Last week I taught part one of my two-part Chicken Owning workshop for our town’s Adult Education program. I always have a lot of fun teaching the class and it’s good to see the continued interest in chickens.
We started with obtaining chicks and I told them about how I recommend that all baby chicks get medicated feed until they are fully feathered (about 5 or 6 weeks.) At that point I suggest that you discontinue all medicated feed and transition them to regular feed, free ranged food, and kitchen scraps. My reasoning for this (besides the fact that I have worked as a clinical microbiologist and I respect the bacteria) is that often baby chicks are around many other baby chicks and there is a high probability of them being exposed to various pathogens. I see giving them the medicated feed as a type of insurance.
“But, we want to raise our chickens organically, is there anything we can do for our chicks that could protect them naturally, without medication?” one of my workshop attendees asked me.
I didn’t have the answer to this question but told my student that I would look into it.
And then Lisa Steele’s book; Fresh Eggs Daily raising happy, healthy chickens…naturally arrived at my house.
I had been following Lisa’s blog Fresh Eggs Daily for some time and this is exactly what she does. She raises chickens naturally. In her book she provides instructions for things like diet nutrition, natural wormer treatments, and herbs in the bedding for parasite control as part of her daily flock management. Lisa raises her chickens in exactly the same manner that my student wants to raise his. Completely naturally.
Using stories based on her flock and gorgeous photography, Lisa shares her many years’ worth of chicken raising expertise. Her book covers areas like:
- In the coop
- In the nesting boxes
- In the run
- In the dust bath area (she has a great idea for building a community dust bath)
- In the Summer, Winter
- When something is wrong
She even includes an appendix on Safe-to-Eat weeds and flowers for your chickens.
Basically, Lisa takes your hand, like a good teacher should, and walks you through how to raise chickens in a humane and natural way. She emphasizes the connection we all end up developing to our food , to those creatures in our care, and she shows us how to respectfully co-exist with feathered friends.
Fresh Eggs Daily is a wonderful resource for anyone who is looking to incorporate chickens into their lives and while I’m still going to be recommending medicated feed for the first 6 weeks (you can’t take the microbiologist out of the girl) I am going to use this book as a recommended resource for future students (and readers) who choose not to feed their chicks medication and who are looking for a natural and organic way to raise their flock.
Oh, and I’m also going to make one of Lisa’s Cranberry Scratch Wreaths as a holiday gift for my birds this year, just because it’s so darn cute.
Other chicken bloggers who are reviewing this book include:
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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