Chicken Apothecary

Denver Chicken Coop Tour A Success

Below is a good little article by Susan Clotfelter of the Denver Post.  
Egg-citing: Urban chicken coop calendar puts Denver poultry palaces on parade 
A few of the young chicken farmers featured in the Denver Chicken Coop Tour 2013 Calendar (photos by Chuck Svoboda and James Bertini)

A few of the young chicken farmers featured in the Denver Chicken Coop Tour 2013 Calendar (photos by Chuck Svoboda and James Bertini)

There are posh coops. Cute coops. Hipster coops, recycled coops, and even a camper coop – all in the Denver metro area.

Earlier this month, Denver Urban Homesteading celebrated the third year of its annual Denver Chicken Coop tour with a little something extra: a calendar to educate aspiring urban chicken farmers year-round with information and photos. Its pages take a reader into yards from Globeville to Cherry Creek and Baker to Lakewood, where James Bertini and Chuck Svoboda photographed the chicken coops and the families who built them (spending anywhere from a mere $10 to $1,800). 

“We wanted to represent different aspects of chicken owning,” Bertini said of the calendar. “I tried to be instructive, so people could learn something about chickens each month as well as having a beautiful picture.”

Kids go for baby chicks at a Denver Urban Homesteading chicken swap (Provided by Denver Urban Homesteading)

Kids go for baby chicks at a Denver Urban Homesteading chicken swap (Provided by Denver Urban Homesteading)

Denver Urban Homesteading is a market, classroom and meeting space at 200 Santa Fe Drive in Denver where urban farmers and local foodies can join a winemaking collective, have the honey harvested from their beehive or learn to refinish old wood furniture, among other activities.

The calendar, however, is a total wing thing. One month promotes Denver Urban Homesteading’s monthly chicken swap, held each first Saturday (next swap is Nov. 6). At the peak of the season in spring, the swaps bring as many as 100 people out to buy, sell or trade turkeys, ducks and chickens. “Sometimes people end up with roosters they didn’t anticipate, so they bring them to the swap,” Bertini said, “and they find somebody who needs that rooster.”

It’s deliberate that the annual tour takes place on the same day as a chicken swap, Bertini says. “People are able to see chickens for sale in the morning, and then are able to visit homes of chickens in the afternoon.” He and wife Irina showed off the coop at their home, and they have two neighbors who also have coops. 

Most people who acquire poultry at the swap already have their coops built. That’s necessary in Denver, Bertini says, where predators can include foxes, raccoons and sometimes coyotes. If people leave chickens exposed without a protective roof, they can also become subject to predation by hawks, Bertini said. And “It shocks people when they lose their chickens. It happens too frequently to chicken owners who aren’t prepared.”

The strangest question he gets on the tours is is “Do you need a rooster to have eggs?” he said, and the answer is “no, of course not. You only need a rooster if you want fertilized eggs.)

Some of the most engaging photos in the calendar are of young poultry fanciers. “Chickens are so good for children,” Bertini said. “They learn how to deal with another kind of animal. They find out where food comes from. They learn how to be responsible with the care and feeding of these other animals. And chickens are fun. Children love chickens.”

And while some grown-ups name the members of their flocks, and some don’t, thinking that it’s easier to ultimately part with them, children don’t hold back, Bertini said. “Kids always name them.”

The calendar is available at Denver Urban Homesteading for $12 or $14.60 if you’re having it mailed. Look for it to also land at Tattered Cover bookstores; those details were being worked out.


Chicken Calendula Balm

This balm/salve is excellent to rub on your chicken wattles to prevent frostbite.  Many forums mention to use petroleum jelly but I wanted an organic/natural product to use on my chickens.  I have also found that this also works great on all skin aliments (scaly legs).  You can use the oils and herbs of your choice – just make sure they carry the healing properties you are looking for.  For this recipe I solar infused calendula flowers in olive oil for two weeks.

You can also use this on yourself for those garden hands.  I would recommend using grape seed oil for its healing and absorption rate.  Since this is meant to be a thick balm to protect your chickens it’s a bit greasy but just add 3 teaspoons of tapioca starch and it’s wonderful!  

How to Make Chicken Calendula Balm

1 c. Solar Infused Calendula Flowers In Olive Oil
1/2 c. Coconut Oil
1/2 c. beeswax pastilles (if using solid beeswax use 2 oz.)

Place beeswax into a pint sized canning jar. Put this jar into a saucepan and fill the saucepan with water until it comes 3/4 of the way up the canning jar.  Put on the stove over medium/low heat. Heat and stir occasionally until melted. Add coconut oil and olive oil and continue to melt.  Beeswax takes a little longer to melt so I like to add my oils later to prevent any heat damage to them.  Let cool to room temperature either by leaving out or quicken the process by putting into the refrigerator. I have found the best way is to stir, refrigerate, and stir about 5 times until I get the desired consistency.  A blender works great but the cleanup process is no fun.  

If you want to turn this recipe from chicken balm into more of a gardener’s balm stir in your starch and essential oils once its cooled.  Let me know how it turns out for you.  Also remember local, organic, fair trade, and sustainable are your best ingredients.



More Chicken Photos

I decided I needed to start sorting through all the photos on my computer.  Slowly I have found a bunch on photos of the girls that were never posted.  Here are some for now.  I hope to add more later.


What Happened In The Chicken Run?

Not sure what happened in the chicken run but I now have a limper. I am hoping its just a sprain and not a some type of growth. I am wondering if I should try and splint it..............


Herbs And Flowers

This Is Why I Can't Seem To Keep Flowers And Herbs Around Very Long!