Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chicken Power

The treatment of laying hens is gaining public attention. Laws are being proposed in state legislatures to improve their living conditions by law, CHICKENS NEED ROOM TO STRETCH Hartford Courant, Michael Markarian, March 7, 2007 The consciences of the people running the companies that sell the eggs are apparently inadequate to guide them.

The best solution is to keep your own hens for your own fresh eggs. Few things are more satisfying than bringing in eggs and cooking them up for breakfast. A friend remarked last week that while one standard egg seems too little and two too much, two of her little bantam eggs are Just Right.

Fresh local eggs are available everywhere. If you can't find them, contact me and I'll locate a source in your area. This tray of Welsummer eggs was awarded a prize in a United Kingdom show and comes from

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mindful eating

I've been enjoying Jane Goodall's book, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. She champions small farmers and producers, for the excellence of the food, their stewardship of the land and the nutritious diet they offer us.

The small flock owners who raise chickens and other kinds of poultry are an important part of the food system. Local farmers and flock owners also offer us the safest food. The recent reports of contamination of produce highlight the dangers of industrial agriculture. One of the people who contributed to my book had been involved with processing chickens for small flock owners for more than ten years, had even gotten a grant to build a mobile processing unit. He had not had a single report of food-borne illness from any chicken processed for a small flock owner, not a single one.

The threat of agri-terrorism is more dire to a centralized food system. A single large operation could be contaminated or disrupted, causing illness and chaos over a large area. Small operations are less attractive as targets precisely because their small size and local influence don't present as much influence.

Dr. Goodall reminisces about her World War II childhood, when rationing and shortages resulted in people growing their own food in Victory Gardens and managing meals around the food that was available. I was struck by the comparison with food restrictions in our lives, such as limited budgets for school lunches. Rather than being creative with local foods, school districts often seek supplementary income by entering contracts with soft drink and candy companies.

There are answers here, and we are fortunate to have leaders such as Dr. Goodall to guide us.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Greater California Poultry Show

The Greater California Poultry Show certainly lived up to its name! The one-day show at the Fresno Fair Grounds attracted lots of excellent quality birds, many rare and historic breeds. The Red Shouldered Yokohama drew a lot of comments, and one young enthusiast proudly showed me the young bird he bought. He was very proud of that beautiful bird.

My books arrived in time to go to the show, where people were excited to see them. We sold all we had with us, but can supply more through the web site.

The pictures attracted lots of attention. Everyone wanted to see a picture of their favorite breeds. I am always eager to acquire more photographs, so please contact me if you have photos of your birds that you would like to share.

Backyard Poultry magazine and Poultry Enthusiast magazine have been generous with SPPA, donating magazines that we can give away in return for a donation to SPPA. It’s a great way to get people acquainted with both the organization and these new publications.

Several people joined SPPA, including one who signed on as a Life Member! This is the best. Life Members are the continuing core of SPPA membership. My personal Welcome to all who joined at the show. We look forward to a great future.