Your Chickens in August [Newsletter]

News from the Farm

The blackberries are coming ripe. The weather has been alternating between mild to hot, but not hot enough for me to yearn for air conditioning. The pasture is getting browner than I’d like, which soon will cause our egg yolks to fade from orange to yellow if we don’t get some rain (and we probably won’t until mid-September).

The tractor is still in the shop. The ice machine broke. There’s always something.

Roost mites are giving my hens some trouble. I’m painting their roosts with oil. This lasts a long time and smothers the mites. Even if the roosts seem dry on the surface, because the oil soaks in, capillary action seems to keep the cracks and crevices in the wood damp with oil, and that’s where the mites hang out. But only once. This time around I’m trying used gear oil for the purpose. Any non-drying oil that’s not weirdly toxic will do, but I prefer indigestible oils (petroleum based oils) because they don’t attract mold or critters with the munchies, the way fry oil might. Usually this treatment lasts for months. read more...

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

The Cure for Culling Male Chicks?

beth_and_baby_chicks_smIn a world where egg-type chickens such as White Leghorns are valued only for their egg production, and there are very few people who want a White Leghorn cockerel for Sunday dinner, what happens to all the male baby chicks? An article in The New Food Economy called The Cure for Culling explains both the problem and a promising new cure: in-shell sexing.

One of the authors, Harry DiPrinzio, contacted me for my take on the issues here, and in particular a spiffy new technology that can tell the gender of a chicken embryo fairly early in its development. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Chicken Coops

How To Build a Chicken Coop

Yes, you can build a chicken coop! In fact, chicken coops are the traditional starting point for people with no experience in rough carpentry.

“The best chicks come out of the sorriest houses.”
— Old-time poultry maxim.

Designing chicken coops isn’t rocket science, either. But there are some concepts to keep in mind.

The chickens themselves don’t care if their chicken coop has a nice paint job, or if its construction makes it easy or difficult for you to tend to their needs. They’d be just as happy roosting in a pine tree as in the best chicken house ever built. Thus, chicken houses are as much for our own benefit as the chickens’. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Your Chickens in July [Newsletter]

News from the Farm

We couldn’t ask for better weather: warm but not too warm, encouraging us to spend time outdoors. The only fly in the ointment is that our tractor is still in the shop.

Publishing News

Poultry Breeding and Management: 100th Anniversary Edition

A big milestone in the Golden Age of American poultrykeeping (roughly 1910-1960) was the publication of Professor James Dryden’s Poultry Breeding and Management in 1916. Working just down the road at the Oregon Experiment Station in Corvallis, Dryden accomplished a lot, It’s not clear whether he was more respected for being the first to prove that you could breed hens for higher production, or because his simple, effective management methods made two generations of farmers far more successful. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Living With a Low-Yield Well

Slow wells and running out of water are no jokeSlow, low-yield water wells are no joke, as I learned when I nearly ran out of water one summer. Yikes! Running out of water is seriously Not Fun.

How did we fix our problem? More importantly, how can you fix your problem?

Can you need a new well? Maybe not! With the right setup, you can have all the water you need with a very slow well. We do fine with a well that gives only a quart per minute.

Table of Contents

What is a Low-Yield Well?

A low-yield well (also called a “slow well”) is a water well that has delivers water more slowly than you need. Since a well is basically a hole in the ground that water seeps into, if you pump the water out of it faster than it’s flowing in, eventually the water coming out of the pump falls to a trickle or stops altogether. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.