Don’t ask why, but the photograph of the girl above made me want to analyze what we’ve learned from raising and caring for chickens for twenty-one years.
When we began, we knew very little. I sought resources like the internet, books, videos; and I talked to experienced people as needed. But mostly we learned from doing day-to-day stuff, acquiring knowledge through trial and error. At first, we observed the fowl so much that we noticed they had their own personalities. Over time, we stopped thinking of the birds as our pets. Although we’ve become more detached and consider them livestock, we’ve always taken special care in providing them with an ideal quality-of-life.
Check out my list organized by subjects with examples under each heading.
What we’ve learned from raising and caring for chickens
Interpreting a chicken’s needs by their five sounds (alarm, laying, need water or food, bored). How to train them where to lay. Catching and holding them properly. What to do with a broody hen? How to get a flock of chickens to go back into their coop by tapping a stick. Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Cannibalism in action. How to keep the fowl stimulated and content. How to increase their egg-laying production with probiotics and specific greens.
Chicken anatomy and diseases. Characteristics of the breeds and which ones lay the most eggs. How to clip their wings and beaks. How to “harvest” a chicken. How to fill a water and a food feeder.
How to build a coop. Designing egg laying boxes and making a “nesting” area with straw. How to safeguard fowl from predators like: raccoons, jays, dogs, hawks and owls. How to get rid of pesky vermin and flies. Where to buy the cheapest organic food directly from the mill. Why the birds need to eat oyster shell.
How to make compost tea (liquid chicken poop–full of nitrogen). How to make compost (dirt) with their poop.
Selling eggs and an accounting system–our daughter’s business when she was 7.
Designing paddocks and rotating their foraging area. Building fencing to keep them contained.
History and Culinary Arts
What is the Slow Food movement? Cooking with eggs and chicken.
Art and Literature
How to photograph and write about chickens.
Go to my other blog: West Vista Urban Farm School and enter “chickens” in the search bar for more information about raising poultry for meat and eggs.
My other social outlets where I share other examples of self-directed learning.