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!

 

Tragedy at the Farm Store and The Stray Chicken Update

I hadn’t planned on writing about this, because I hadn’t planned on it happening. But that’s the way tragedy goes. It’s never planned. This week, my favorite community farm store was hit with a tragedy. At 5am on Monday morning, a fire started in their building. Unfortunately, the damage was devastating.

Hohl Feed and Seed on the morning of the fire.

I’m happy to report that all the animals, save for one missing ball python and some birds that could not be reached safely, are accounted for, in a safe place, and doing well. Many thanks to the Bellingham Fire Department and the Whatcom Humane Society for their expertise and help.

When my YouTube Channel launched last year, Hohl Feed and Seed was one of the first businesses to support me by sponsoring a video showcasing their store. You may remember the video, Surprise Duckling at the Farm Store. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it by clicking the play button below.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Hohl Feed and Seed, but for now I just ask that you please send some healing thoughts to everyone involved in this unfortunate event.

In life, there are always good things along with the bad. That’s why I’m happy to also be writing about Chick Norris, the stray chicken that my friend Christy rescued a few weeks ago from a strip mall parking lot. If you haven’t seen the original Chickenlandia Stories video, click here. Then make sure to check out the update, where I show you how Chick Norris is getting along with her new flock and talk a bit about protecting your chickens from predators as well. Just click the play button below!

Do you have a chicken rescue story? Let me know in the comments below!

The Forbidden Chicken Dance!

Once upon a time in Chickenlandia, The Little King declared his love for dancing. The President of Chickenlandia was a benevolent leader, and so encouraged dancing of all kinds. Well, almost all kinds. There was one chicken dance that was strictly forbidden!

On one fateful day, The Little King of Chickenlandia declared his desire to dance The Serama, The Forbidden Chicken Dance! It was, of course, met with disgust from The President of Chickenlandia.

But that didn’t stop The Little King from bustin’ some serious moves!

Do you think The President of Chickenlandia came around? You’ll have to watch the video to find out!

The Stray Chicken

I’m a little late getting this blog post out, but only because of the extreme weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest. Looking back on the events of last week, when my friend Christy worked tirelessly to rescue a stray chicken living in the local Denny’s parking lot, I’m even more grateful to her. This is no kind of weather for a chicken to endure alone.

If you haven’t seen the video yet, here’s some background for you. For the last year, there have been many sightings and rumors of a chicken living in a strip mall near one of the busiest roads in Bellingham. Few pictures were captured, but last week I was able to grab this one.

My friend Christy is a passionate animal lover and could not tolerate the idea of this chicken living without a flock in a high-traffic area. Even though there were some who encouraged her not to do it (they preferred the idea of the chicken being “free”), Christy set out to capture the chicken and integrate it into her large flock. She called me for assistance.

Christy and I on the second day of trying to catch Chick Norris.

For two days, Christy, myself, and the guys at Cricket Wireless worked together to try and catch the chicken. We learned we had many supporters in the strip mall and online. Most people cheered the idea of “Nugget” (as named by the Denny’s folks) or “Chick Norris” (as named by the guys at Cricket Wireless) finally having a real home.

Me and the guys from Cricket Wireless.

This chicken was no fool, though. She proved herself to be very intelligent, and after two days of trying, we weren’t able to catch her. On the third night, after temperatures dropped to below freezing, Christy returned with her husband and a friend to attempt to pluck her off the roost. It was no easy task and traffic did have to stopped at one point, but Christy’s husband was able to catch her!

Chick Norris at her new home, in Christy’s arms. <3

To see the full story of Chick Norris, click the play button below!

Do you think Chick Norris is better off now or do you think she should have stayed free? Let me know in the comments!

Homeopathic Options for Respiratory Illness and Trauma in Chickens

Well, it’s been a month of yucky sicknesses here in the Chickenlandia household. I confess to being patient zero and infecting my children and husband with the dreaded cold and cough. When illness strikes, I almost always turn to my trusted homeopathic kits. I’ve been using homeopathy on myself for years, and now I use it on my family. Chickens are family right? That’s why this week, I’ve decided to share some homeopathic options for when chickens fall ill or experience trauma.

Caring for Philippe during his respiratory illness.

Disclaimer: The following is not meant to be a diagnosis or to replace veterinarian care. I fully support the idea of seeking professional help when needed. I also acknowledge that many people do not have that option. Please understand that I am not a veterinarian, doctor, scientist, or biologist. I’m just a chicken lady who has used homeopathics with success and wants to share that experience with you. Results may vary! Please do your own research. 

Chicken keeping is such a joyous experience! That is, until you walk into the chicken coop and find the dreaded scenario: a chicken is sick or injured, huddled in a corner. They can’t talk to you or tell you what’s wrong. You feel helpless and guilty, though you’re not sure why. You’re a good chicken parent! How could this happen?

My first course of action in this situation is to remove the affected chicken from my flock. I bring them inside and put them in a quiet, warm spot with soft lighting (or no lighting if it’s nighttime). It’s likely that both myself and my chicken are pretty stressed out at this point, so I use a product called Rescue Remedy to calm everyone down. I put a drop under my tongue, then put a drop on my chicken’s back and rub it into their skin. Now that I’m a tad calmer, it’s time create an action plan.

Picachu getting a dose of Rescue Remedy and homeopathics during a respiratory illness.

For shock and/or trauma, two homeopathic remedies come to mind: Arnica (aka Arnica Montana) for bruising, injury, and shock; and Aconite (aka Aconitum Napellus) for fright and shock. These two remedies are very popular for human use and should be available at most health food stores. Homeopathics come in different potencies, but I suggest 30c. It’s best to start with one or the other depending on the situation. To dose, I will put one pellet or one drop of each remedy into their water or food. Without getting into how homeopathics work (that’s a conversation for a professional homeopath), each time my chickens drinks that water or eats that food, they get a dose. If they aren’t eating or drinking on their own, I put a drop into their feeding syringe and get the dose into them that way. If I’m not noticing a change, I will try the other remedy. If I notice an improvement, I stop dosing unless I observe a backslide in their recovery.

This year, I had a respiratory illness go through my flock. Each chicken had the same symptom: lots of cruddy congestion in their respiratory passages. For this illness, I dosed them with a homeopathic remedy called Antimonium Crudum. I also placed a pellet in the flock’s community water as a preventative. To my delight, all chickens recovered. I was so encouraged by this outcome, because most of the time respiratory illnesses require antibiotics for the chicken to survive. I did have antibiotics available just in case, but it wasn’t necessary. Success!

My flock roosting together after recovering from their illness.

Homeopathy is a whole science on its own, and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. My hope is that I can do a video with my professional homeopath at some point, so we can delve further into how to use it on chickens. For now, I hope you’ll take a moment and check out my latest video, which includes an easy tutorial on how to care for chickens in an emergency situation. Feel free to ask me questions here or in the comments on my YouTube channel. I’m happy to share my experience with you!

To read more about Homeopathy, click here.

Boiron USA: click here.

Bach Flower Remedies: click here.

Henny and Roo January 2019 Unboxing!

Not gonna lie, unboxing videos are one of my favorite things to create. I love love LOVE the whole subscription box thing, but I can’t really indulge in too many of them (I mean they do cost money lol!). Thankfully, Henny and Roo boxes always contain very useful and fun items that I know I’ll use. Just look at this scarf that came in the January 2019 box! Full disclosure: Henny and Roo does sponsor these videos. But I would not do them if I didn’t really believe in this company!

Me killin’ it with my new piece of #chickenfashion!

If you get a chance, please check out our latest unboxing video for January 2019. And don’t forget to use the coupon code CHICKENLANDIA for your own Henny and Roo subscription! Details are on YouTube, in the description of the video. Just click here. <3

What do you indulge in? Have you tried out a chicken subscription box? Let me know in the comments!

Living in Harmony with Predators

When I began my chicken keeping journey, I decided early on that I wanted to find a way to deter predators without causing them harm. Wildlife has always been very close to my heart, and that didn’t change when I became The President of Chickenlandia. In Chickenlandia, we live in harmony with the predators around us. It’s the least we can do, being that we moved into their home without even asking how they felt about it.

My chickens enjoying thier life.

As I write this, I’m aware that many will oppose my viewpoint. They’ll tell me that the moment something enters their chicken yard in search of an easy meal, dispatching them is the only real solution. I respectfully disagree. Not only do I find it unfair to expect an animal to understand an invisible boundary, but I also find the logic flawed. If a hungry raccoon enters a chicken yard and is shot, yes, that particular raccoon will no longer be able to cause harm. But the root of the problem very much remains. If one raccoon was able to access that flock, another one will as well. And another. And another. Ten will come to the first raccoon’s funeral, because the problem has yet to be solved.

Baby raccoons waiting for their mom to return

If you’re in the country, guard animals are a wonderful option for you. Anything from donkeys to llamas to dogs can offer great protection for your flock. Electrical fencing is another good one, and if you have your chickens in an enclosed run with wire or netting on top, you’ll have way less of an issue with flying predators. Of course, some folks really don’t like the idea of enclosed chickens, and I really do understand that. I don’t know if there’s anything more beautiful than a free ranging chicken! But if you choose this route, you must also be at peace with losing some of your birds to predators. I think either choice is a good one.

A chicken free ranging.

If you’re in the city or don’t have much land, I recommend fencing of some type to keep predators out and chickens in. To deter digging, you may even want to reinforce that fencing along the bottom with buried or skirted hardwire mesh. One of the main issues in the city are domestic dogs with a natural prey drive. When a dog attack happens, my first question is how did it access the flock? My own dogs have attacked my chickens so I know just how hard this lesson is. Through much trial and error I have come to understand that protecting my chickens is on me, and no one else.

Rescue dogs of Chickenlandia
My little terrors!

If chickens and any chicken food/scraps aren’t locked up in a secure area at dusk, they will be extremely vulnerable to nighttime predators. One of the toughest critters to deter from a tasty chicken meal is the raccoon. Walking into a coop that has undergone a raccoon attack is like a scene from a horror movie, and I can’t really blame anyone for questioning the senseless appearance of it. But I still say that the raccoon isn’t to blame. It’s so hard to swallow, but having a coop that isn’t secure at night is like putting a “Buffet” sign up in neon lights. The raccoon was just following its nature. So make sure your coop is closed and difficult for animals to open. That’s really the only way to truly keep them at bay.

Are you still with me? I hope so. I know these ideas will, forgive me, ruffle some feathers. Please know that regardless of how you feel about this, everyone is welcome in Chickenlandia! Perhaps you’ll change your mind after watching my new YouTube Video: How to Deter Predators. There’s definitely some more information I didn’t touch on here. Just click the play button below!

How do you handle predators? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

The Mealworm Farmher

Last week, I had yet another opportunity to meet an amazing farmer. But she doesn’t actually call herself that; she calls herself a farmher, and I’m totally here for it. Meet Holly Winters, the egg and mealworm farmher.

Holly Winters, Mealworm Farmher and owner of Egg Song Farm

Holly is the owner and operator of Egg Song Farm at The Barn at Holly Farm (she wants to be sure everyone knows that Holly Farm has been around for a really long time and is not named after her). Her story is similar to many I’ve heard before. While working as a Spanish teacher at her child’s preschool, she ran the schools chicken program. From there, her passion for poultry grew to something much more substantial.

The ones who started it all: Chickens!

She now sells her rainbow colored eggs at several surrounding farmer’s markets, and has a thriving live mealworm business that includes not only delivering live mealworms to customers and teaching others how to grow their own, but also collecting their frass (bug poop!) to sell and use as a sought after fertilizer. Who knew?

Happy mealworms chilling out in their substrate

Meeting Holly was a delight. She has an easy and enthusiastic personality that is truly infectious. When she shared all about the different life-cycles of her beetles and the benefits of their frass, her love for what she does was evident. I really had no idea there was such a growing mealworm industry, but I now understand why. Holly did mention that some folks even raise them for their own consumption! I’m not quite there yet, but maybe someday.

Holly Winters (left) and me, Dalia Monterroso, aka The President of Chickenlandia

So, yeah, I made a new awesome chicken friend and I couldn’t be happier about it. Holly and I had a great time geeking out over all things chicken and mealworm, and I think you will too! Just click the play button below to watch the full episode of Chickenlandia Stories: The Mealworm Farmher.

Did you have any idea mealworms were such a growing industry? Let me know in the comments!

Learn more about Farmhers here.

Holly is also an ambassador for Scratch and Peck Feed. Click here to learn more.

© 2019 Welcome to Chickenlandia