We’re thrilled to send Jessi Bloom’s book, Free Range Chicken Gardens, to all current subscribers this June!
If you’re not an active subscriber, it’s a good time to start or reactivate your past subscription. Free Range Chicken Gardens is a beautiful book that inspires chicken keepers to create a functional and beautiful outdoor space while providing a safe environment for chickens to free range. It starts with basic chicken keeping info and goes on to explain fence and hardscape selections, chicken-friendly plants, sample garden designs, innovative coops, and predator prevention.
Spring is a time when many people wish to start a backyard flock, but their local laws prevent them from doing so. The good news is, lots of people have been successful in changing their local laws and ordinances. Here are some tips for changing the law where you live:
1. Find out exactly what your local ordinances are and make sure they are sufficiently specific. Some ordinances may be vague enough for you take advantage of, for example one that prohibits “barn animals,” but doesn’t specify poultry. However, some ordinances state that anything not addressed in the ordinance is assumed prohibited. Get your information directly from the city, in writing.
2. Ask around and check Facebook for groups of people in your town who are already busy trying to change your local laws. If not, invite others from your area and create a support group. There is strength in numbers and the more people sign on, the better your chances of success will be. Environmental or hunger organizations can help by writing a letter in support of backyard chicken keeping that you may present to your local government.
3. Contact one of the chicken-friendly towns near you. Ask about their policies, how it works and if it has been successful. Then draft an ordinance that is appropriate to your town. You can use the ordinance of a neighboring town as a template.
4. Assemble an informational packet, based on the information you get. State facts, cite your references, include maps charts, photographs and letters of support.
5. Once you’ve got all the information you need, contact your city council and request the issue be placed on the council meeting agenda. Find out how your council meetings work and when public comments are allowed. Learn the protocol for submitting an item for discussion with your public officials.
6. Expect for this to take months. Changing city ordinances is neither easy nor quick, but it can be done. Stay polite, friendly, firm and persistent. This will help win your council’s favor and show them you are serious.
We wish you the best of success in making a difference and helping your community experience the wonderful hobby of chicken keeping. When you do get your flock started, consider signing up for Henny+Roo, the first and only subscription box for chicken keepers, sending treats, supplies and gifts monthly. Learn more at: hennyandroo.com
Our Henny+Roo Brand Representatives not only share how they use our monthly boxes, but introduce you to their flocks and homes through gorgeous photography and insight. We are grateful to our most recent group of brand reps:
Henny+Roo’s owner keeps passion for philanthropy alive.
In a previous post, we talked about how Tina Koral, owner of Henny+Roo started the first subscription box for backyard chicken keepers back in 2015. But it wasn’t her first time starting something that was new to many people.
Back in 2010, after years of work in the nonprofit public health sector, Tina decided to head back to school, this time for a horticulture degree. She’d always loved gardening, and thought that starting a landscape design business would be a great way to help support her family while staying home with her two kids. “I loved learning about plants, the soil, and design concepts,” said Koral, “but studying plants ended up leading me in an unexpected direction.”
In the book, she learned about The Home Gardening Program led by Dan Barker, which was building food gardens for families in need in the Portland, OR area. She was intrigued, and knew that nothing like it existed where she lived in DuPage County, IL, yet there was a large population of food-insecure families. Tina had a strong desire to help supplement the shelf-stable food that these families were receiving from food pantries with fresh, organic, homegrown produce, and in the process teach her young kids the value of philanthropy and helping others. Working closely with Barker and the Home Gardening Program, she began planning how she could serve these families using the HGP model. She connected with her local food pantry to find four families who were both in need of food, and wanted to learn how to grow their own food at home. Alongside these families, she and her husband and kids built these families a 4′ x 8′ raised bed garden, filled it with soil, and planted it with the vegetable seedlings that the families selected. The GardenWorks Project was born.
After a writeup in a local paper, more people wanted to get involved, and the organization grew. To date, Gardenworks has built close to 400 vegetable gardens for families in need with the help of over 200 volunteers, and the impact continues to grow each year.
Tina’s role has changed over the years, from founder, to executive director, to board member. But if you’ve ever tried to turn your passion into a business (or in this case, a nonprofit), you know how disillusionment can set in as you move further away from the passion that lead you to start the business in the first place. If you’ve read the popular book, The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber, you know what we’re talking about. Tina was spending more time doing paperwork than building gardens and serving families. She stepped down from The GardenWorks Project Board of Directors in 2018 in order to have the time to get back to what she loved about the organization – the hands-on work – and now serves as a garden builder.
This leaves her more time to dedicate to connecting pet chicken keepers with the poultry product companies that care about the health and wellness of your flock. Through Henny+Roo, she is also able to support awesome programs like Coops for Troops, and Adopt a Bird Network with our Glory and Hazel fundraiser pins.
Leave a comment and let us know what you’re doing in your community to help people and animals in need!
The We Drink & We Farm Things podcast is a Henny+Roo favorite, so we invited them to the blog to share how and why they do what they do. Take it away, ladies!
We’re Bev & Sam from the podcast, We Drink & We Farm Things. We host a weekly farm comedy podcast where we drink adult beverages, farm, and give zero clucks about having the perfect farm life. Not that we don’t want our farms to be full of good things all the time, but the realities of farm life aren’t always rainbows and sunshine. We like to keep it real with you and have discussions that include the mistakes we make, new knowledge we gain, entertainment, and sometimes we go off on tangents that are non-farming related.
We started the podcast because we wanted to share farming stories and knowledge for those into chicken keeping, hobby farming, or homesteading life that needed a happy hour style chat they could listen to whenever and wherever. Whether you’re a farm newbie or a seasoned homesteader, you’ll love our podcast if you enjoy casual learning and don’t mind some slightly inappropriate humor along the way.
Bev Ross is a new(ish) homesteader that moved her family from the desert suburbs of Phoenix to rural Ohio in 2017. Her beverage of choice is beer, and she has 11 chickens and counting, plus goats, and is trying to be really good so Santa will bring her a donkey someday.
Sam Bolton is the accidental hobby farmer at Chickens & Wine. Her beverage of choice is, wine, and she has 70 chickens and counting, plus goats, ducks, and a mini pig. She hosts #chickenselfiesunday over on Instagram.
If you’re totally new to listening to podcasts and want to check us out, we suggest you head to our website and listen to the latest episode. Then, be sure to check out our interview with Tina from Henny+Roo. She was awesome enough to be our 2nd interview EVER!
Find yourself hooked? New episodes are released every Friday on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app. They are also always published on our website. You can follow us on Instagram @drinkandfarm or Facebook, and join our Facebook group.
Download the podcast, grab your ear buds and your favorite drink, and head outside. Bev and Sam are bringing the fun back to farm chores!
We are happy to introduce Kelly Rutkowski, our guest blogger and founder of Adopt a Bird Network, and organization working to promote poultry adoption from shelters. We are helping to raise funds for Adopt a Bird so that they can continue and grow their mission – with each sale of our Hazel enamel pin, we will donate $5 to Adopt a Bird. Meet Kelly and learn more about her organization.
Hi! My name is Kelly Rutkowski and I would love it if you might consider adopting a bird from an animal shelter or rescue when you decide to add to your flock. I would love you even more if you adopted a rooster! I wasn’t always as chicken-obsessed as I am. Or actually, maybe I was since I actually rescued my first chickens back when I was sixteen.
I am a Clemson University graduate and structural engineer with an MBA, who left a successful career designing marinas to follow my passion of helping animals, particularly chickens. I have an elderly horse named Cash and a flock of birds of my own, most of whom came from various shelters or were rescued locally. They each have their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes, and friends and foes within the flock. Most know their names, some can perform tricks, and all of them are used to being picked up and cuddled by me on a daily basis. Over half of the birds in my flock are roosters!
I run the website PoultryDVM.com, and founded Adopt a Bird Network (ABN), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the presence of the forgotten birds (especially chickens) in animal shelters across the United States, with the intent of finding each a loving, no-kill, and forever home.
To help accomplish this, ABN connects available homeless birds to prospective adopters and rescues. We also produce educational infographics and give backyard chicken keeping workshops at different animal shelters across the country. We gave our first workshop last August in Los Angeles in partnership with Los Angeles City Animal Services, and are scheduled to do another in March.
There is a huge need for Adopt a Bird Network, because as backyard chickens gain in popularity, an increasing number are ending up in animal shelters. Most are picked up as strays after being deliberately abandoned in parking lots, vacant homes (where their owners moved away and left them), parks, on the side of the road, left in a cardboard box outside the door of the shelter, garbage dumpsters, or even tied up and thrown in ponds. Others are surrendered by their owners or confiscated from cruelty cases.
Depending on the shelter, these birds might end up euthanized, sitting for months, or even years, in isolation while waiting for someone to adopt them (often because nobody even knows they are there), or given away as a food source. A lucky few are adopted out to good homes or transferred over to a rescue or sanctuary. Since ABN started back in August 2017, the number of lucky birds has been steadily rising.
Through ABN, I am trying to inspire others to care, like I do, about these birds (ESPECIALLY the poor roosters!) and to think of them as companions and pets, for they are no different than a cat or dog. They deserve the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life, free from fear of predators, taken to the veterinarian when they are sick, and valued for who they are – not what they can provide.
ABN is filing to become a 501c3 this month, thanks to the generous donation from Henny+Roo! We would also like to thank the amazing support we received from our wonderful ambassadors: Lipstick and Chickens, Viking the Lab, and Hen Stefani, and those of you who purchased a pin to help us!
The January Henny+Roo box marks the third anniversary of our first box! We shipped the first ever subscription box for chicken keepers in January 2016 box to 60 excited subscribers, and are happy to say that many of them are still receiving our boxes! We love the chicken keeping community that we are so proud to be a part of.
We selected items for our January 2019 box that support you and your flock as we trudge through winter and look forward to warmer days. Inside your January box:
Hen Print Scarf: Stay warm and show off your favorite hobby in style. Produced by our friends at Cheeky’s Boutique, and available for purchase here.
Chicken Keeping Journal: Keep all of your flock notes in one place in this blank journal. Items you may wish to record: Names, breeds, ages, expenses, egg production tracking, incubation dates and results, hatch dates, illnesses, treatments and medication, deaths/culls, observations, photos, 4H and show information, projects/repairs, to-do lists, to-buy lists, seasonal reminders, sketches, wish lists, goal tracking. Get one here.
Hentastic Mealworm and Oregano Treats: High-protein treats to keep your flock happy and healthy with oregano, a natural antibiotic. unipetusa.com
Epsom Salts with Lavender: Epsom salt baths and lavender are commonly used to relax hens so that you can observe ans assess for injury and disease.
Layer Boost Supplement with Omega 3: Contains a blend of vitamins, electrolytes, enzyme, omega 3, and Marigold for use with layer chickens to increase the quality and quantity of eggs. durvet.com
Coop Cup: Administer water when hens are caged for injury or disease recovery, or use in the coop to serve grit or treats. chickenguardian.com
Latex Gloves: Place in your poultry first aid kit so they are readily available when needed.
Nesting Box Liner: In every box and compostable.
The January 2019 Henny+Roo box is available for purchase at: hennyandroo.com. We thank all of our subscribers and product vendors for making it an awesome three years for Henny+Roo!