Episode 22 Show Notes

Raising Chickens in New York City


We received an awesome email with some great questions from Justin in Queens:

Hi. I am new to the whole chicken thing, I would like to learn more about what to do with the chicken manure, how to and whats the best thing to do with it. my back yard is a slab of concrete. In the city we are all so close, I do not think I just can start a pile of chicken poop with out my neighbors noticing and calling the DEP. lol Do you have any suggestions, best way to age it, must it be aired or in a trashcan enclosed, how long to age it for and best way to use it as compost, and is it really worth the effort? I have 2 Australorp chickens i found running around my neighborhood and they are doing awesome laying eggs everyday. they don’t have any mucus discharge or i really don’t see them itching but their is one that sounds like she coughs but only when nervous or drinking water. I am also raising 7 chicks. my lot it 25X50 and i have build two coops of 9’x3′ each with 4 nest boxes. they sit on raised planters that are filed with dirt. the chicks are only 2 weeks old so they are in my house. is this alot off chickens? the 2 big girls are outside and they love it. LOVE your show.

Chicken manure is the best fertilizer out there because of its high nitrogen content. If you have a garden, you may wish to save it. You can do this by just letting the pile age or by composting it. The two reasons for aging are to let the manure temper so it doesn’t burn your plants, and to make sure that any microorganisms (like Salmonella) die off and don’t transmit to your veggies.

Each of your coops has 27 square feet of space, which is good for a maximum of three chickens each. With two such coops, six laying hens should give you about 30 eggs a week!

Suzy and I tried to figure out what to do about the cough. It gets complicated. You’ll just have to listen.

Is it Cruel to Send Baby Chicks Through the Mail? [12:44]

E022aSuzy discovered an interesting petition posted to Change.org. Ronda, who created the petition, wrote the following:

A post on Facebook today had me livid and I felt compelled to start a petition.

Yesterday I was at the post office and heard the familiar sound of newly hatched chicks. They were calling out from inside a pair of cardboard boxes on the counter. No mama. No food. No water. Yes, the shipping of live, day-old baby chicks is a booming business in the States. I noted that the boxes had a website address for MyPetChicken.com. Here’s what the company has to say about the ordeal the chicks go through:

“When you get them home, be prepared: one or two may have died in shipping or may be on their way out. Some chicks are born less hardy than others and can’t withstand the stress and cold temperatures involved in transporting them around the country. Most hatcheries, in fact, prepare for that by including an extra bird or two for free. Care for the weak birds as best you can, and bury the dead…”

The site goes on to warn parents not to open the boxes in front of their children because of the trauma of seeing dead and dying baby animals….

It’s quite hard to believe that this business is perfectly legal.

As much as Facebook is known as a place for rational discourse and respect for differing opinions, this Facebook post sent people into a frenzy of nastiness, threats and other ugliness.? So today we are discussing whether it is cruel to send baby chicks through the mail.

At the end of our discussion, you may not agree with us that it is not cruel to mail baby chicks, but at least you will know both sides of the story so you can make an informed decision.



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