- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
As Californians began sheltering in place at home, they started growing their own food. In addition to gardening, people have begun adopting chickens for fresh eggs. For people who have little to no experience raising poultry, University of California Cooperative Extension has care and feeding tips to keep the birds healthy.
UCCE dairy advisor Randi Black and Karen Giovannini, UCCE agriculture ombudsman for Sonoma County, collaborated with UCCE poultry specialist Maurice Pitesky in the School of Veterinary Medicine to create Poultry 101. Their tips for new poultry owners are free at
For tips on raising healthy chickens in your backyard, attend the Backyard Poultry Workshop in Oakland on Saturday, March 12. Poultry experts will share valuable information for experienced poultry owners and for those just getting started.
The workshop is sponsored by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Cooperative Extension in Alameda County and the California Poultry Federation.
Discussion topics will include:
- Poultry behavior in backyard chickens
- Backyard biosecurity
- Backyard poultry cleaning and disinfecting
- Backyard flock pests and management techniques
- Using the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab...
- Author: Penny Leff
We love to watch our three hens. They roam contentedly now in our Sacramento backyard, eating bugs and greens. We've named them, of course: Blondie, Queenie, and big Lizzy. They are a little flock, raised together since they were day-old hatchlings from the feed store. They're about three years old now, and still laying two or three eggs between them most days, before we let them out of their covered run in the afternoons. Our next-door neighbor has built a coop too, and there's another little flock on the other side of the fence. Our girls even have neighbors to cackle with.
About six months ago we started seeing a problem - pecked eggs! When we went to gather our one, two or three eggs every day from the nesting box inside...
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Backyard chickens are pets with perks. Laying hens provide a steady supply of fresh, organic eggs; unusual breeds can satisfy birdwatchers' desire to observe an animal exploring its surroundings; and poultry manure is an excellent soil amendment.
Surprisingly, chickens are pretty good companion animals as well. My family keeps two chickens in a 10-foot-square pen in the side yard of our tract home. The birds are as thrilled to see us at the end of the day as our dog and cats. They provide enough eggs for us to share with neighbors and, as one might expect, their food expenses amount to chicken feed.
Chicken rearing in urban areas seems to be keeping pace with growing interest in gardening. Among the California cities...
- Author: Penny Leff
Davis Wednesday afternoon farmers' market can be quiet in December, so what better time to learn a little about what's going on back at the farms? Every farmer I talked with today had delicious treats to sell and a story to tell. Here are a few:
Did you know that Gridley is the kiwi capital of America? There used to be a kiwi festival and a kiwi queen, but that all got too expensive for Gridley's kiwi farmers quite a few years ago, Frank Stenzel reports. He's getting ready to start pruning his 14 acres of kiwi vines next week; pruning will take a crew of 12 about two weeks. After pruning, each of the 25 or 30 canes on each kiwi vine will need to be tied to a trellis, very much like grape vines, to be ready for next year's...