What are Community Chickens?

| 5/13/2009 5:03:42 PM

Tags: Community Chickens, poultry,


Community Chickens logo

What’s the new Community Chickens project all about? It’s about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other fowl.

Cheryl Long, the editor in chief of Mother Earth News, and Hank Will, the editor of our sister publication, Grit, keep flocks of chickens. So do Bryan Welch, the publisher of both magazines, and a few other people around the office. We had several poultry-related products that we planned to test and write about. Then, Hank had a great idea. Why not write about the whole life cycle of chickens (and other poultry) as it’s happening — egg to table — and share the experience with our readers? (Great idea, Hank!)

The Community Chickens website serves as a resource for poultry information. As part of our commitment to poultry enthusiasts everywhere, we will be hatching eggs, trialing incubators, brooding chicks, raising and processing broilers and writing articles and reports that chronicle our efforts every step of the way. Our goal is to get more people raising poultry for food, fun, pest control and profit.

“Community chickens” could mean a lot of things. In some neighborhoods, people take turns caring for the chickens: Someone opens the coop in the morning; another person gathers eggs during the day; someone else may feed chickens. Everyone shares the responsibility — and the eggs. If responsibilities are clearly defined, that's a great idea for the right group of people. But our project is about bringing information to the community of people who are interested in raising poultry. 

tony jenkins
1/12/2012 5:38:06 AM

Okay, just realized that I was replying to a four-year old post. Laugh's on me. I'll have to pay a lot more attention to the dates. Regards, anyway. tonyj

gene worthington
1/30/2010 5:39:54 PM

i was hoping to find people in my are to trade chickens or barter for chickens need ri red rooste and barred rock rooster got silkies white only

topeka ev driver
10/14/2009 5:38:46 PM

Just last week we were lucky enough to barter for some free range eggs and once again remembered the eggs we grew up with on the farm. We live inside the city with over an acre of back yard. We would like to have laying hens without raising chicks or dressing chickens. You know, kind of like having grandchildren! We would like to rent or lease laying hens and then trade them back in. Has anyone done this?

6/9/2009 11:44:34 AM

In readins some of the comments here, its sad to see all the negativity - its only a community if people choose to participate. as for the chickens, keep em clucking and scratching along. - i am a part of a community chicken and garden network in my area in maryland and it is working well! You "peeps" out there helping out and maintaining community spirit by interacting within and being part of your community - keep on "truckin", all you other nay-sayers - just go away - no, better yet, try losing your poor attitude and joining a community effort, you just may find the community has something to offer you, and vice versa!

valerie dawnstar
5/26/2009 8:34:32 PM

I am here to learn about chickens. I anticipate being able to get some next spring. Is spring time the best time to get chicks? As far as using cedar chips goes - I found this lengthy article describing just how cedar is toxic to our lungs & liver. http://www.searchdogsne.org/reference/Medical/cedar_pine_toxicity.pdf

5/26/2009 8:00:38 AM

The article says, "never use cedar shavings." Why is that?

5/25/2009 1:14:53 PM

GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE you guys! Listen to yourselfs! Someone came up with a great idea to share information... and a place to do it! I for one APPLAUDE this~ I am new to the chicken raising "community" and am reading everything I can get my hands on and would love to have a place to "hear" and "write" questions, thoughts, and ideas... I work as a project manager and go into NUMEROUS companies where the first thing I hear is "this is how we've ALWAYS done it" well guess what... that ISN"T or DIDN'T work! so we're going to TRY something else! Keep an open mind.... Allow it to BE..... get excited about what comes, be OPEN to change.... and truly..... if you don't like it? then it's EASY..... LOG OFF!!! and take your negative mind with YOU!!!

m . hagler
5/24/2009 11:29:16 PM

When coming up as a kid my dad built a bug catcher box . It was a simple design , just a box from plywood , it had a light in it to attract bugs and a blower ( the blower sucked the air through the box , maybe daddy reversed polarity on the fan , not sure on that ) and an old pair of mama's panty hose attached to the other end of the blower . The light attracted the bugs , the fan sucked them up and the panty hose caught them .Then the next morning I would take the panty hose of bugs to the chicken house and feed the chickens . I know it sounds funny , but it worked . Helped keep bugs from the garden and helped to feed the chickens .

m . hagler
5/24/2009 11:19:15 PM

Chickens are wonderful creatures . I had chickens when I was a kid , my dad would bring home a box of bitties and give them to me to raise . Little did I know , when a baby chick spends a lot of time with you , being fed , watered , petted , talked to and so on , it will tend to think of you as mother . As my chickens got older and were able to roam the yard , they would follow me EVERYWHERE I went . They would be at the bus stop with me in the mornings as I waited on the bus for school and in the evenings when I got off of the bus ,,, yes they learned what time I came in from school and were waiting for me . They supplied more eggs than we could eat so we would share with our neighbors . I remember once when my dad told me to go pick the potatoe beetles off of the potatoes and feed them to the chickens . I got the bright idea of catching a chicken and going to the garden and would let the chicken peck the beetle , when the chicken stopped pecking or at least slow down , I checked the craw , it was usually full , so I would set the chicken loose and catch another . Mama said that was a sight to see .

stan m
5/24/2009 4:48:10 PM

I clicked on this article assuming that the term "community chickens" referred to taxpayers who do not criticize their elected officials when criticism is warranted. Having had experience with community projects (up to and including co-housing and group houses) over a period of four decades, I can tell you that all the scut work will fall to a responsible few, yet everyone else will expect an equal share of the produce. It is simply not in the nature of most Americans to work together this way. As a people we are (and always have been) too individualistic and competitive for these kinds of ideas to work.

5/24/2009 2:08:25 PM

This is in response to the lady that said to not eat you pet chickens. I have 6 children and when we started homesteading we were concerned about our children also. Here is an important element to remember while raising your food: Make it clear from the beginning the purpose of these animals. For example, with our hogs we named them Shiskabob and Bacon. We also did not let the young ones watch the slaughtering. We keep our meat chickens and egg chickens seperate. We do not name the meat chickens individually but call it the dinner coop. This helps your children keep their purpose in mind every day as they interact with them. If you have some animals for pets and other for dinner it will help ease the way. Also, having a connection to your food is important, educate your children about the importance of eating happy food. If they knew how their food from the grocery store was raised, I doubt they would eat it either. At least your food was happy while it was alive and died a merciful death.

valerie dawnstar
5/24/2009 1:59:37 PM

As far as the community aspect goes - I am all for it! Rather than finding problems with the community idea why don't we see if we can discover how we could make it work. Just by stating 'this is a community' puts the intention out there. And cedar chips are toxic for little chicks - and people, too, if they breathe the dust from them. I think we may have inadvertently done in our hamster long ago. Also, they don't compost very well, either. There are other bedding materials available that are more suitable.

barbara gillihan
5/23/2009 11:43:20 AM

Kelli, I can relate to your story... but.... about 30 years ago we were just beginning our adventure with animals and made pets of our ducks. When it came to eatting them.... well.... my 3 daughters cried when I put them on the table!! In fact we got together for a picnic last night with their families and they brought it up again!! So don't plan to eat your pet chickens.

5/23/2009 7:13:14 AM

I have raised chickens for quite a few years and I have a question or rather a problem I can not figure out. I have broody hens who want to sit on eggs, although when I let them sit on eggs they hatch out as roosters. I realize that there must be some type of a temperature thing going here but it does not seem to matter what part of the season I let them sit. I also have this occuring with my bantam chicken. Needless to say I have several roosters, and refuse to let my hens sit, any suggestions.

5/22/2009 3:27:29 PM

The nice thing about hens is that they are relatively small, quiet and easy enough for a child to take care of. My children and I recently got 3 baby chicks to rear. At the moment, they live in a small copper tank (originally used to cool wine and beer). They have a waterer and feeder in the tank and a heat lamp above it to keep the temp around 90. We change the newspaper and cedar chips everyday to keep the chicks clean. Our hen house and chicken run is built but the poof balls are too small to go outside. The chicks eat, sleep and poop A LOT and a growing bigger everyday. One poof ball is already developing wing feathers so they won't be tiny for long. The kids and I are enjoying the chicks immensely. We'll see how fun it is when the snow comes and somebody has to go outside and feed the chickens! And, as usual, it will probably wind up being Mommy!

jim adams
5/22/2009 2:15:10 PM

hi ... our "community" is my wife and myself + a few friends. We raise chickens on pasture (a la Joel Salatin, who was our mentor, back when) When we leave for a short time (a week to summer camp, or something like that) others care for our chix and turkeys; when we slaughter, we share our chickens with those who help us with any and all of the poultry care. What we have is not a capital C Community like Twin Oaks Community (which is just down the road)where we both lived for a fairly long while and where we still have good friends. What we have is a series of overlapping communities of friends, acquaintances, associates, and interested folks. We are the ones who make it work for us and ours. When i was starting chickens at Twin Oaks Community in the early 90s, i was it. Just me. Chicken manager. Tho i could count on 3 or 4 people to help me slaughter. Now, it is still just me, but i have better equipment, i know what i am doing a lot better, AND i'm willing to help others get started on their own chicken projects. SO, TMEN ...add me to your list of community resources to share as needed. Thanks for doing this. p.s., i'll send some photos in in a few weeks Jim Adams, thetravelingmasseur@gmail.com

narcissa black
5/22/2009 1:03:33 PM

I also think that there are control freaks out there that no matter how well you do your job, it won't be good enough and they will complain or try to take over.

urania erskine
5/22/2009 11:56:48 AM

With the "Community Chicken" project, as with any other effort, the journey and learning experience is just as important as the outcome. So, learning to work together and finding out individual and personal limitations will be just as valuable. Just think about the 'reliable' friends you will potentially find!

brian alexander
5/22/2009 10:18:19 AM

I do not think that community anything will work very well. There are always those who will want to reap the rewards of other people's efforts, and some, who will, for whatever reason, simply not live up to their committments. I think that you will find that only one, two, or three people will actually work in the henhouse or garden, or whatever one envisions happening in the "community". I wish you the best,however,in this as in all such things you attempt. Brian

brian alexander
5/22/2009 10:07:09 AM

I kept chickens in Oklahoma City many years ago, and loved every minute of it. In the city I know live in, farm animals of any kind are not allowed, (not to mention the apartment house I live in outlawing them.) But when I get out into the country, again, I hope to have chickens and some other animals, including a German Shepherd dog,and a cat.

5/22/2009 9:50:37 AM

I love this idea. Eight months ago we moved from the big city, fast-paced life to our laid-back, rural farm. Since we have 30 acres, our plan was to have a few chickens so we started off with six. Immediately, we fell in love with these baby chicks. They were so cute and just got all excited to see us. Once they were old enough, we built a coop and put them outside. We allow them to free range and I hand feed them frozen corn, which I defrost for them. They have such personalities and are fun to watch. They love having their check rubbed and one thinks she is a lap-chicken, as she hops up on my lap to snuggle. Because we are enjoying the chickens so much, we now have 9 and two baby turkeys. I an looking forward to reading your Community Chicken site from top to bottom and bookmarking it as one of my favorites. Thank you for taking the care and consideration into building a site for related to these fun and incredible animals. Always, Kelli Claypool Business Coach & Author

5/22/2009 9:47:13 AM

This would be wonderful; but most likely will not work... some will get the "entitlement" attitude even though not completing their share of the work;others will simply not do their share. Cynical? Yes. Sorry. No doubt some folks will make it work; I suggest you change this wonderful and useful website to "Chickens" or some such all-encompassing term and then have a section on "Community Chickens." Blessed Day to all. bpp

5/20/2009 8:33:13 AM

Good idea, but I wonder too, how will you make sure everyone is doing their "job". How about getting folks interested in backyard ducks too? I would like to see a community effort geared toward ducks as well. They are GREAT pets AND producers of eggs! www.whatupduck.com

5/16/2009 8:57:34 AM

The only real problem with a 'community chicken project' will be how do you ensure everyone does their assigned job. In no time this project will break down. The biggest problem is the people problem. Ken

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