27 February 2010
COOP: Chicken Owners Online Pamphlet V1.0
COOP: Chicken Owners Online Pamphlet
Presented by CLUCK: Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Club
Join us on Facebook CLUCK http://bit.ly/CLUCK1
Andrea Rhymer, Paul Hughes, Ursula de Vries
Table of Contents
A Dozen Reasons to have Urban Chickens
Myths about Urban Chickens
Veterinary Care in Calgary
Cruelty and Neglect
Birdie Num-Nums: What and What not to feed chickens
What to Name the Chickens
A Dozen Reasons to have Urban Chickens
12) Keeping backyard chickens is a historic tradition that has been recently phased out in favour of profit driven commercial food delivery. Keeping livestock is a traditional and basic survival skill. Common knowledge of basic survival skills increases the recovery of a population after a disaster.
11) Children and adults receive a rich education about food sources and responsible animal keeping when they keep livestock and that teaches a positive relationship and respect for food. Knowledge and respect for food encourages healthy weight maintenance.
10) Chickens make great pets as they are affectionate, intelligent, and entertaining.
9) Keeping backyard chickens puts you in control of your own food source and we can access eggs year-round even when we cannot garden or in the event of disruptions in the commercial food delivery system. The UN FAO has stated that the right to food is a basic human right.
8) Keeping chickens is an efficient food source as eggs are rated by the UN Food and Agriculture as a more efficient source of protein than the other four top sources, higher in value than cow’s milk, fish, beef, or soybeans. A chicken coop can be as small as 1 square meter (10 square feet) for a confined full grown large breed; eight chickens can fit in a coop that is only 10x6 feet.
7) Backyard chickens contribute to a zero mile diet as they are as local as your backyard.
6) Keeping heritage chickens increases numbers of endangered breeds that have been replaced by industrial breeds; we need to preserve our genetic diversification especially in food production livestock.
5) Chickens eat bugs, reducing our backyard pest population.
4) Chickens produce a rich fertilizer by-product, high in nitrogen, eliminating the need for petrochemical fertilizers.
3) Chickens eat table scraps, reducing municipal solid waste.
2) Cruelty free raised food.
1) Fresh, healthy, delicious eggs, free of pesticides and antibiotics.
“the right of every man, woman and child alone and in community with others to have physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement in ways consistent with human dignity.” http://www.righttofood.org/new/html/WhatRighttofood.html
Myths about Urban Chickens
1) Chicken keeping means noisy Roosters crowing at dawn.
False: Roosters are only needed to make fertilized eggs for breeding chicks. Hens can lay about an egg a day without a rooster.
2) Chickens in the city increases chances of contracting Avian Flu.
False: The spread of disease is more common in industrial settings. There are no confirmed cases of Asian Avian Flu in North America. Avian flu can be spread by wild birds so it is almost impossible to prevent the spread of Avian flu therefore limiting chicken keeping to farms would not accomplish anything. A cat in the United States has been confirmed to have H1N1 yet cats are not being culled to prevent it from spreading to other cats.
3) If we allow backyard chickens, people will want goats, pigs, and cows, when will it end?
True and False: People may want to have other livestock, but it isn’t practical to have other livestock on city lots. To keep other livestock, you need a lot more space than most residences have.
By the way, in Calgary, it is legal to keep: dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchilla, degus, turtles, snakes, lizards, spiders, pigeons, guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, budgies, finches, canaries, parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and fish.
4) Chickens belong on farms not in cities.
It was not until very recently, 1923 in Delaware in fact, that the chicken producing industry really took flight. Up until that time, households would keep chickens; women all across North America would save ‘egg money’ for ‘luxuries’ for their families. An increasing demand for low production costing chickens during the Second World War took backyard chicken keeping away from housewives and put them in the hands of industrial commercial enterprises.
In Calgary, the community of Mount Royal still has on their books that a residence may keep chickens as long as they are not kept in their front or side yards.
5) Chicken poop stinks up a neighborhood.
True and False: Chicken poop does have an odor of ammonia so it does need to be absorbed by bedding. Cleaning out the bedding will keep the odor down not only for the owner, but also for the chickens. The ammonia smell is not good for the chicken’s respiratory system so it is important to keep the bedding changed. Regular cleaning out of the coop, composting the soiled bedding, and allowing chickens to free-range in your yard will dramatically reduce odors. Composting the chicken poop with the bedding is a perfect mix of approximately 1:10. Chicken poop is small and dries like a fine powder similar to peat moss which easily blends into your lawn. Most peoples’ aversion to keeping chickens is due to exposure to agribusiness for which the poop can not be properly processed; keeping 6 chickens is very different from keeping 6,000 chickens.
One time Costs:
Chicken Coop ($0 to $700) A chicken coop could be built from salvaged items from your home, recycling centers or donations. You can buy pre-made coops or plans and then make your own. An existing shed can be converted into a spacious coop.
Chicken Feeder ($0 to $6) This could be a repurposed dog dish or a galvanized poultry feeder tray from a feed store.
Waterer ($0 to $100) This could be an upside down bucket style fount or an upside down umbrella style hanging watering bowl. In the winter, it is necessary to keep the water from freezing so you need a heated fount, a heater to place the fount on, or a heater to place in the water. A heated dog water dish is available at pet store.
Hi-Low Temperature Gauge (optional $35) Proper temperature is necessary for the chicken coop to ensure healthy growth and well-being. Some chicken keepers feel more comfortable when they can see a temperature reading and a high-low thermometer can tell you how cold it gets in the middle of a cold night or a hot day. Feathers are naturally insulating so combined with a well insulated coop, you may only need to add a heat source during extreme cold or simple ventilation on a hot day. Heating Sources ($0-$75) An infrared bulb, caged socket, extension cord and outdoor timer should be sufficient for heating a coop in very cold weather. An electricity providing solar panel hooked up to a bulb would offset electricity charges. A homemade convection air solar heating system could be created to heat the coop with an electric backup. A very small wind turbine could be used to supply heat to a coop.
Light Source ($0-$55) Layers need approximately 15 hours of light a day in order to keep laying and an artificial light source may be needed in the darker winter months depending on your chickens. If the weather is mild, solar garden lamps could be used around the coop. If weather is cold and the chickens need to be put in the coop when the sun goes down, then a light bulb with a timer could be used on the closed in portion of the coop. Chicken Tractor ($0 to $200) It is optional to use a temporary shelter like a play pen for your chickens to roam the yard and condition the grass. Some owners ensure that their yard is fenced and let their chickens roam freely whereas others prefer to enclose their chickens in a portable enclosure so that they can leave the chickens unsupervised yet protected from land and air predators. Tractors can be built for yourself or ordered or you can put up chicken wire around any gaps in your fencing.
Chickens ($0 to $15 each) Costs vary with chickens being more expensive depending on how old they are and if they have been sexed. Different breeds cost different amounts. Shipping costs vary depending on how far away you are from your chosen hatchery. Costs are ongoing if you replenish you older layers with new pullets.
Feed ($0 to $1/week/chicken) A no-cost method to feeding chickens would include kitchen leavings, insects, weeds, and home grown grains made into homemade feed. Ask at your local restaurant, cafeteria or grocery store for scraps or ask for lunch leftovers at your place of work. Feed from a farming supply store would cost approximately $1/week per chicken. Different kinds of feed are available for starter chicks, growing pullets and laying hens. Chickens vary the amount they eat according to age and the outside temperature.
Grit ($0 to $10/lifetime) Chickens need grit to grind their food because they have no teeth. Grit can come from a dirt floor, lawn access when in a chicken tractor, a chunk of sod placed in the coop or purchased grit which is small pieces of sharp gravel the size of cracked peppercorns.
Bedding ($0 to $3/week) Organic material used to absorb urine, feces and spilled water will help keep the chicken’s feet dry. Bedding can be wood shavings, shredded newspaper, dried corn husks, hemp, straw or hay, dried leaves or a combination of them. Bedding needs to be cleaned out regularly or fresh bedding placed on old for a deep pile of bedding. Hay is preferred by chickens because it is the leavings of grain fields and has some remaining grains to eat. Make sure your bedding does not get wet and moldy.
Water (varies) Tap water can be given to chickens although clean rain water could be collected off the roof of your coop.
Cleaning Supplies A good hosing off of the coop once a year with a spray of a vinegar or environmentally friendly cleaning solution is required. Egg Cartons ($0-$10) Save a few of your foam or plastic egg cartons for you and wash after emptied each time; ask your family and friends to save them for you in case yours become damaged. Camping supply stores sell durable hard plastic egg holders.
Veterinary Care Costs could include vaccinations, medication for injuries or being put down ($55). Costs could also include postmortem testing to detect Avian Flu if required in the future by government agencies.
License Just like with dog ownership, a license may be required in the future for legal ownership.
Identification Some people use leg bands which are about $0.12 each although they can cause the chicken to get caught and injured. The SPCA recommends that chickens get a microchip installed to ensure a lost chicken is returned to the owner (~$60). Some owners take detailed photographs of their chickens to ensure they can identify them and contact the CLUCK club or the SPCA to try to locate their chicken. Some owners consider the cost of replacing the chicken vs. identifying one and consider a lost chicken as gone forever.
Vacation ($0 to $30/day) Asking a neighbor to look after your chickens (in exchange for the eggs they produce) or getting a house sitter to care for your chickens while you are on holidays would be necessary as the chickens need daily care.
Once your layer is past production, you may want to slaughter it and eat the meat. Humane killing of the chicken and safe processing of the meat is a task that can be done well by an abattoir or you could learn how to do it yourself.
Each chicken will lay approximately 6 eggs a week so 6 chickens could lay approximately 36 eggs a week. A dozen free-run eggs at a Calgary grocery store sells for $3.79 as of Oct. 2009. So if you had 6 chickens, you would be getting 3 dozen eggs at a value of $11.37/week.
Pastured eggs have: 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.
If you have chickens, you are likely a gardener too and you know the importance of nutrient rich soil. The ‘brown’ matter of the bedding mixed with the ‘green’ matter of the chicken poop mixed with air and moisture will create the perfect balance of compost.
A dog can cost approximately $2000 in the first year, a cat can cost over $1130, and a rabbit can cost $850 and you wouldn’t even eat them.
Once you get chickens, keep in mind that you enter another market segment where people will try to sell you stuff that you may not need. Keep in mind that with any new endeavor there are optional gadgets to purchase and many companies take advantage of your desire to take proper care of your chickens.
Prior to getting chickens, it is important to know what the time commitment is for chicken care. For example, it is common knowledge that dogs need food twice a day, water continually and walks/exercise with the time and intensity adjusted according to the breed. Dogs need companionship with people for a certain amount of time each day as well.
Fill feeder and waterer and wash if dirty (5-10 minutes/twice a day).
Collect eggs (10 minutes).
Extra time to visit with the chickens, feeding them out of your hand helps tame them. Extra time to play with chickens and hide “brain-teasers” treats hidden for them to find.
Supervision time of 1-2 hours/day if free-range in the yard.
Clean out the coop and change the bedding. Requires more frequent changes in the summer and less changes are required in the winter. In winter, take advantage of warm Chinooks to clean out the coop. Frozen poop doesn’t smell.
Put bedding in compost pile.
Clean out coop with environmental cleaner.
Maintain and repair coop and tractor.
Driving to Abattoir for slaughter and to breeder to replenish flock.
Chickens breeds vary in strengths and are typically categorized as Layers, Meat and Hybrids. Some breeds are listed as hardy for cold climates. Some breeds are considered more friendly.
Heritage Breeds (2006):
Critical (<100): Ancona, Brown Leghorn, Houdan, Munro Leghorn, Silver Grey Dorking, White Jersey Giant, White Wyandotte Endangered (100-499): Chantecler (Canadian), Columbian Rock, Hungarian Yellow, Light Sussex, Shaver White Leghorn Vulnerable (500-999): Black Jersey Giant, Minorca, New Hampshire Red, Rhode Island Red At Risk (1000+): Barred Plymouth Rock http://www.rarebreedscanada.ca/priority-poultry.htm Alberta Heritage Breeder : COLEMAN, CURTIS & VICKI – ROUNDCREEK QUARTERHORSES & HERITAGE CHICKENS RR1, INNISFAIL, AB T4G 1T6 Tele:403-728-0183 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.rarebreedscanada.ca/breeders-network.htm#poultry Bio-Security Handling any animal requires safe practices such as hand washing especially when handling animal feces. Protect your birds: • Purchase chickens from trusted hatcheries or breeders • Avoid contact between different species of birds such as between chickens and turkeys. • Avoid contact between different flocks from other farms or urban coops. Do not visit farms with diseased flocks. • Check with your veterinarian if your birds appear sick, egg production drops or high mortality in your flock. • Keep feed and water containers clean. • Do not allow puddeling of water in chicken coop. • Ensure you do not overcrowd your chickens and that they have adequate space according to their age and breed. • Visitors must clean footwear prior to and after visiting your flock. • Lock your coop to ensure people get permission from you before visiting your flock. • Isolate new or returning birds for 3 weeks. • Dispose of dead birds immediately, compost or bury (freeze until able to do so). • At cool temperatures, some diseases such as avian influenza can survive for weeks to months in manure, dust or feathers. Below freezing, the virus may last until spring. • Thoroughly clean the bedding and dust from the coop with a high pressure hose and disinfectant when temperature is above 10C. Keep track of drops in egg production and death of your flock to determine if avian flu is the problem. Discuss results with your veterinarian. http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/poultry/bba13s01.html How to compost your dead chickens: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/composting/pdf/com02s00a.pdf Preventing Salmonella Poisoning • Wash hands before and after any contact with chickens, feed, their water, eggs, bedding, carcass or compost. Use soap and warm water, scrub under nails, and wash between fingers. Avoid letting children under 5 from handling chickens due to their poor hygiene habits and lack of understanding regarding keeping contaminated hands away from face. • Disinfect surfaces a simple spray solution of vinegar and water or let items sit in direct sunlight for a few hours to disinfect. • Wear separate closed toe footwear in chicken coop or when processing bedding. Remove footwear prior to coming into house. Ask visitors to dip footwear in a bucket of disinfecting solution before and after visit. • Change soiled clothes prior to mingling in your house. Wash clothes with hot soapy water. • Practice safe food handling techniques especially when processing food. Veterinary Care within Calgary The following vets are members of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and have confirmed that they will care for a small flock of backyard chickens. This list not guaranteed to be complete is subject to change without notice. Calgary Avian & Exotic Pet Clinic Dr. Kerry Korber and Dr. Leticia Materi Bay 1 - 2308 - 24 St. S.W. Calgary, AB T2T 5H8 403-240-3577 email@example.com Avenida All-Pet Clinic Dr. Irene Phillips #607 12445 Lake Fraser Dr. SE Calgary, Alberta (403) 271-1121 http://www.avenidaallpet.ab.ca Cruelty and Neglect Protection and Investigations Department: Peace Officers will respond to all complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. Mostly function as educators but will seize animals and/or may charge the owners. Calgary Humane Society: 403-205-4455 if closed or if deliberate cruelty or poisoning, call: Calgary Police: 403-266-1234 Animal Protection Act of Alberta: it is an offence to allow your animal to be in distress. The Act defines distress as: • Being deprived of adequate food, water, care or shelter • Injured, sick, in pain, or suffering, • Abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation, or neglect Guilty persons may be fined up to $20,000 and a lifetime prohibition from owning any animal. Criminal Code of Canada: “Everyone commits an offence who: • Willfully causes, or permits to be caused, unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to an animal • Abandons (an animal) or willfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter or care for it.” If found guilty, a person can be fined upto $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years. A summary conviction can result in a fine up to $10,000 and or imprisonment up to 18 months. The sentence can also include up to a lifetime prohibition from owning an animal and the person can be ordered to pay restitution. City of Calgary Animal Services Animal Services is a department of the City of Calgary. Their officers enforce an extensive set of bylaws relating to animals (dogs at large, barking, biting, licensing, nuisance cats, etc). Generally speaking, it can be said that Animal Services protects people from animals and Calgary Humane Society protects animals from people. To report a concern relating to an animal bylaw call: City of Calgary Animal Services at 311. Local Abattoirs Tschetter Hutterite Colony in Irricana They don't process everyday so one has to call ahead to schedule (Call Jake at 403-935-2362 the barn is 1-403-935-4406 x124 or 109). Apparently, No flock is too small and the cost is $3 per bird. Birdie Num-Nums Chickens are omnivores and can eat your kitchen and table scraps including meats. Save your leftovers, garden rejects and scraps from cleaning out the fridge for your chickens. Poisonous Foods for Chickens: 1) Chocolate (Dark, light, milk, white chocolate are all included) 2) Apple Seeds 3) Peach, Cherry, Apricot, Nectarines and Pear pits (The fleshy part of the fruit is OK) 4) Avocado (The whole fruit, including guacamole) 5) Onions 6) Alcohol 7) Tomato plant, including leaves and stem (The fruit is OK as long as it is ripe) 8) Caffeine (Which is found in most Pop drinks, Energy drinks and coffee) 9) Salt (So yes that means no McDonald French fries, much to my roosters sadness) 10) Raw Beans (ex; Kidney Bean, one is enough to cause serious harm) 11) Potato plant (As well as uncooked or unripe potatoes and supposedly potato peelings, cooked it fine) 12) Tobacco (Inspect your yard for any cigarette butts that may have blown in) http://birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/pet_birds_and_toxic_foods http://birds.about.com/od/feeding/tp/poisonousfoods.htm Poisonous Plants for Chickens: 1) Daffodils 2) Honeysuckle 3) Hydrangea 4) Ivy 5) Juniper 6) Locusts 7) Mistletoe Berries 8) Nettles 9) Poinsettia 10) Virginia Creeper 11) Yews 12) Tulips (As well as their bulbs) http://www.smallbirdrescue.org/plants.html http://www.poultryhelp.com/toxicplants.html Local Suppliers Co-op Feeds Calgary 1020 26 ST NE Calgary 403-531-6656 Feed, wood shavings for bedding, feeders, waterers, brooder bulbs/lamps, water heaters Madelaine 403-209-1622 Organic Feed Dave, Hay & Oats R Us 9000 114 AVE SE Calgary 403-312-3722 Hay/Straw Princess Auto 2850 Hopewell Place NE Calgary 403-250-1133 & 4143 114 AVE SE Calgary 403-723-9904 Brooder Lamps, Bulbs, waterers Ask local restaurants/grocery stores for plate scraps and produce scraps Check local pet stores for heated water bowls and water heaters Resources Bidiansky, Stephen. The Covenent of the Wild: Why animals chose Domestication. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1992. Carpenter, Novella. Farm City: The eduction of an Urban Farmer. Penguin Press, NY. Damerow, Gail. Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep and Cattle. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2002. _______. The Chicken Health Handbook. North Adams, MA: Story Publishing, 1994. _______. Your Chickens: A Kid’s Guide to Raising and Showing. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 1992. Pangman, Judy. Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock. North Adams, MA, 2006. Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of dinner: The origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. Megyesi, Jennifer and Geoff Hansen. The Joy of Keeping Chickens. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2009. www.hencam.com www.madcitychickens.com www.mypetchicken.com www.rochesterhatchery.com www.roundcreekquarterhorses.com/chickens.html www.omlet.co.uk/breeds http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/ www.bergshatchery.com www.dirtwilly.com www.backyardchickens.com http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/Albertachickensetc/index.php http://www.freewebs.com/dnjranch http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html http://www.ufa.net/PDFFiles/Feed_Comp_Anmls/5050_UFA_OB_2_fca_Feed.pdf http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures http://www.shopthecoop.com/ http://www.calgaryhumane.ca/Page.aspx?pid=299 http://ww2.glenbow.org/search/archivesPhotosSearch.aspx search chicken coop; hen house; chicken house, etc http://www.grit.com/News-from-Razor-Family-Farms/Behind-the-Egg-Labels.aspx http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/calgarychickens/index.html http://content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Municipal+Government/Office+of+the+Aldermen/Ward+Offices/Alderman+by+ward.htm http://www.righttofood.org/new/html/WhatRighttofood.html http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/socialplanning/initiatives/foodpolicy/projects/chickens.htm http://www.motherearthnews.com/Happy-Homesteader/Community-Chickens-Site.aspx http://www.ehow.com/how_5204820_choose-backyard-chicken-coop.html http://www.ehow.com/how_5049334_build-chicken-coop-weekend.html http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/poultry/bba13s01.html http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/poultry/bba13s04.html http://www.downthelane.net/Page_7.php http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/composting/pdf/com02s00a.pdf http://www.prairieexotics.com http://www.uvibe.ca (he photographs chickens) http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/oil-contaminated-soil.html?campaign=daylife-article