Karen was a guest speaker on national radio yesterday - a blogtalk radio show called The Chicken Whisperer. She had a 40-minute spot in which she talked about homesteading. It was terrific! I'd never thought about it before, but she and James are true homesteaders! It's really worth listening to. Go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backyardpoultry and click on the January 26 segment.
Anyway, I listened to the whole show this morning. It was quite interesting, and as a result, I will end this day much smarter than I began it. So I want to share a little bit of that new knowledge with my friends.
First, a quiz: How many cows does it take to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs?
No, this is not a trick question. I thought footballs were made with pig skin too, but apparently not. The answer is 3000.
No, that's not something Karen said. The radio host told that before Karen's segment came on. But I do have to give Karen credit for everything else I learned today - about chickens. Something she said today triggered an Internet search that led from one thing to another and then another, until I now have a new appreciation for chickens.
Karen mentioned "hen savers" when she was talking about a hawk getting one of her chickens. I had to jot that term down so I could look it up afterwards. I couldn't come close to imagining what a hen saver might be. The name certainly didn't give a clue.
As I learned later, Hen Saver is actually a brand name for a hen apron, also called a chicken saddle. This device is put on hens to protect their backs from roosters during mating. Apparently, during mating, the rooster can really tear up the hen's back. The apron provides protection for the poor hen during this apparently over-zealous encounter. The hen apron also has the potential for protecting a chicken against a hawk attack by reducing the hawk's ability to grasp the chicken.
Hen aprons come in an assortment of colors, including camouflage. They fit over the chicken like a backpack. You can also get one that has predator eyes - believed to deter a hawk from even thinking about attacking the chicken.
Hmmm, a hen apron with predator eyes. Now that's a tough picture to conjure up in your mind.
The pictures below are from http://www.hensaver.com/. The site has some great pictures and apparently some great products. I hope you will visit the site and if you own chickens, purchase a hen apron or two. They look like good quality. Some are even lined with fleece and provide warmth.
|The hen apron|
The hen apron with predator eyes
|The Hen Holster Chicken Diaper with Lease Snap|
A strange thing happened to me today though, I guess from reading all this chicken stuff. I ran across this great website - http://www.thecitychicken.com/ - a site to encourage city folk to take the plunge into poultry. There was all this great information about how to keep chickens in the city, information about chicken laws, and dozens of pictures of the most beautiful chickens. The idea of having a couple of chickens actually started looking pretty good.
I think it was seeing the chicken tractor though that really caused me to entertain the possibility. According to the website, a chicken tractor is basically a bottomless cage or pen that can be rolled from one area of the yard to another. It's bottomless so that the chickens can scratch and eat grass and bugs off the ground, and the chicken manure can go straight onto the ground and fertilize it.
Yes, I could almost imagine a chicken tractor with a couple of chickens like the one in the picture in our back yard. It actually made me a little excited. Excited enough to pick up the phone and call the city. I spoke to the nicest young man. No, he wasn't surprised that I might want a couple of chickens, and No, there is no code prohibiting chickens in the city. The only restriction is that chickens must not be allowed to cross over onto another neighbor's property, and they wouldn't in a chicken tractor. Why, he even told me we could have a goat if we wanted. One goat per 1/2 acre!
Wait a minute! What in the world am I doing!!
"Where do you live?" he asked. When I told him, he gave me the saving grace. He told me that while there are no city codes prohibiting chickens and goats in the city, there are, in all probability, deed restrictions that prohibit them in my neighborhood. And that is certainly and most likely true.
Whew! Thank goodness! I was about to get a little out of control there.
One thing about it though. It has been a good learning day. The more I learn about chickens and goats, the more I appreciate them. I might even have one of each some day.