Sunday, November 1, 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.


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.
Map courtesy of UC Davis
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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Are you Ready for Baby Chicks?

This is the time of year people start thinking about how great it would be to have some baby chicks. These days there are so many different kinds (breeds) to choose from! And  if you buy some chicks this spring, most will give you fantastic, fresh eggs by July or August when they reach about six months of age.

When looking for a breed best for eggs, go with a dual purpose bird (one that can lay eggs well and be used for meat when desired). This group will give you the most options when it comes to color (feather variety), size, and temperament.

Do you want a fun chicken that is colorful to the eye, or a no-nonsense chicken? What color egg do you want....white? Pink? Brown? Dark brown? Blue? Green? They can come in all sizes and shades, depending on the breed of chicken you bring home.

How many eggs do you want to have each week for breakfast? A laying hen will lay about one egg every day and a to get about a dozen eggs a week, you will need two to three hens.

If you need some help on raising chicks or advice on how to set up your coop, feel free to contact me for details about a consultation! You won't regret it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spring Time = Hatching Time!

Early each spring, my poultry friends begin to get their birds ready for the breeding season. For those who exhibit and show chickens, this is a vital time of year; it's serious business! Preparing breeding pens, charting genetics, making sure the birds are healthy, and laying - is a busy process. The birds that breeders hatch now will determine their success at shows later in the year.

For me and my family, it involves seeing how much room we have, and when the chicks will hatch....they are babies that need care and a watchful eye. Breeding and hatching is the easy's the post-hatch care that takes the most time and effort.

If you are considering raising poultry for the first time and want to start with baby chicks, take care to learn what it takes and get the supplies you need before your chicks arrive. Plan ahead, have everything ready, and enjoy your new additions!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Chickens for Eggs is a consulting service for people interested in becoming owners of backyard chickens, as well as providers of specialized poultry care while you are away from home. Whether you are new to chickens or a seasoned flock owner, we can assist you with....

  • Choosing particular breeds of chickens that match your intended purpose (such as laying hens for eggs, rare breeds for a colorful flock, or pure-bred poultry for exhibition)
  • Coop set-up and design, as well as best space options and functionality
  • Feed and supplement recommendations
  • Identifying common poultry illnesses and causes, as well as possible treatment (including referral to an Avian Veterinarian)
  • The care of chicks and adult birds
  • "Best Practices" when it comes to coop bio security and sanitation
  • Poultry behavior and personalities
  • Predator protection recommendations
  • Emergency "911" chicken situations
  • And so much more!

No matter what your poultry need, we offer consultation services by phone, email, or in person (where available in the San Joaquin & Sacramento Valley/Gold Country/Foothills/Delta region). Contact us today for more information on rates and what we can provide - email us at

"We're very impressed with your consulting service. You gave great advice and the thing we loved most about you was that your advice was "practical advice". You are awesome!!!!
I will recommend you to any of my chicken geek friends" - Melody & Robb

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Top Ten Signs You Have a Special Chicken

My friend and peer, Jennifer Murtoff, is the person who inspired me to become an "urban chicken consultant" a few years back. She is genuine, giving, and successfully started her own chicken consulting business in the Chicago area.

She shared this super-funny "Top Ten List" of David Letterman's on her blog, and I had to pass it along! Here is the video clip: