Sunday, June 3, 2018

Practice Good Biosecurity & Protect Your Flock

 Virulent Newcastle Disease has entered our southern California region yet again! As backyard poultry owners, we have an obligation and responsibility to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this disease and be diligent about protecting our flocks.
I was recently interviewed as a PHI (CDFA Certified Poultry Health Inspector) on the KSTE Farm Hour with Farmer Fred, and explained some of the things backyard chicken keepers need to know. Please take a moment to listen! The link is below.

Click Here to Listen - go to 22.49 minutes, June 1st 2018

Want to learn more about VND? Visit  these other helpful links:


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Dealing With Summer Heat....Helping Your Flock Through Those Hot Days of Summer

Here in the central valley, we are gearing up for a whopping summer which includes many days of temps over 100 degrees! If you missed my chicken class about keeping chickens cool, here are some things you can do today that will help your chickens survive as the temps get hotter this summer:

  • DON'T WAIT....get the water bottles in the freezer so you'll be able to alternate (have one extra that is freezing while the other one is being used). Use the frozen bottles of water to give the chickens something cool to stay near when needed. Make sure your chickens have shade, and have a box fan ready to turn on to keep the air flowing (a timer works great).
  • DON'T FEED....hold back on the feed until either the late evening or early morning hours when its cooler. Avoid all scratch or corn when it's in the 90's or higher. Carbs create more body heat when digested, so help your feathered friends during the heat wave by staying away from the snacks.
  • COOL DRINKING a necessity. Change the water in your waterers frequently and use cool, fresh water with electrolytes or baking soda (1/4th cup per gallon) to help increase the blood pH "buffer" of your flock when they are at risk for heat stress.
  • WATCH....for signs of heat stress in your flock. They will naturally start moving less, drinking more, holding their wings from their body, and panting. A normal chicken's body temp runs around 106 degrees, and they do not have sweat glands - so when the air temps increase they have a tough time regulating their own body temp. Do what you can to help them keep cool using what I've suggested above - before their temps reach dangerous levels (if their core body temp reaches 115 degrees, they will likely die). 

Here is the original article on my Face Book page:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hear Me on KSTE - Get Growing with Farmer Fred, February 18th

Mark your calendar! Find me on the radio February 18th, with Farmer Fred!

I will be an in-studio guest on the KFBK "Garden Show" and KSTE's "Get Growing" from 9:30am to 11:30am February 18th. I'm super excited to be chatting again with Fred Hoffman, Lifetime Master Gardener, on his two radio programs!

The "KFBK Garden Show" on 1530-AM/93.1-FM KFBK in Sacramento, California (each Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific Time) is followed by "Get Growing" on Talk 650 KSTE  (from 10 a.m. to Noon). At noon, it's the KSTE Farm Hour. You can listen to all the shows, live, via the and websites.

If you can't listen while it airs live or via internet streaming, be sure to check back here for the links to the podcasts! You can find links to everything on Fred's web site, or on his Face Book page.

We'll be talking about everything from the pro's and con's of raising backyard chickens, winter chicken care, chick care, flock maintenance, and bio-security. This will be a great taste of what we will discuss at our chicken classes this spring (go to the Classes tab for more information).

Monday, January 29, 2018

Chicken Classes This Spring!

February 10, 2018 - 11am - sponsored by Farmer's Feed, Stockton 

"Raising Backyard Chickens - Baby Chicks 101"
This free class, hosted by Farmer's Feed in Stockton, is perfectly designed for those considering raising their own chickens or for those who would like to brush up on their poultry knowledge.

We'll talk about:
  • How to set-up a brooder and care for your baby chickens in a way that keeps them healthy and safe!
  • How to tell if your chick is sick - learn the signs of illness and what is normal and what isn't. Being able to identify a sick chicken quickly is an important skill of every backyard chicken keeper!
  •  Getting ready for your pullets to move into the big chicken coop
  • Other common chick concerns such as brooder temperatures, bio security, Coccidiosis, and feeding

Friday, January 26, 2018

Free Egg Contaminant Testing

This is a cool service! If you live in or have a poultry operation in the following counties, you may qualify for free egg contaminant testing provided by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (UCD SVM): 
·         Alameda
·         Butte
·         Contra Costa
·         El Dorado
·         Fresno
·         Imperial
·         Kern
·         Los Angeles
·         Lake
·         Mendocino
·         Napa
·         Nevada
·         Orange
·         Placer
·         Sacramento
·         San Benito
·         San Diego
·         San Bernadino
·         Santa Barbara
·         Santa Clara
·         Shasta
·         Solano
·         Sonoma
·         Tulare
·         Ventura
·         Yuba

UC Davis is testing eggs for two different types of contaminants, depending on what county you live in....

Fire Contaminant Testing

For: BACKYARD CHICKENS in Butte, Lake, LA, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Ventura, and Yuba counties.
Due to the fires, there is concern about backyard chickens ingesting contaminants from the ground and transmitting these to their eggs. UCD SVM is interested in testing eggs from these backyard flocks for various contaminants such as heavy metals, building materials, chemicals, etc. 
Results will be shared individually with each owner, and cumulative results will be summarized and made available to the general public. 

Heavy Metal Contaminant Testing

For: COMMERCIAL or BACKYARD CHICKENS in Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, LA, Napa, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, San Bernadino, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, and Tulare counties.
Due to observation of high lead levels in the environment, there is concern that commercial and backyard chickens are being exposed to a level that could pose a public health risk. UCD SVM is interested in testing eggs from these birds for various contaminants such as Pb, PCBs, and PBDEs. 
Results will be shared individually with each owner, and cumulative results will be summarized and made available to the general public. 

Contaminant Testing Instructions

If you are interested in submitting eggs, please ship up to 6 eggs from your flock inside a carton and wrap the carton with bubble wrap and/or ship in a box with packing peanuts. For more detailed instructions and examples of how to pack your eggs, please watch this video.
Please include the following information and ship to the address below:
Requested information to include:
Address where hens reside
Number of hens in flock
Date eggs were collected
Ship eggs to:
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
1 Shields Drive
Bldg VM3B Room 4007
Attn: Dr. Maurice Pitesky
Davis, CA 95616

Special thanks for this being shared on California Chickens!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall Chicken Classes - Oct 14th and November 4th

We have some GREAT free fall classes coming up in October and November!

October 14th, 1:30 pm - "Keeping Chickens Healthy - What to Keep in Your Flock's First Aid Kit", sponsored by Farmer's Feed.

We'll talk about:
  • How to tell if your chicken is healthy and well  - everyone wants healthy, happy chickens...but how can you tell if they are doing well and productive?
  • How to tell if your chicken is sick - learn the signs of illness and what is normal and what isn't. Being able to identify a sick chicken quickly is an important skill of every backyard chicken keeper!
  • First steps to take if your chicken might be sick - if you have a sick chicken, what do you do first? What are good bio-security techniques to use so you can protect the rest of your flock?
  • Common chicken concerns such as wounds, Coccidiosis, Fowl Pox, Infectious Bronchitis, external parasites

November 4th, 1:30pm - "Setting-Up & Winterizing Your Coop", sponsored by Farmer's Feed.
We'll talk about:
  • What your chickens need during the cold & rainy months to stay protected from the elements
  • If your chickens REALLY need a heater in their coop  to stay warm at night
  • What to watch-out for, and common red-flags when the weather turns stormy, such as feed issues, health issues, and egg issues
  • Common tips and tricks - what kind of coop you need and how big! Set-up options and what to consider when deciding on a coop lay-out
 So come on down to Farmer's Feed these two Saturdays, and learn something new about backyard chicken keeping! Farmer's Feed is located in Stockton, on the corner of Alpine and Miner. Contact them for questions at (209) 465-5739.

'Have a topic you'd like us to cover in the future? Send me an email!