Neighbors Help Make Backyard Flocks Possible

Occasionally a friend visits us at Winding Pathways  He’s a retired professor of ornithology…a bird guy The first thing he does is “go visit our girls” These girls are our backyard chicken flock

 

Our chickens are attractions that entice friends here and are ambassadors of positive neighbor relations Our hens give us eggs while showing visitors how well these fascinating food producing animals fit into modern lives and suburban backyards

 

We live in an urban world A couple of generations ago most Americans grew up on farms or in small rural towns Although they now live in a modern suburb they

Urban Chickens

Families frustrated by ordinances banning backyard chickens might be astonished to learn that flocks legally thrive in the Big Apple, America’s largest city   Many New Yorkers tend chickens both in backyards and community gardens, encouraged and helped by the New York Chicken Guy, Greg Anderson   

 

“Chickens have always been allowed in the City  Years ago the State Department of Health declared  that chickens and rabbits are pets This means the citizens of New York City can keep them as long as they are clean and safe  Unfortunately roosters aren’t included since their crowing can reach

Adventures in Ordinance Change

During the past few years thousands of American families have started a backyard chicken flock Bringing a breakfast’s worth of fresh eggs into the house is as prideful and delicious as growing and enjoying home grown vegetables

 

Gardening is legal and encouraged everywhere But sadly, many towns have enacted ordinances banning chickens inside city limits Positive change is sweeping the nation   Town and city councils everywhere recognize that many citizens want to legally keep a small flock They are learning that it can be done without causing problems So, many towns have changed anti chicken ordinances to allow families to

Jersey Giants

They come with lustrous black, bright white, or blue feathers but Jersey Giants are really a mellow yellow chicken breed The reason goes back to the breed’s creation in the late 1800s

 

Back then, few families enjoyed chicken or turkey dinners for one reason It was expensive Birds of that long-ago era gobbled down plenty of food yet grew slowly

Raising them to market size was a slow and expensive process so, typically, chicken and turkey dinners were reserved for holiday meals and special meals served to guests

 

New Jersey chicken breeders John and Thomas Black were determined to make chicken a

A Chicken from Outside to Inside

People are familiar with mammal anatomy After all, we are one Dogs and cats are common companions and have body features, like hair and digestive and reproductive systems somewhat similar to humans

 

Birds are different They’re modern-day dinosaurs Whether they’re a Rhode Island Red chicken or a chickadee snatching sunflower seeds from a backyard feeder the anatomy of birds varies greatly from familiar mammals

 

Both types of animals have muscles and skin, but a bird’s feathers, digestive and reproductive system are very different from mammals From the outside to the inside of their bodies here are how birds, especially chickens Special

Creating Bold Yolks

Celebrity chefs know there’s more to food than taste They strive to deliver a meal that’s so handsome it’s as much a work of art as breakfast Sometimes it looks so good it seems a shame to attack it with a knife and fork

 

The best chefs are picky about eggs They insist on yolks with a deep golden hue   Whether they are just frying eggs or blending them into a complex recipe, that bold color impresses diners and makes chefs happy

 

Owners of backyard flocks are often like picky chefs They want their hens to lay distinctive eggs as attractive

Chicken Combs

Imagine a 36-foot-long duck billed dinosaur with a bright comb on its head strutting around the yard Those enormous beasts roamed North America between 65 and 75 million years ago and shared a feature with modern chickens  Both sported fleshy combs!

 

“No one ever suspected dinosaurs may have combs like roosters because the evidence of soft tissue usually decays before fossilization,” said Dr Phil Bell of Australia’s University of New England Fortunately, skin impressions found on a dinosaur skull in Alberta, Canada, revealed that this huge animal did have a fleshy comb somewhat like a chickens Other dinosaur species may

Saying Goodbye

As I weeded a patch of string beans one July morning, sadness overcame me

The plants were loaded with beans, but the silence got to me

 

My garden adjoins our chicken run Whenever I’m planting, weeding, or harvesting, our 14 hens are my companions They watch me from just beyond the fence and encourage my work with cheerful, expectant clucking The hens joyfully feast whenever I toss tasty weeds or vegetable thinnings over the fence  But, on that July morning no perky hens kept me company

Whenever we bring a pail of kitchen scraps

Rocks and Shells Are Good for Hen Health

If bread is the staple of human life, calcium is its backbone Lacking calcium, the bones of every living creature, from people to flounders, wouldn’t exist Without calcium neither clams nor bird eggs would have shells Chickens, and especially laying hens, need plenty of it to maintain both their health and laying ability

 

Laying hens have a calcium dilemma When chickens were wild birds roaming the Southeast Asian woodlands, they would only lay one or two clutches of eggs a year, maybe two dozen total Every egg removes calcium from the hen’s body, but when she didn’t lay many eggs,