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