Tuesday, December 2, 2008

News from Andy the Chicken Whisperer

Chicken Scratch
Issue #4
December 3, 2008

Well, tomorrow is Wednesday, but I wanted to go ahead and get the weekly newsletter completed. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! With the price of turkeys, maybe we should start a turkey meetup group as well. I saw an organic free range turkey at Whole Foods yesterday for $77.00! Yes, you read that right $77.00! WOW!
My condolences to all the UGA fans out there, but maybe GT is due a win after 7 years.
Since my last newsletter one week ago we have had 6 new members join! We are on our way to being the largest chicken club/meetup in the United States! I just keep telling myself there is power in numbers. There have also been many new posts on the message board so make sure you visit often. To give you an idea of how popular this chicken movement has become, I have sold 100 chicks in the past 30 days, and I’m just one person! WOW!

This months meeting will be held on Monday, December 15th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.This will not only be our regular monthly meeting, but it will also be our last meeting of the year, and our Christmas Party. As you can see it will be held at the Golden Corral in Alpharetta. As promised if we have at least 15 to 20 members attend, I will schedule the January meeting closer into town. I am requesting that all who are able to please bring an unwrapped toy that can be donated to the Toys for Tots program.

This meeting will be a little different than the past meetings. The first hour will be a round table type discussion with two topics. Each topic will be discussed for 30 minutes. Members can comment one at a time, and ask any questions, or make any comments regarding the topic. I think this will be a good way for all of us to learn more about our chickens. The second hour will be a free for all open session just like our past meetings.
The two topics this month will be…

Session #1 - 7:00pm to 7:30pm
“The Dangers of Buying or Trading Chickens”
Andrew Wordes, Assistant Organizer

We will discuss what to look for when you purchase chickens from a seller you may or may not know. What questions to ask the seller. What to look for when you pick up the new chicken(s). What to do when you get home with your new chicken(s). Etc…

Session #2, 7:30pm to 8:00pm
“Scratch, Pellets, Crumbles, and Starter. What’s In My Chicken Feed?”
Chip Sims, Meetup Member

We will discuss the many different types of chicken feed, including but not limited to nutrition, ingredients, cost, and amounts.

I’m really looking forward to both of these discussions!

The meeting will officially start at 7:00pm, and officially end at 9:00pm, but many members arrive early, and many members stay late! It's all good!

I will have a table set up at the meeting room entrance with the sign up sheet, nametags, and door prize hat. Please make sure you complete all the above.

The Golden Corral has deemed us an official group now, and with that comes a small unexpected upfront fee. I paid an upfront fee today of $1.00 per person. I booked the room for an estimated 35 people so my fee was $35.00. This money will go directly to our server that will be assigned to our group. I don’t mind paying the $19.00 fee each month for the group’s website, but I may look into charging a $1.00 fee at future meetings held at the Golden Corral to cover the meeting room/server fee. Many meetup groups have an annual membership fee, and I would like to delay doing that for as long as possible.

Please try to be on time because our first round table discussion will start promptly at 7:00pm. I do however know how Atlanta traffic can be!

I hope to see all 113 of you there!

Well, I guess that's about it. Thanks for reading!

Andy (Chicken Whisperer)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Books for Chicken Lovers

Great Holiday Gifts for Chicken Lovers.....
OMLET/Barbara's Weekly Diary Book Reviews

With Christmas approaching, I often receive emails from people asking me to recommend some books on keeping chickens, and these are a few of my favourites. One of my most thumbed books is Hens in the Garden, Eggs in the Kitchen by Charlotte Popescu. It’s a lovely book with information on breeds and general aspects of chicken keeping such as feeding, health, housing and hatching, and the author combines this with some delicious recipes for all the eggs you’ll be collecting once you’ve added some hens to your garden. It is a very useful addition to the bookshelf. Another super little book, particularly for beginners, is Johannes Paul and William Windham’s Keeping Pet Chickens. Each double page deals with a separate subject and the information is clear and easy to understand with lots of photographs and diagrams. This book is all you need to get you started. For more in depth information though, Victoria Roberts Teach Yourself - Keeping Poultry covers the care of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and other breeds in much more detail. It is a very well set out book with sections on buying birds, handling them, housing, health, broody hens,breeding chicks and more. It also has a really useful diseases, problems and troubleshooting section at the back for quick reference.

If you’re interested in the myriad of different breeds, there are two excellent books which I’d recommend. Best Hens For You by Charlotte Popescu, is a lovely read with information about the breeds, and little anecdotes from people who have owned them, which is really helpful if you’re looking for hens with real character. It’s such a nice little book to dip into. Another more detailed book on breeds is Poultry For Anyone by Victoria Roberts. Full of beautiful photographs, it covers the history, characteristics and special requirements for common and some less common breeds, and it includes a guide to the number of eggs produced by each breed too.

Finally, a couple of coffee table books on hens. The Big Book of Garden Hens, by Francine Raymond, is a stunningly beautiful book. It is a hardback and a real pleasure to browse as it is full of gorgeous photographs and line illustrations, and it is set out as a month by month guide to keeping hens. Each month has a delicious recipe and features a couple of different chicken breeds too. For a light hearted look at keeping chickens, Martin Gurdon’s Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance is a collection of stories and practical information about chickens, from the tale of Mike the Headless Chicken to what to do with Egg bound hens. An entertaining read from cover to cover.......Happy reading!
Barbara is always on hand to answer your questions about chickens - just pop her an email to

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News from Andy the Chicken Whisperer

Chicken Scratch
Issue #3
November 26, 2008

Well, it's Wednesday again and time for me to put together another newsletter. I guess the biggest news this week is the number of new members that have joined. We are currently up to 107 members! Like I said in the last newsletter there is power in numbers. We are close to having the largest pet chicken meetup group in the United States! At our current growth rate we may be the largest by the end of the year!

A camera crew from HD News out of New York spent a couple of hours filming at our home in Alpharetta. They saw the story on CBS, and wanted to run their own story on "Chickens In The City". It will not air on any local news stations, but will air on news stations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It will also air on the internet. As soon as I get the DVD of the story I will put it on our website. CNN had to reschedule because of a delay on the story they were currently working on, but may be out as early as next week. I will keep you all posted.

You may have seen the posting on our message board regarding the
50 fancy hens up for adoption. Andrew (Assistant Organizer) and myself volunteered to take them all, but it's a very complicated situation, and may not pan out. If it does pan out we will post whatever birds we have available on our website.

The Chicken Classifieds section on the message board is really working out great! I will start deleting old ads next week to keep the section short and current, but feel free to re-post if you need to.

Our next monthly meeting will be on Monday, December 15th. This will not only be our last meeting of the year, but our Christmas Party as well. I'm asking that all who are able bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Toys for Tots program. I will deliver them the day after our meeting. Please make sure to RSVP as soon as you know you can come. I've noticed that members seem to RSVP better when they see other members RSVP. I hope to see all 107 of you there! Please remember that if we have 15 to 20 members at the December meeting I will schedule the January meeting closer into town for the other members that claim they can't make it to Alpharetta. If we have a poor turn out at the January meeting I will have no choice but to permanently have the meetings in Alpharetta where we have the best attendance. We had just under 40 members attend the last meeting in Alpharetta! Three members drove over an hour from Douglasville! One drove from Canton, and another from Waleska! Now that's dedication! Thank you to all that come to our monthly meetings!

Well, I guess that's about it! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and until next time remember...

The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on!

--Andy (Chicken Whisperer)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Randy Gazaway Sells Chickens

I bought my very first four girls from Randy Gazaway out in the middle of nowhere, in a big barn with hundreds of them and he picked two Rhode Island Reds, one Buff Orpington, and one Black & White out for me.  I couldn't tell which pullets were girls and which would turn into roosters.  Randy got it perfect.  His number is 770.889.6691, it's been about four years since I called.

I think I got his name from a guy named David Williams who used to be the chicken farmer at the big huge chicken house farm up on Mountain Road (near Freemanville).  I stopped to talk to him one day when I saw a bunch of folks taking care of the grounds and I asked for the Chicken Guru.  I think the man almost fell off his tractor.  Anyway, when he directed me to David, I explained my City Gone Country attitude and my desire to learn everything I could about raising chickens now that I got to live here.

Did you know that there are 20,000 chicks in each of the four chicken houses.  And they come 80,000 at a time delivered and divided in the houses and then hang out for only seven weeks at which time they go back out to never never land.  They take a week off and then it starts all over again.  My girls and I got a tour once of the chicken houses.  Let's just say it was An Experience.

David and I kept in touch a couple of years before the farm was sold to the new owners who I absolutely adore for not tearing the place down for a new subdivision.  Mountain Road is one of the last remaining "almost original" roads.  If only it were still dirt and not paved.  Wow, that would be something.

So back to getting by chicks from Randy:  I took my laundry hamper with a lid and a bungee cord and snapped it closed and off we went down the road, their first road trip, to their new Home Sweet Home.

This backyard chicken business is easy. Ya just have to do it.  It's a lot easier than you think.  

And it is sooo very...

Buy Chicken Coops

The Garden Within at The Broadwell Cottage is selling Chicken Coops!!
Contact:  jodygreen@thegardenwithin.com

Why DID that chicken cross the road?

This joke is so perfect for the times...

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN McCAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: & nbsp; Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

DR. SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.' That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: How did I miss one?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Chicken Project

I need more chickens.  Lots of people I know are now interested in backyard chickens.  It sure is a fun addition to plain ole gardening.

All of my chickens are kaput now.  I had over twenty total over the last four or five years.

I think I will begin this new community outreach chicken project by raising my own chicks.  I'll go to the Elementary School tomorrow and see if I can borrow the incubator.  Then I'll go find someone with fertilized eggs and grab a few.

I'll let you know what happens....Later.