Archive for July, 2016

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!

Show your support for Riverside chickens, Thurs., July 21.

The Village of Riverside is considering bees and chickens this Thursday.  A showing of support could help.

Come to the meeting on Thursday, July 21, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. in Room 4 of the Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road.  Alguire garden2

July 2, 2016: Home to Roost at Homegrown Bluegrass/Homestead Gathering

Come for the bluegrass, enjoy the homesteading classes, do some yoga, enjoy the bodywork!

Join me at Stonehouse Farm, 3719 Suydam Road, in Paw Paw, IL.

I’m speaking on Saturday, July 2, at 10 and 3.

For tickets and more information, go to the Eventbrite site.