How to Integrate Ducks with Chickens

If you’ve been following me here, on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, then you know that I recently had a little duck that was sick. Her name was Pringles.

Pringles was such a special little duck! I say “was” because unfortunately, she passed away the day after my family arrived in Toronto to care for my terminally ill mother-in-law. I knew she would likely die soon since she was old for a duck, but it was hard never-the-less. You can hear the full story here on my last Bawk Talk LIVE show:

We’ve been through a lot of changes lately here in Chickenlandia, but when one thing ends there will always be a new beginning. Enter my two newest Chickenlandia members, Angry Marshmallow and Mr. Robot!

New Call Ducks!

If you want to know why the little white one is called Angry Marshmallow, then check out this hilarious photo from right after I rescued her. She looks ANGERY! lol

Angry duck is angry!

As with all transitions, there’s a way to do it to make it the easiest for everyone. In this week’s Welcome to Chickenlandia video, I show step by step what I do to integrate new ducks into my flock. Since ducks don’t have as extreme a pecking order instinct as chickens, it’s fairly easy. But you definitely need to keep an eye on them and it works best if your chickens are already used to ducks in the flock.

Hahaha an oldie but a goodie from my flock.

So, without further ado, here’s my new educational video on how to integrate ducks with chickens. As always, be sure to do lots of research to find out if ducks are right for your flock. And make sure to watch them closely those first few days to make sure there’s no bullying.

Do you have ducks with your chickens? Would you like too? Let me know in the comments!

Return to Chickenlandia!

Henlo, Friends! It’s been a while. I’ve been in Canada for several weeks, saying goodbye to my dear mother-in-law. You may have seen my video about it on YouTube:

Needless to say, it’s been a rough few weeks for The Chickenlandia Family. But made it through and we continue to move forward while dealing with the huge loss. One comfort in all of this is that my mother-in-law suffered with illness for a long time, so when the time came, she was ready and left on her terms. This was how she would have wanted it.

Ardith Trapman, 1938 – 2019

Last night, we arrived back in Chickenlandia. How wonderful it’s been to be among my flock again! In this reunion, I’m reminded of how fortunate I am in life, and how no matter what the loss, there will always be new beginnings all around me.

Please check out this short return video and make sure to stay tuned on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And remember: You’re always welcome in Chickenlandia.

Chickenlandia Stories: Growing Veterans

I’m so thrilled to have a new Chickenlandia Stories this week! It’s been quite a while since I’ve shot one, with the winter weather really putting a damper on filming outdoors. But good things come to those who wait, and this latest episode is one I’m really proud of. I visited an organization called Growing Veterans and documented it all for you.

Growing Veterans is a non-profit organization who’s mission is to “empower veterans to cultivate purpose and belonging by growing food, community and each other”. I was invited there as a Scratch and Pecks Feeds ambassador to teach a baby chick class and tour the grounds with farm manager Joel Swenson.

I really wanted to write more about this episode, because I learned so much and there’s many additional things I wanted to add along with the video. But at the moment I’m in Canada dealing with a family emergency, and so it will have to wait. For now, please enjoy this episode of Chickenlandia Stories by clicking the play button below!

Hope to be back soon with more. Thank you for reading!

Easter Chicken Hunt!

The Chickenlandia Kiddos and I went on an egg hunt at a friend’s chicken farm! Check out the fun by clicking the play button below:

I’ll be back soon with more blogs for you. In the meantime, let me know how your holiday was (if you celebrate) in the comments!

What Easter Means in Chickenlandia

It’s almost Easter time, which means lots of activity in Chickenlandia. The chickens are laying eggs and going broody. The sun is (mostly) out. As the another season begins, I’m reminded of the many older birds I have in my flock. One of them, Pringles the Duck, isn’t feeling well and is currently resting in my bathroom. Confronting the idea that she may die soon has been tough, and it’s made me think about what Easter means in Chickenlandia.

Pringles the Duck resting in the shower stall.

Whenever an animal is sick, I can see the worried look in my children’s eyes. It’s sometimes hard for me to find the language to explain death to them. The urge to sugarcoat it is ingrained and easy in our modern, western culture, where we don’t really have a solid way to deal with death. I think this is why I love Easter so much. It fills in the gaps and  gives me peace when I think about the inevitable.

Juni, sometimes referred to as “The Court Jester of Chickenlandia”

A week before Easter, about two years ago, our sweet dog Juni fell very ill, very suddenly. He was a dog that loved food more than anything, so when he refused to eat I knew something was terribly wrong. After a trip to the emergency vet, we discovered that Juni had a cancerous tumor and it was bleeding. He was not going to recover and was declining quickly.

Later that same evening, my husband and I made the tough decision to put Juni down. Not only was I devastated, but the thought of telling my kids when they woke up in the morning haunted me all night. They were only three and seven years old. How would I explain this to them? I finally decided to trust that I would somehow know what to say. When we woke up, this was our conversation:

Me: “Last night, Juni’s body got really, really sick.”

Henry (7): “Did he die?”

Me: “Yes, his body died.”

Henry: *crying*

Billy (3): “Don’t worry, Henry, Juni survived.”

And then we all cried, thinking about how Juni’s body stopped working, but knowing that his little spirit had moved on to something else.

So that’s what Easter means in Chickenlandia. The body is finite, but the soul lives on. To put it simply, there is no death.

Pringles enjoying some sunshine earlier this year.

I really hope my sweet duck Pringles is able to spend a few more Easters in Chickenlandia, but I know she might be on to the next adventure soon. To see my latest video featuring Pringles, click the play button below!

 

What do you think about Easter or any other holiday you celebrate? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

A Chickenlandia Public Service Announcement!

Are you tired of explaining to your friends and family all the wonderful benefits of having chickens? Well, I’ve done all the work for you with this new Chickenlandia Public Service Announcement, Try Chickens! Watch it, share it, and most of all, GET CHICKENS! Just click the play button below. 😉

What are your reasons for keeping chickens? Let me know in the comments below!

Learning the Cycle of Life from Chickens

By the time chickens came into my life in a meaningful way, I was already well into adulthood, having experienced some of its big changes and trials. I had gotten married and left my fast-paced life in Los Angeles. I had lost my father to pancreatic cancer. I had my first baby. I thought that I understood the ups and downs of life, but I still had a lot to learn. Of course, one of my greatest teachers has been my chickens.

My dad with his best friend, Biff.

My first flock of baby chicks was so exciting! I remember going to the farm store to pick out four, and coming home with ten (#chickenmath, amIright?). Two of them were tiny Rhode Island Red bantams. They stole my heart immediately.

I don’t know how many times I checked on those baby chicks throughout that first day, but it was a LOT. I remember speaking at length to a store employee regarding what the chances were of any of them dying. I spoke to other chicken people about the chances of any of them dying. I researched how to keep them alive under any possible circumstance. I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want any of them to die! That first night, both bantam Rhode Island Reds passed away. I was devastated.

My Rhode Island Red Bantam, Popcorn (she survived into adulthood).

I don’t know if you know this or not, but I’m no farm girl. We had lots of animals, but when they died, the harsh reality of it was always kept from me. I don’t blame my parents one bit for this; in fact, I’m pretty guilty of it myself when it comes to my own children. But by the time my first two baby chicks died, the only thing I really understood about death is that you should resist it at all costs. That’s how I felt when my dad died, that we had all fought and fought until we “lost”.

But what would life and death be like if we chose to look at it through our chickens? The mother hen has lots of chicks, because within her instinct is a knowledge that some will likely die. Every spring, if given the choice, she will have another batch. Some might die, but Spring will always come again. Maybe looking at life and death like a season would make the transition easier. It’s not a line with a beginning and end. It’s a circle, a cycle. The experience doesn’t die, it just changes.

I think when I go, I’d like to fly right over the rainbow bridge, gentle and soft into whatever’s beyond it. Just like my two baby chicks.

Beautiful Meadow

This week’s video is about two of the most common baby chick issues and how to treat them naturally. I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out!

What valuable thing about life have you learned from chickens? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Life of a Chicken Lady

Henlo, Frens! Well, this week has been a little up and down. We all ended up with chest colds which forced us to slow down and focus on healing. We’re on the mend now, which is good, and I did get a chance to create a vlog before the sickness hit! It’s all about my life as a chicken lady. I hope you enjoy That Chicken Lady Life on my YouTube channel. Just click the play button below.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and click the notifications bell so you never miss any fun Chickenlandia videos. Stay tuned for a longer blog post next week, but in the meantime, let me know what your chicken life is like in the comments!

 

What is the Chickenlandia Way?

I’ll never forget the day I brought home my first flock of baby chicks. I had planned to only get about four or five, and came home with ten, naturally! At the time, I had no idea the profound impact that chickens would have on my life. Believe it or not, it was only about a year later that I taught my first class on raising chickens. I’ve continued to share my knowledge with others ever since.

A silkie from my first flock.

Some might question my dive into teaching about backyard chickens when my level of experience was so relatively new. All I can say is that when chickens entered my life, I just couldn’t get enough of them. I completely immersed myself in learning every detail about their nature and care. I faithfully followed larger chicken keepers that I respected and quickly developed my own style and preference. When I completed that first three-hour class at my local community college, a woman approached me and said, “I’ve had chickens for thirty years, and I learned more about them today than I ever knew.” I will forever be grateful for her kind words, because from that moment on, what was just a hobby became the way I would communicate with the world.

Book Dalia Monterroso for an event
Delivering my TEDX Talk, “I Dream of Chickens”.

From the beginning, I have always seen chickens as a wonderful common denominator among human beings. I quickly realized, however, that there were others who didn’t see it that way. I’m not going to speak poorly of anyone who has strong beliefs about how chickens should be raised. I get it. I have my opinions as well. But ultimately, I try to remind myself that chickens should be for everyone, and that not everyone is the same. Should I condemn the long-time farmer for free-ranging his birds with full knowledge that he may lose some to predators? I keep my birds safe in an enclosed run because it’s hard for me to lose them, but my experience is not the same as his. What about the person who culls her flock after two years of egg laying service? I keep mine until they die of old age, but my livelihood doesn’t depend on their eggs, and I also have the means to keep them as pets. Not everyone can or wants to do that. And that’s okay.

So, what is the Chickenlandia Way? It’s the way that allows more chickens to live a life outside of factory farms. It’s the inclusion of all different types of chicken keepers who love chickens. It’s a path that opens doors rather than closes them. It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s inclusive. That’s why my specialty is beginning chicken keeping, because I want people to know from the start that they belong here and that they can do it!

The place where everyone belongs.

Whew! I truly didn’t know I was going to write all that. But I’m glad to have the opportunity and I’m glad to possibly bring others the opportunity to raise baby chicks. For a very easy guide to get started, click the play button below!

What kind of chicken person are you? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Chicken Parade!

It was an eventful weekend in the tiny town of Edison, Washington! This past Sunday was the annual Edison Chicken Parade, which draws people from all over Skagit and Whatcom County (and soon, the world?) to celebrate their love of chickens. I brought my trusty Chickenlandiamobile to join the fun.

Me and my Chickenlandiamobile

The parade was absolutely FULL of chicken-loving people. People carried their favorite chickens or pulled them in tiny floats. There were chicken hats, chicken feet, chicken skirts, and even chicken shoes. The chicken fashion was definitely over-the-top and utterly awesome. Even the dogs were dressed up. I loved it!

Dog or chicken? You decide.

Edison is a quaint little town (and I mean little; there’s probably not much more than a hundred people who actually live there)  in Northwest Washington, famous for its delicious food and art. The parade itself is about a block long, and travels past some of the best restaurants I have ever visited. I was pretty surprised by the amount of people at the parade this year. This is the first time I have attended, but I was told by many that it’s the biggest turn out they’ve seen so far. I imagine it will only continue to grow!

To get a real idea of just what a chicken party this parade was, click the play button below!

Would you like to see a chicken parade in your town? Let me know in the comments!

 

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