featured Chicken Enthusiasts:  Marcella, Dave, and Amanda

Last weekend Marcella hosted our meetup for Sprouting, Fermenting, Fodder and Kombucha.  She had a great set-up with an area to project our screen for a little Chicken Enthusiast Blog and seed/sprouting 101 science.  Dave discussed how to sprout the easy low tech way with upcycled nut containers.  What was even more creative was adding a step for inoculating the sprouts with a lactobacillus mixture to further boost the nutritional and health value of the sprouts.  Still writing will finish this up later today. Stay tuned, just need to run a chicken errand.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chicken of the Day: Peanut

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Roberta, Long Beach

I'm a fun loving chicken  who just wants to run free to check out the yard.  I love to scratch in the moist soil and find insects to eat.  I ignore the dogs and they ignore me.  I was named because I turned out to be a girl after being a packing peanut for some of my sisters.  I my mommy's favorite. I'm 8 months old and am a Rhode Island Red.  I'm the first out of the coop every time.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken of the Day, Nugget

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Amanda, Brentwood

Hi, I'm Nugget.  My mommy gives me fermented food everyday because she loves me.  Mommy tells everyone I'm so sweet!  I'm a dainty eater but a fierce protector of my turf....  when you least expect it.

Nugget is 18 months old and is a black bantam cochin.
Nugget Just coming out of a molt so still looking a little ragged. Feathered Feet... 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

We Love Our Granny Chickens

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Laura, Los Angeles and Andie, Los Angeles

Many of us consider our chickens as pets and not "live stock" or "farm animals", they are really family members.  And just like all of us, grow older and eventually retire and don't lay eggs as often or completely stop.  It's natural.  Their cute behavior and willingness to be hugged is all we ask for, oh and their poop for the garden.  Well I asked about Grannies on our message board, 3 of which I adopted from someone.  They hadn't laid at all since i got them and I was keeping them separated from the rest of the flock because I didn't want to bother them with the annoying antics of the younger ones.  Laura had a great response about her older hens.  This is what she posted.
My older birds, who are only about a year older than the younger ones, sometimes seem to be muttering under their breathes "Kids these days with their roller skates and their hula wasn't like this when was that age! We had respect, goldurnit!" and then they aim a vicious peck at the younger hens. 
And then Andie related her hen's story which was also great!
We just got a golden egg! One of our old ladies, Quark (4 yr old Golden Laced Wyandotte), just laid her third egg after a year and a half of nothing! My husband and I keep laughing because her comb has gotten so pink and plump that it's a miracle she can see out from underneath it! Her wattles are so bright red they glow from a distance. Our grannies range in age from 4 - 6 and they haven't pushed an egg out in ages. We assumed they were all in "hen-o-pause" but I can't tell you how amazing it was to taste one of their spectacular eggs again instead of store-bought. The girls are in for the shock of their lives, since we just ordered 6 babies for a June arrival! The thought of going through integration again is very stressful so wish us luck!
Quark, exhausted but self-satisfied after delivering an egg...relaxing on the lounge chair underneath the weight of her immense and glowing comb (and wattles)! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Improving the City Codes for Backyard Hens

During out last legalization meeting we discussed contacting our council members to tell them that we support backyard hens.  Many times council members are unfamiliar with the benefits of backyard flocks and they want to be educated.  The recent paper by Jaime Bouvier is a well written and thorough review of the issue.  Neither pro nor con and is available on the web.  I suggest that everyone read it and email or print this information for their council members, friends and neighbors if there are concerns or they just want to become more educated on the top.

Illegal Fowl: A Survey of Municipal Laws Relating to Backyard Poultry and a Model Ordinance for Regulating City Chickens

September 2012

Citation: 42 ELR 10888
Issue: 9
Author: Jaime Bouvier
As the movement toward keeping backyard chickens continues to grow, many cities are facing the decision of whether to allow residents to keep chickens and, if so, how to effectively regulate the practice. A survey of municipal ordinances in the top 100 most populous cities in the United States that concern keeping and raising chickens offers lessons that may be applied to designing a model ordinance. This survey reveals that chickens are, perhaps surprisingly, legal in the vast majority of large cities. The survey also identifies regulatory norms and some effective and less effective ways to regulate the keeping of chickens. A proposed model ordinance, based on the background information and survey results, could be adopted by a city or easily modified to fit a city’s unique needs.

Jaime Bouvier is Visiting Legal Writing Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

The Contents include:
I. The Benefits of Backyard Chickens
II. Cities’ Concerns With Backyard Hens
III. Some Necessary Background on Hens for Developing Urban Hen-Keeping Ordinances
IV. The Current State of Municipal Ordinances Governing Backyard Chickens
V. Model Ordinance

We had a good legalization meeting which was well attended and at the same time we aren't speaking about hundreds of people wanting chickens, this is really about 10-20 people interested in any particular city who can't keep chickens based on current codes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chicken Gifts

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Azalea, Mount Washington

I love Azalea and  Marc who have helped me start my black soldier fly composting bin.  They totally get my chicken obsession and find the cutest gifts.  Here's the bobble head chicken they found in Mexico.

And one of the best gifts of all time is the chicken carrying basket from Thailand.  I would have taken a picture with one of the girls but I can't get any of them to stay in it.  Oh well, it's a cute idea.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sidekick and Pip-squeak Find a New Home

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Roberta, Long Beach

Earlier this month Rishi posted on our message board that he was looking for chickens and a bunny to grow his animal family in Diamond Bar at the Growing Home.  

Hey friends,
Well with the new coop up we have plenty of room for our birds, and I'd like to add 2 more to our flock. Anyone looking to downsize their laying flock? I'd prefer red/pink egg layers, and I can offer $10/bird. 
Also, I'm looking for a male bunny as a companion to a female that we have who is lonely. 
The Growing Home

Well, I believe that things are meant to be and I happened to have two chickens and a bunny looking for a home.  And now they are with Rishi.  Just knowing that they will be loved is important  and we even helped build their coop.  They were raised by Little Mama who is an English game hen who went broody at just a few months old.  She knew exactly what to do and those chicks turned out to be perfect.  Sidekick would also jump onto our outstretched had but Pip would never let us hold her.  If we tried to touch her she would cry like we were killing her.  But they both ran to us when we came in the room because they knew they would get some special treat.  I miss them but know they have a great home.  

Not even a day old and super duper cute!

A week old and looking pretty like their adopted mommy.

Pip on the left and Sidekick on the right with Little Mamas wings tucking them in for bedtime.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ginormous Yolk

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Roberta, Long Beach

It's so interesting to have fresh backyard eggs.  I have loved eggs since I was little.  There is something special about each egg that you don't know about when the factory produced eggs are sorted to have exactly the same size egg from very similar chickens.  The odd ball eggs are sorted out and never packaged.  I cracked a couple of eggs and one of the yolks was ginormous.  The was nothing special in size but this yolk was a big surprise.  I love the yolks so I can't wait for this to happen again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Chicken Lover's Valentine's Day

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Lauren, Upton (MA)

Lauren is a wonderful artist and author who has written a new book for chicken lovers.  She has a great blog called Scratch and Peck that I love reading.  Today she put up a wonderful Valentine's Day card for all the chicken lovers in the world or at least people who wished their chickens loved them more than the food that we give them....  Read more about her cute chickens on her blog. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easter Bunny Delivery

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Roberta, Long Beach

Here is our Easter Bunny helping choose the eggs to deliver to one of our Wrigley neighbors.  We aim for a good selection with the names of the chickens and what breed they are.  I hope the neighbors like the eggs.  Bunny not included.

Ginormous Egg Today

Featured Chicken Enthusiasts:  Roberta, Long Beach

Monday, February 11, 2013

Deep Litter Heats Up!

Featured Chicken Enthusiast:  Roberta, Long Beach

Ok, deep litter for the coop is not supposed to be compost but somehow I crossed that line of perfection.  Probably because I've been giving the girls LOTS of weeds from a neighbors yar.  I was in the coop today and looking at the the serious lack of identifiable litter.

Litter after a 3-4 months of being scratched around and almost like dirt.

There was also a hint of chicken poop ordor which i usually can't smell when mixed with the fresh pine shavings.  Plus the litter was spilling into the nest box so it was time to remove some to the compost pile.  As I pulled out the litter, I could see some crab grass stems and the oat hulls and just a hint of the pine shavings that I add for litter.    Most of the shavings had decomposed into a fine dust.  Definitely no poop in site because the poop had been scratched into the litter.

Up close look at the litter.

The litter is usually a little warm but as I shoveled the litter out I could see and feel the steam of heat rising up for the coop floor.  I pulled out the compost thermometer and I stuck it into the floor and I was amazed as the little needle rose quickly and slowed down all the way to 130 degrees!   And at the time the air temperature was 60 degrees.  So the ground in the coop was 70! degrees warmer.

Boy that's pretty hot.  Good thing, it's not summer!

Whoa, it's really hot composting.  Not sure if it's a good thing or not but I like that the poop is disappearing without any effort.  I found a few eggs that had been pushed out of the nest box and one was almost hot to the touch.  I wasn't sure if they could have started to develop since they are fertilized so I cracked one open and I was shocked to find that the darn egg had been hard-cooked!  I removed about 5 or 6 5 gallon batches into the composter.  This is the first time I've removed the litter after a year.  Usually I just add more on top but it's just a little too deep now.  Each time I left the girls would run into the spot that opened up and they put their little feet into the warm spots.  After bringing down the level about 6 inches I added the fresh pine shavings.

A surprising amount of shavings hide in this package. 

Dump the shavings onto the floor

Mmmm, I love the smell of fresh pine shavings and it looks just like it has snowed in the coop.  I add some grains and weeds so that they get into the new shavings to spread it out.  Watch them eating the nut grass.  In no time they were rolling around in the shavings and the coop smelled sweet.

I don't worry about spreading it out as the chickens have all day to do that for me. 

Peanut is always the first to jump into new things.

Adding a few things to get the litter party started.