Sunday, January 3, 2016

Chickens For Eggs - Interviewed by Fred Hoffman, of "Get Growing" on KSTE

I was pretty darn excited to get an email the other day, from none other than Fred Hoffman, the Master Gardner and host of "Get Growing" on both KSTE and KFBK radio out of Sacramento. I listen to his local garden and farm show almost every weekend, and many times I have thought about reaching out to Farmer Fred to see if we could do a segment on chickens and backyard chicken keeping. His reaching out to me couldn't have been more perfect timing!

If you didn't get a chance to listen to my clip with Fred on Sunday, here are the links to hear the podcasts. We talked about how there are different chickens for different purposes, the PHI program, chickens in the garden, common pests on chickens, and some of my services. Fred is a talented producer! I had a fun time chatting with him.

The Garden Show, KFBK Podcast 

Get Growing with Farmer Fred, KSTE Podcast (second airing, my clip is at about 01:04:20) 

Check out Farmer Fred's website:

Fred asked me about the costs associated with keeping a few backyard chickens, and I realized that I never really answered his question during our interview! I will be putting something together in the next few weeks to help people gauge the costs involved. It was a good question!


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hear Me on Get Growing with Farmer Fred THIS Sunday, Jan. 3rd!

Super cool news!
I was interviewed for a 10 minute radio spot on Get Growing with Fred Hoffman, which will air THIS Sunday, January 3rd, at 8:35am on KFBK - Sacramento, am1530 or fm93.1

Please listen if you can! You can use the traditional radio format or stream online at iHeart Radio - Get Growing
You can also hear the show after that time via podcast.... go to the link above or to 

For those of you not familiar with Farmer Fred, I listen to him pretty regularly - he's a great resource for everything about growing and gardening locally. He has a fun & informative radio show and I always learn something new from both Fred and his guests. Here is his bio:

"Backyard gardeners throughout Northern California appreciate the advice of "Farmer Fred" Hoffman. Fred is a University of California certified lifetime Master Gardener and garden columnist. He is also a member of the Garden Writers Association of America. The "Get Growing" program offers the most complete gardening weather information, soil temperature data, pest management information, tips for organic gardeners, and more".

"Farmer Fred" is the senior broadcaster on Talk 650 KSTE. "Get Growing" is heard Sundays from 10am to 12noon on Talk 650 KSTE and the "KFBK Garden Show", 1530 KFBK-Sacramento, is heard on Sundays, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. 

Read more:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Planning for Spring Chicks

If you've been thinking about raising backyard poultry, now is the time to start thinking about some of the basics! Things like how many chickens you want to have, your coop-set-up, and what you'll need to have on hand are important to consider when raising chickens for the first time.

Ask yourself...
  • How many eggs do I need each week?
  • Do I want ornamental chickens or more functional chickens? Or both?
  • What kind of animal feed will I need?
  • Where will I put the coop? Will I build it myself or buy one pre-made?
  • Do I need an enclosed chicken-run or will they free-range?
  • Are there predators that I need to protect my chickens from, such as dogs, raccoons, hawks?
  • What kind of climate and weather conditions factor-in where I live?

If you need help with answering some of these questions and developing your chicken plan, please contact me and check out my consultations.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lice and Mites, Oh My!

Have you ever checked your chickens for two common pests, lice and mites?
Here is a video I put together a while back to help poultry owners know what to look for:


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Keeping Backyard Poultry Safe from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

There has been a lot in the news lately about HPAI:

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 has been confirmed in ONE commercial turkey flock in Waterford, Stanislaus County, California.   There have been no confirmed cases in backyard chickens.
As always, backyarders and fanciers are urged to practice good biosecurity.  Birds that have been exhibited at poultry shows should be quarantined when owners return home, before the birds are reintroduced to the home flock.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) was recently detected in migrating waterfowl in Butte County, California. Fortunately, this strain does not infect humans. However, commercial and backyard poultry raised near areas commonly used by migrating waterfowl are at risk.

  • USDA and HPAI
Since December 2014, USDA has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. Here is information to help you be better informed and advise bird owners, especially about biosecurity, should the need arise.

People want to know if THEY can get the bird flu they hear about in parts of Asia;
NO, the bird influenza we have here in the United States is not transferable to humans.

So what can you do as a backyard poultry keeper?

First, limit your bird's access to wild birds that migrate. It is believed that HPAI will be present in wild birds in all of the US flyways according to Dr. John Clifford, United States Chef Veterinary Officer (Avian Science Notes, October 2015).
Second, officials recommend that poultry be protected in their confinement areas by roofs made of a solid material. Most people already have chicken coops and pens with cage material to protect their chickens from predators. But by having a solid roof, it limits your flock's exposure to droppings and materials that could expose them to HPAI.
Third, pay attention to your chickens and know what a sick chicken looks like. By watching and engaging your flock on a regular basis, you will be able to quickly notice when one is not feeling well. Quickly isolate a sick bird and use good biosecurity practices. Contact your closest CAHFS (California Animal Health and Food Safety) lab with questions and consider taking your bird there for diagnosis. Their services are often FREE for backyard poultry fanciers!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eggciting News!
I have always wanted to say that, haha! Lodi has successfully passed the ordinance which now allows backyard hens. As of June 20, 2015 residents can now keep up to five hens legally, so long as they follow certain procedures:

"Lodi residents may own up to five egg-laying hens, provided that they are kept in backyard enclosures, feed is properly stored and sanitary conditions are maintained".
Huge kudos to Debbie Haesche for purposing the ordinance change to the Lodi City Council. Congratulations, Lodi! The actual ordinance is below.

Lodi 6.08.025 - Chicken hens permitted.                            
The total number of chicken hens allowed shall not exceed five in number on any one residential lot and may be kept purely for home consumption and not for commercial purposes, subject to the provisions of this code.                                             
A.Feed for chicken hens shall be contained and enclosed so as not to attract rodents, insects, and other vermin.               
B.Chicken hens shall be kept in the rear yard of residential units and not permitted in the front yard.               
C.Chicken hens shall be kept in fenced areas, cages or coops that are sufficiently adequate to prevent the chickens from escaping from the property and to prevent wildlife predators from gaining entry. Chicken hens must be secured at night in a predator-proof enclosure, cage or coop, to protect from dogs, coyotes, raccoons or other predators.               
D.It is unlawful to slaughter chicken hens within city limits.

(Ord. No. 1903, § 1, 5-20-2015)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our Next Chicken Classes!

We are super eggcited to be doing two *free* classes this spring at both Robinson's locations!

Sunday, March 22, 2015
1pm to 3pm
Robinson's Feed, Lodi Location
 1150 E Victor Rd, Lodi, CA 95240
Call Robinson's at (209) 368-2716 to pre-register!

Saturday March 28, 2015
1pm to 3pm
Robinson's Feed, Lockeford Location
13244 Locke Road, Lockeford, CA 95237 
Call Robinson's at (209) 727-5850 to pre-register!
If you are new to raising chickens or are thinking about getting some chicks, this is the place to be!
This is our fourth year of classes at Robinson's for people interested in having chickens in their backyard. It's a great chance to ask questions and learn tips about raising a flock of your own.

We'll talk about:

"Caring for Chicks"
Interested in raising chicks but don't know where to start? I'll cover how to set-up a brooder and care for your baby chickens in a way that will keep them healthy and safe. From what you need to know before bringing the chicks home to getting ready for them to move to the big chicken coop, I'll explain everything you need to know about raising chicks successfully.
"Chickens for Eggs - How to Get The Best Eggs From Your Laying Hens"
Knowing what your hens need is important when it comes to getting fresh eggs each day. I'll talk about what things can effect a hen's ability to lay eggs and what we can do as flock owners to get the most eggs from our hens.
"Common Chicken Concerns - The Basics of Keeping Your Flock Healthy"
As a chicken owner, you are responsible for keeping your birds healthy and treating them effectively if they become ill. Learn about common chicken concerns and what you can do to prevent problems, as well as how to take bio-secure measures with your backyard flock. I will also take some time to talk about common myths and best practices.

As always, Robinson's is offering some fantastic door/raffle prizes to all those who attend.
Please join us! For more information send an email to or call Robinson's at (209) 368-2716.