Robert Plamondon's Poultry Newsletter, June, 2011
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News From the Farm
It was a long, wet, cold spring, but summer weather and summer vacation have hit at the same time. Fine with me! There's nothing like warm weather and sunshine to make outdoor work attractive and to draw crowds to the farmers' markets. Saturday's market in Corvallis had such crowds that a lot of vendors sold out, especially the ones with fresh strawberries. The farmers did their best, and the stacks of berry flats reached to the sky. Such is the hunger for the first berries of the season that they were all gone in no time.
This time of year is very good for grass-fed chicken and eggs, because the fresh green grass that their distinctive flavor and nutrition is so abundant and palatable at this time of year. A local gourmet told us yesterday that right now we're producing the best chicken he's ever eaten!
The crow problem I had earlier was solved sooner than I expected. Plenty of people told me that crows would just learn to raid the feeders and nest boxes when my back was turned. But hundreds of crows got the message after I shot three or four of them. Which is just as well, because playing scarecrow is a nuisance, and gunfire annoys the chickens. (Real scarecrows have never worked for me at all.)
Four-footed predators are being held at bay right now by the electric fence. While we have the same fence year after year, its effectiveness varies according to the mood of the predators. Sometimes they're shy, sometimes they're bold, and I've never seen much of a pattern to it. I just know that investing in a really powerful AC fence charger is a good idea.
Chicken Coops in Summer
Are your chickens going to keep cool this summer? For most of us, this is the time of year when our chicken coops are bursting at the seams, since baby chicks soon outgrow their brooder houses.
In addition to their need for more space, your chickens are more sensitive to heat than cold, so the tightly enclosed brooder house that kept the baby chicks safe and warm earlier in the season can be dangerously hot and stuffy now. Summer housing needs plenty of ventilation. This not only promotes health by protecting the birds' delicate respiratory system, which is sensitive to poor air quality (think "miners' canaries"), it gives you cleaner, drier, better-smelling chicken coops.
In the old days, chickens were often reared in "range shelters" once they outgrew the brooder house. These range shelters had chicken-wire walls for maximum ventilation, but they were used only during the summer season, which makes them of limited interest to most of us. Still, there are plenty of traditional ways to give summertime ventilation to our year-round houses:
My best-selling book is Fresh-Air Poultry Houses by Prince T. Woods, M.D. Thoughtful readers know that a chicken coop can either pay big dividends or cause big headaches, so it pays to build it right! Fresh-Air Poultry Houses is by far the best book ever written on the topic: clear, thorough, and with plenty of examples of how to build new houses and remodel old ones. The concepts in this book have been largely forgotten in the decades since it was published, and if you look online for chicken-house designs, many are little more than brooder houses with delusions of grandeur. Your chickens deserve better, and will thank you for their new house. Now, what can I do to help you see things their way?
June Sale: Get Fresh-Air Poultry Houses for 20% Off
If you order in June, you can get Fresh-Air Poultry Houses for 20% off through Amazon Marketplace Click the link above, then click on "New From $13.49" to get the best deal.
Save $10 on Feeding Poultry and Genetics of the Fowl
What's summer without a big fat book to read? So I've also put some copies of Feeding Poultry and Genetics of the Fowl at $10 off. Click on one of the links above, then click on "New from $29.95" (Feeding Poultry) or "New from $34.95" (Genetics of the Fowl) to get the best deal.
I get a lot of questions about egg washing. Here's a list of egg-washing tips that people find useful:
Norton Creek Press Best-Seller List
These are my top-selling books from May:
All of these are fine books (I publish books I believe in). If you're like most readers of this newsletter, you want to buy Fresh-Air Poultry Houses and Success With Baby Chicks first. These cover the basics of healthy, odor-free, high-quality chicken housing and zero-mortality chick brooding, respectively, and get rave reviews from customers, who often buy extra copies for friends!
I started Norton Creek Press in 2003 to bring the "lost secrets of the poultry masters" into print -- techniques from the Golden Age of poultrykeeping, which ran from roughly 1900 to 1950. I've been adding an eclectic mix of non-poultry books as well. These include everything from my science fiction novel, One Survivor, to the true story of a Victorian gentlewoman's trip up the Nile in the 1870s, A Thousand Miles up the Nile. See my complete list of titles at the bottom of this newsletter.
June To-Do List
If your flock consists of laying hens, June is an easy month. If there are broilers in the mix, not so much, since (for us, anyway) things are still ramping up. Warm weather is coming (it's already here in some parts of the country). Remember that chickens don't like heat very much and really love shade in sunny weather. Don't let their drinking water get hot; they may refuse to drink, and this can kill them on a hot day. Roost mites multiply quickly in warm weather, so if you get a scratchy feeling up your arms after collecting the eggs, it's time to spray (pyrethins are organically correct and work very well).
On my farm, at least, June is a time of increased predator activity, so keep an eye on those fencelines!
To do in June:
This list is inspired by a similar one in Jull's Successful Poultry Management, McGraw-Hill, 1943.
Read My Blog
Recent Blog Posts
A lot of material that doesn't end up in this newsletter is published in my blog, which I update a few times a week. You can read my blog at http://www.plamondon.com/blog, or subscribe to it via RSS in the usual way.
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Adventures in Social Media
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This newsletter is sent out occasionally by Robert Plamondon
to anyone who asks for it. Robert runs Norton Creek Press.
Poultry Houses by Prince T. Woods, M.D.
With Baby Chicks by Robert Plamondon
Dollar Hen by Milo M. Hastings
Poultry by Gustave F. Heuser
of the Fowl by Frederick B. Hutt
Acres Enough by Edmund Morris
in the Grass by Margaret Leatherbarrow
Wanted a Farm by M. G Kains
Dungeons Deep: A Fantasy Gamers' Handbook by Robert Plamondon
Survivor by Robert Plamondon.
Tom Slade Series by Percy Keese Fitzhugh. (Two volumes in
print; more on the way.)
Thousand Miles up the Nile by Amelia B. Edwards.
Norton Creek Press Who do you know who would enjoy this newsletter and benefit from its information? Neighbors? Fellow poultrykeepers? Friends?
Family? Don't leave them in the dark,
email them a copy so they can subscribe, too!
Copyright by Robert Plamondon.
Permission is granted for copying if it's attributed to me, and if
it includes a link back to the original page on www.plamondon.com.
Fresh-Air Poultry Houses by Prince T. Woods, M.D.
Success With Baby Chicks by Robert Plamondon
The Dollar Hen by Milo M. Hastings
Feeding Poultry by Gustave F. Heuser
Genetics of the Fowl by Frederick B. Hutt
Ten Acres Enough by Edmund Morris
Gold in the Grass by Margaret Leatherbarrow
We Wanted a Farm by M. G Kains
Through Dungeons Deep: A Fantasy Gamers' Handbook by Robert Plamondon
One Survivor by Robert Plamondon.
The Tom Slade Series by Percy Keese Fitzhugh. (Two volumes in print; more on the way.)
A Thousand Miles up the Nile by Amelia B. Edwards.
Norton Creek Press
Who do you know who would enjoy this newsletter and benefit from its information? Neighbors? Fellow poultrykeepers? Friends? Family? Don't leave them in the dark, email them a copy so they can subscribe, too!
Copyright by Robert Plamondon. Permission is granted for copying if it's attributed to me, and if it includes a link back to the original page on www.plamondon.com.
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