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.

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!

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!

 

 

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!

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.

Peace Through Chickens

It’s almost Christmas, and children everywhere are dreaming about that special morning. I’m sure many of you adults also have a Christmas or holiday wish. I hope it comes true for you. As for me, I have one very important dream for this Christmas. My dream is that I can communicate my most sincere Chickenlandia message. It’s a message of peace. Peace through chickens, or whatever else brings it to you.

Beautiful hen in the snow.

I know what many think. They think it’s silly for me to believe humans could achieve peace through chickens. It does seem overly simplified, but when I fell in love with my first flock, I actually had no idea how much sitting among them would bring peace and meaning into my life. That’s when my Chickenlandia message was born, because I realized that people all over the world were sitting among their flocks and feeling the same way I was. What a wonderful common denominator!

Thai chicken farmer and his rooster.

Thoughout history, humans and chickens have created a deep and meaningful relationship. It’s one that has lasted throughout the ages despite our conflicts with each other. We’ve written stories, sang songs, and sometimes even found religious meaning in our feathered friends. There’s no end to the symbolism of the chicken, and it’s a symbol almost all of us recognize. Can you think of a culture that doesn’t enjoy chickens in some way?

Who doesn’t love a baby chick?

So, yes, I know it’s a simple-minded idea to think that chickens could somehow save the world. But maybe we need to start with something simple and go from there. Maybe we could all think about something small we have in common with our neighbor. Maybe if everyone did that, we could finally find the peace we’re looking for. And yes, we’re all looking for it. Every. Single. One of us.

Please take a moment to watch my Chickenlandia Christmas Special. Just click the play button below! I hope you love it. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Do you have a Christmas or other holiday wish? Let me know in the comments!

One Big Happy Flock!

In Chickenlandia, there have always been chickens of many different varieties. I’ve had floofy ones, smooth ones, big ones, tiny ones, frizzled ones, silkie ones, fancy ones, scruffy ones, and everything in-between. I like to think of Chickenlandia as a reflection of what I someday hope the world can be, a place where everyone exists together in one big happy flock.

My flock enjoying each other’s company.

Alas, the world isn’t always what we want it to be. It seems now more than ever, conflict is at an all time high. Some of us seem to revel in the antagonism of our species, others fight against it, some totally ignore it, and some hide away. As I watch the behavior of my flock, I can’t help but see a bit of a reflection there. Especially when I’m integrating new chickens, like my three recent rescues, Double Chicken, Kiki, and Beast.

My three rescue seramas from the Whatcom Humane Society.

It took longer than I expected to integrate these three. Two of them are on the young side, and they are all smaller than my previously smallest chicken, Little Stinker. I honestly didn’t realize how small they were until I observed them next to my other bantams. And of course, they are REALLY small compared to my standard hens.

Big and Little!

Their integration was slow and required a lot of patience, but it wasn’t impossible. For about two weeks, they were able to see the flock and the flock was able to see them, but they could not get to each other. This prevented the most difficult of chicken nature from happening, which would include them hurting each other. After I put them all together, I still had to keep a very close eye on how they were doing as to prevent tragedy. Slowly but surely, my hard work paid off!

So, what did I learn about humanity from integrating chickens? I learned that if I want the world to get along, I have to do my part to encourage love. I learned that even though something might be part of our nature, we can still work to improve it. And I learned that as a human, it’s my job to look after the smallest and most vulnerable among us. I hope I continue to realize all the amazing things this flock has to show me. And I hope you do, too!

Have you always wanted to learn how to integrate bantams into a mixed flock? Maybe you’ve been afraid that they would get hurt but want to try? Every flock is different, but in my new YouTube video I explain how I make it possible for my flock to live together in peace and harmony. It goes right along with the spirit of Christmas, doesn’t it? Just click the play button below and enjoy. <3

What does your flock look like? Do you have different sized chickens living together? Let me know in the comments!

The Chicken Keeper

As you should know by now, I love making new friends. Since I began my Chickenlandia journey, I’ve met so many amazing people through a mutual love of chickens. This is why I always say, “Peace Through Chickens”, because I believe that if we focus on the things we have in common, we can see the humanity in each other and live peacefully. I think my new friend, The Chicken Keeper, would agree.

Maryanne Mills, my new chicken friend!

Meet the delightful Maryanne Mills. Recently, the kiddos and I got to take a tour of her farm. We met cows, goats, pigs, and of course, chickens! She showed us all the food her farm produces and I even got to take home some goodies for myself! It was such an amazing an enlightening experience, especially for my kiddos, who have grown up in a mostly urban environment. Maryanne spoke to them about how a farm works, what the role of each animal is, and how it all ties to together to create a sustainable system.

Billy and his new little friend, Titan the Calf.

What struck me the most about Maryanne was her warmth and kindness. It’s clear she loves each and every animal on the farm, and treats them with the upmost respect. This was evident when she introduced us to her chickens, a menagerie of retirees and rescues, each of which has a story. The most interesting part was that some chickens who live with Maryanne actually belong to someone else. She has made it possible for some who cannot own chickens to pick one out and keep them at her farm. That’s why I call her “The Chicken Keeper”. She makes chicken entertainment possible for others!

You know how sometimes when you meet someone, you just like them right away? That’s how I felt when I met Maryanne, and I know my kids felt the same. Taking a tour of her farm and being invited into her home was an experience that I’m so glad I had, and I’m sure we will be back soon. You can watch the whole tour on my new episode of Chickenlandia Stories by pressing the play button below! Don’t forget to visit my YouTube Channel and hit the subscribe and notification buttons so that you don’t miss any fun Chickenlandia videos.

How about you? Have you met any interesting people through a mutual love of chickens? Let me know in the comments!

The Queen Mother of Chickenlandia

I’m so blessed to have a great relationship with my mom. She’s a very active seventy-six-year-old who travels way more than I have the energy for and still makes time to visit us about twice a year. When she comes, it’s all about making homemade tortillas, cooking amazing soups, and in general being an awesome grandma to my kiddos. That’s why she’s earned title of The Queen Mother of Chickenlandia.

Making homemade tortillas!

When I first came up with the idea to get chickens, my mom was skeptical. The Little King of Chickenlandia was a baby, and I already had my hands full with lots of responsibility. But I was determined to have a hobby that would be only for me, so my mom eventually took on the role of chicken grandma. It’s actually come pretty natural for her, because although chicken tending skipped a generation, my grandmother raised poultry in her native country of Guatemala.

The Little King of Chickenlandia with my Mamita Elsa (my late grandmother)

Turns out the pet-chicken-bug is contagious. A few years ago, my sister, The Pippa of Chickenlandia, adopted a flock of her own. She rivals me in her chicken enthusiasm and has become quite the chicken mama. Now if I can only get my oldest sister and my brother to join the fun (they’ve ensured me this dream will never come true lol).

The Pippa of Chickenlandia’s flock enjoying some Black Friday shopping!

When I was in the hospital giving birth to my youngest, my mom cared for my chickens like they were her own. And since she lives in Texas near my sister, she cares for her flock whenever her family goes on vacation. She’s such a good chicken grandma! Which is honestly not that surprising, because she is a really good mom, too.

The Queen Mother of Chickenlandia with a chicken puppet!

This past week, I got to sit down with my mom and show her how to sprout some grains. If you remember the video we did about fermenting chicken feed, you’ll know that we had a lot of fun. Not only did she learn how to sprout grains, I also presented her with a gift from Chickenlandia! It was just a token of my appreciation for being such a good chicken grandma. To see the gift and to learn how easy it is to sprout grains in a jar, check out my new video on YouTube. Just click the play button below! Remember to like, subscribe, and click the notifications bell so you never miss out on fun Chickenlandia videos.

Do you have a good chicken grandma in your life? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

© 2020 Welcome to Chickenlandia