Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Using Chickens For Therapy

You've all heard of the healing powers of petting animals, and you would normally associate this activity with rabbits, dogs, acts and all the other obvious furry critters, but how about a chicken?

Well, that's exactly what Jana Clairmont and her friend are using when they visit people recovering from health disorders or facing other hurdles in their lives. A white leghorn rooster called Alex and a Cornish game hen named Carlita.

Janan said the chickens are so good with people, why should she be the only one that benefits from their soothing nature.

This week, she visited residents at Polson Health and Rehabilitation Center and Alex quickly bonded with resident Chuck Gilham, and didn't seem interested in spending much time with anyone else.

As Chuck fussed over Alex (see picture above), he showed his trust in his new friend by laying his head on his arm and falling asleep.Chuck had grown up on a farm near Cut Bank and had a pet chicken as a child, and brought back many happy memories for him.

"If they are handled enough, chickens can be very affectionate", said Jana.

She calls her service 'Fowl Play', and wants to take Alex and Carlita into classrooms when school resumes in the fall. She doesn't charge a fee, but simply asks for fuel costs if she leaves the Polson area.

Sounds 'cheep' to me ;-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

What's the pecking order down under?

EVERY morning, Sharon Faire and her family wake up to the sound of clucking chickens in their Wahroonga backyard in Australia.

Her two sons, aged three and five, to feed the hens the kitchen scraps from the night before. It sounds like idyllic rural life, but "backyard poultry" has never been more popular. The old days of keeping a few chickens and a vegetable patch appear to be making a comeback.

"The kids are absolutely in love with the hens," Mrs Faire said. "They are really having the best time, they're so much better than cats or dogs."

The Faires are among the many families who have opted for backyard poultry as part of a return to sustainable living with the emphasis on fresh and healthy food.

Norm Black runs Planet Poultry, which helps families set up their own chicken run in the backyard. He says inquiries have increased tenfold over the past 18 months.

"The whole movement is driven from urban areas. It's phenomenal," he said. "There has been a massive shift in the mindset of people recently. Since the downturn, people are going back to basics.

"In the past, people have sought instant gratification … but people now seem to be getting more pleasure from the simpler things in life."

Mr Black has noticed his clientele becoming more varied. "I've sold chooks and coops to merchant bankers, doctors - people from all walks of life," he said. "I even got a call from a guy in Bondi the other day who wants to keep hens on his unit balcony in Campbell Parade." The number of hens sold has risen sharply and Mr Black has also noticed a demand for more lavish coops. Clients are now more interested in his "penthouse packages".

"We've brought out a deluxe penthouse package by popular request but it seems people want more, so we're launching a coop called the Taj Mahal, which … is going to be very grandiose."

Mr Black has also fielded some unusual queries, from the woman in the eastern suburbs who asked if her chickens would prefer their coop to have an ocean view, to the elated financier who called with the news that one of his hens had just laid the first egg.

"Some of the feedback is hilarious," he said. "But it's great to see. People are really getting a kick out of sustainable living."

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

VIDEO - Raising Chickens in Beverly

Raising Chickens in Beverly

Sue Lupo raises chickens at her home in downtown Beverly, Mass. See her new baby chicks and the adult hens, while she tells you how much fun it is to raise chickens in the city.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You Don't Raise Chickens To Save Money!

Stories and articles about raising chickens in the backyard seems to be all the fashion nowadays, with ill-informed reporters stating the main reason for the huge growth of people keeping chickens at home is mainly due to the recession and the opportunity to save money on the weekly grocery bill.

People, I'm here to tell you that you will not save any money raising your own chickens for will almost definitely spend a lot more!

But that isn't the reason most people keep them.

People keep chickens because it is an interesting and relaxing hobby, which involves you getting back to nature and understanding where your food comes from.

The amazingly tasty free-range eggs with bright yellow yolks (That your friends will think is saffron or turmeric in the scrambled eggs you make them!) are just a BIG bonus.

Caring and bonding with your chickens, being outdoors (instead of in front of the TV!) and just getting back to nature is what it's all about....I know what I'd rather my kids were doing!

It also acts as a catalyst. It gets you thinking about growing some veggies, or even renting a few acres nearby and raising pigs, ducks and geese as well.

It's simply a better way of life.

These newspaper hacks have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. They're just filling space with a current popular trend. It'll be something else next week.

So if you are thinking about raising a couple of chickens in your backyard, and the only reason is because you've heard you'll save a few bucks on eggs, please think again as you won't.

Do it for the right reasons, and you'll have a lifelong hobby that could change your life and lead you up unexpected paths :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All She Wants To Do Is Keep A Few Chickens!

Poor Kimberley Dante from Traverse City just wants to keep a few chickens in her back yard and benefit from fresh eggs, wonderful fertiliser and simply the joy of raising some chickens.

Enter the local authorities and 'busy body' neighborhood associations.

"They're too noisy!" "They're too smelly!" "They attract rats and vermin!" they all rant.

Of course these things can be true, but they don't have to be if the chickens are kept properly.

My compost bin is smelly and attracts vermin, but are they banned? My neighbors dogs are sometimes noisy, but are they banned?

Of course not, and they never should be. Let's get back to some good old fashioned common sense and start concentrating on the huge benefits of raising chickens at home.

It sounds like Traverse City is lucky enough to have a sensible city Commissioner in Jim Carruthers, who doesn't think those concerns are all they're cracked up to be..."A modest chicken ranch could promote sustainable living and help folks through an era of belt-tightening", he said.

Jim rules...I can only hope his common sense approach infects the rest of the town.
Elizabeth Whelan, president of the Boardman Neighborhood Association, said she was not only concerned about the smell and attracting vermin, but the build up of 'feathers' in the community!! Are these people for real?

Perhaps the sky might fall in as well Elizabeth.

Pete :-)