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Chickens

Unfortunately, bird flu is in the news again..and it's a serious concern for all poultry owners in the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Illinois. A strain of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), variant H5N2, has been discovered in numerous Midwestern states within the past month or so. This virus has not been transmitted to people or entered the food supply, but literally millions of chickens and turkeys have already died or been euthanized due to this disease. It has affected both large commercial operations and small backyard flocks, so it's time for every poultry owner in Illinois to take precautions and begin...

On Valentine’s Day 2015, a happy crowd gathered at the Chicago High School for Agriculture Sciences for the 3rd annual Urban Livestock Expo. Sponsored by Angelic Organics Learning Center with partners Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, the Expo offered visitors intensive sessions on raising chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, quails, honeybees, and solitary bees in their backyards.

    - Presenter Abe Lentner’s daughter Lucy showed off her ribbon-winning ducks.
    - Ryan Detwiler shared his enthusiasm for Coturnix quails (which he and husband Corey Gilson call “kitchen chickens”) while Corey greeted visitors eager...


    This post is part of an ongoing blog series - The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators - created by Lauren Strug, our Duffy Community Partnerships Intern from Beloit College. Although Deb’s primary work is overseeing all of our initiative as the Senior Program Director, she also leads on-farm programs. Keep reading to learn more about Deb!

    How long have you worked at Angelic Organics?

    I started in 2004, so I’m starting my twelfth year.

    What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center?

    I’m the...

    Coop Tour, Chicago, Urban Chickens, Chicken Coop

    On September 20 and 21, the Learning Center and Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts held our 5th Annual Windy City Coop Tour. Between periodic showers, 29 hosts reported good traffic during the 4-hour windows that they were open for tour visitors, with an estimate of 350 at all sites. 16 Hosts were new to the tour, while the others had hosted at least one previous year – and 3 hosts have participated each of the 5 years of the tour! During that time, 70 hosts in at least 26 wards of Chicago and 5 neighboring communities have opened their yards to the...

    Here at Angelic Organics Learning Center, we love chickens.

    So much so that we have staff who have worked in their cities, towns, and villages to overturn the chicken laws so that residents can have feathered friends in their own backyard. (By the way, congratulations Roscoe, IL!)

    We love chickens so much that we frequently stop a conversation mid-sentence to gawk at their awkardly hilarious run.

    We love chickens and we can't get enough of them.

    In light of this chicken-love, we recently decided that enough was enough. It was officially time for "Bring Your Chicken to Work" Day.

    ...
    Urban Livestock Expo

    By Martha Boyd, Program Director, Urban Initiative (Chicago)

    On February 16th, over 200 visitors convened at the Garfield Park Conservatory to learn about caring for livestock in the city. 

    Many people helped make the first annual Urban Livestock Expo a success – the organizers: Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), Angelic Organics Learning Center, Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts, the hosts, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, the 15 presenters, 20+ volunteers AND the standing room only crowd who came to learn from experienced practitioners about keeping chickens, ducks, bees, goats,...

    After taking the Learning Center’s “Basic Backyard Chicken Care” workshop in the fall of 2009, entrepreneur John Emrich had a light bulb moment.

     

    “When I logged on to the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts discussions page, I noticed that 9 out of 10 posts were about how to get organic chicken feed for backyard chickens. There wasn’t a local source for organic chicken feed.”

     

    Emrich launched his organic chicken feed delivery business, Backyard Chicken Run, soon after and made his first delivery in January 2010. He now serves more than 100 customers throughout Chicago and the suburbs, delivering organic chicken...

    One of the joys of working at the Learning Center is experiencing the farm for the first time through the eyes of a child.  That connection with the farm is often delightful, and surprising, coming in forms so different from the connections adults make with the farm.

    This week, the Waldorf 3rd graders were helping me care for the chickens during animal chores.  We opened the door to the eggmobile, and the three girls hopped right up.

    The chickens, as they settled in towards night, had begun to roost.  For those uninitiated to farm life, chickens sleep on...

    Thank You for Being a Hen: Chicken enthusiasts take roost in Chicago.

    Journalist Nic Halverson quotes the Learning Center's Chicago Urban Initiative Program Director Martha Boyd and the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts in the recent cover story, "Thank You for Being a Hen," for Mindful Metropolis. 

     

    "Riding high on the momentum of the local food movement’s ascent from the fringes into a more mainstream public consciousness, in the last few years, the renaissance of urban agriculture has cities nationwide revisiting old ordinances and drafting new laws to allow for small-scale backyard chicken keeping." writes Halverson.

    The article provides an overview of the ...

    Miss Juanita Chickie

    We said goodbye this week to one of our colleagues. Miss Juanita Chickie was a nine-year old Araucana chicken, and a fine host indeed for our education programs.

     

    She was raised by young Adam, who carried her pretty much continuously when she was a spring chicken. Thanks to his attentiveness and care, Miss Juanita was by far and away our most amenable chicken to handling. Nary a squawk if a first-time chicken holder would lift her from the ground.

     

    Consequently, thousands of children (and quite possibly hundreds of adults) had their first up close and personal experience...

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