Backyard Chicken Class 101 March 7, 2013

I recently taught my first backyard chicken class–what a blast! Over the years, I’ve answered a lot of chicken-related questions, but I find that hands-on demonstrations really help with in-depth understanding.

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Everyone got to meet our Mille Fleur D’Uccle Chick

This was the first official chicken class I’ve taught… but honestly I’ve taught “unofficially” for years. For instance, we’ve had guests and friends to our property numerous times who wandered straight over to the chicken pens, and immediately started asking questions. Several of the people I helped unofficially are now happy chicken owners. It sure makes me feel good to help them get started, so that led me to put together my very first chicken class.

What I see is that a lot of people interested in chickens buy reference books to help them get started, but find them lacking. Later they find themselves buying yet another book looking for answers. Here’s where I can let you in on a little secret: Because we’ve deal with people every day who have read the books and still have questions, we’re in the best position to fix it. The My Pet Chicken Handbook  is expected to be released January of 2014, and then we’ll have the perfect how-to book to recommend. I can’t wait! But even so, there’s something to be said for a real hands-on class.

I have to admit, I really enjoy personally bringing people over to the “chicken side.” If you’ve met me, you know I could go on and on about my wonderful birds. Some people think I’m crazy, which I accept, and others just blame me for their new found chicken obsession.

Last weekend was the chicken class; I guess I decided I’d get people hooked on raising chickens in large groups rather than one at a time! So through word of mouth, we had a good size of group of some wonderful families, ready to get their foot in the coop door. The feathered girls and I were so pleased to get to show off their awesomeness. Mother Nature wasn’t as cooperative, and decided to rain on our parade… but the families that came braved the weather anyway.

2013 Chicken Class

A little rain and cold wasn’t stopping our chicken class from visiting the chickens in their coops.

Our chicken class covered basic information such as raising baby chicks, choosing a breed, coop space and healthcare. There were also lots of great questions that brought up topics often missed in books and guides. In addition, students in our chicken class got to see real backyard eggs in  many different colors and shapes. Plus, everyone got the chance to see how to tell if a cracked egg is fertile, as well as the reproductive tract of a hen. Even our rooster ‘Butch’ got to show off all the positives of having a rooster. He was well-behaved as always, demonstrating that the idea that all roosters are mean and loud is a misconception.

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‘Butch’ Mottled Cochin Bantam Roo

 

Chicken class students also got to see what all the different types of feed looked like, and what chickens’ feeding needs were through their life span… not to mention that they learned about all the things they could look for in a bird to see if the diet was lacking anything.

Having a backyard chicken class was a perfect way to see that not everyone has the same needs or expectations for their flock. Some people need productivity, while others just wanted pets good with kids. Some of the chicken class attendees wanted to raise chicks and get the full experience, but others wanted to start with young pullets and get right to the eggs. I got the chance to lay out all their options, and I think everyone was so pleased they had so many choices.

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Egg Talk

The chicken class ran over in time! On paper we were aiming for 2 hours, but  there was just so much to cover and so much to see that we ran over an hour.  I’ll be planning more appropriately next time when scheduling! And there will definitely be a next time. Everyone had such a great time, how can I not want to do it again?

Have you had the opportunity to take a course in caring for backyard chickens? Or do you look back and wish you’d had the chance to take a chicken class before you got started?

16 Comments
Cheryl Noble March 7th, 2013

I would so love to know if you have another class in this area. I live in upstate NY about an hour away from Canada. I like many of your students picked up every book I could find about raising chickens. I so look forward to hearing from you, and will be looking for the book you mentioned when it comes out. Many thanks from a fellow chicken lover, Cheryl

Deb Cole March 7th, 2013

We are having a “meet the chickens” day this Saturday with our Church’s moms group and their families. We invited them to bring their kids to see and learn about chickens, life cycles, and where their food comes from.
I know some adults are coming because they are interested in raising chickens for eggs and want to see what it’s like.
We only have 4 chickens (from MyPetChicken) currently, but I’m hoping it will be a good event and help us city folk to get a better understanding of our connection to our food. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate as well. 🙂

Sue March 7th, 2013

Lovely photos!

Kim March 7th, 2013

I LOVE THAT CHICK!!!

shannon March 7th, 2013

Cheryl, I would love to have a reason to travel to get a chance to talk more about chickens. I’m very lucky I get to do it for My Pet Chicken. There may be classes offered through an extension in your county. It might be a good idea to call and ask.

.domain, a great option to look at the My Pet Chicken website, and search some of the most cold-hardy breeds they have to offer. They can be found here: http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Especially-Cold-Hardy-c68.aspx

Kay March 7th, 2013

When are you having another class? My chicks arrive in May. First time owner. Purchased from MyPetChicken. I need all the help I can get.

Kim March 7th, 2013

It’s so nice of you,Shannon,to think about helping other people learn more about chickens. I love the beautiful chick in the picture.

shannon March 8th, 2013

It’s such an amazing experience you get from keeping chickens. I’m so happy to spread the fever!

We’re planning told another class locally in April. A date should be set in the next few weeks. With my schedule that will probably be the last one for 2013. I hope to meet, and convert more people soon. 😀

Kim March 9th, 2013

I love that chick! That’s a sweet class to attend! It’s nice to teach people about chickens. I am getting eggs to hatch from a neighbor. 🙂

Debbie Harper March 12th, 2013

Attended the class – actually getting my first chicks in about 2 weeks – can’t wait to begin the adventure!!

shannon March 12th, 2013

It was great having you Debbie!

Kim March 16th, 2013

Oh, how sweet. 🙂

Caroline March 26th, 2013

Oh you must come to Washington! or for next year maybe Texas!? 🙂

Aurelia March 30th, 2013

That’s a great idea currently I have 9 chicks 3 which I am raising for a aunt and 12 hens and 1 roster 5 of the hens I got from my pet chicken

david April 4th, 2013

that baby chick that’s on your website do you know what breed that is its the chick in your hand ASAP thank you

shannon April 5th, 2013

Hi David,

The baby chick here is a Mille Fleur D’uccle.

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