Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

VIDEO: How to Handle Broody Hens — from Harvey Ussery

We’re busily promoting and selling our new book The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery, so I wanted to do a little research on the prevalence of the household flock. Imagine my surprise when I found this Slate article from two years ago, debunking the “bogus trend” of burgeoning backyard chicken ownership.

“In all of God’s sweet aviary there exists no bird more diabolical and ruthless than the egg-laying chicken. Despite the darkness of this clucking beast’s heart, our nation’s press has gone on a rampage insisting that more and more citizens everywhere in the United States are choosing to board and feed these creatures in their urban and suburban backyards so they can harvest the eggs. It’s a trend, the press claims. But we know better, don’t we? To begin with, keeping chickens is a filthy, time-consuming, and expensive way to keep the pantry filled with eggs.”

Say what?!

Apart from the fact that the writer clearly has a personal problem with our feathered friends, he was a bit premature in denouncing this so called bogus trend. If my own participation is any indication, two years ago I had owned zero chickens, but today I can proudly say I have raised (okay, and slaughtered) almost 200. That’s a huge percentage increase in my own completely unscientific opinion. When my partner and I had to move across the country, we split our last flock into two groups, thereby starting two separate households off on their own hen-raising adventures. So if you count the first household I helped initiate into the poultry world (by bringing home a pair of wee chicks from a trip to the feed store…without asking permission first, teehee), and my own, that’s four households that started raising birds in the past two years. And although my own household is currently (sadly) hen-less, the folks we gave our birds to benefit daily from their clucky hijinks and fresh eggs each day. On that note, I wanted to share with you the first in a series of videos from the incredibly wise and gentle Harvey Ussery. This one talks about broody hens — hens with a natural, strong mothering instinct — and some ideas of how to deal with them. Enjoy! Also, check out Harvey’s own website here:

Why You Need to Drink Wet-Hopped Beer Right Now

Wet-hopped beer is the ultimate in seasonal and local brews. It is made from fresh hops picked right off the bine in order to capture the aromatic hop flavor when it is most potent. The tricky part is fresh hops have virtually no shelf life, so brewers must spring into action as soon as the hops […] Read More..

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..