eggs & tea » Blog Archive » “Chicken…always sunny and useful, will endure”

“Chicken…always sunny and useful, will endure”

Today’s title comes from a very timely article published in The New Yorker (Sept. 28, 2009) by Susan Orlean, “The It Bird – The return of the back-yard chicken.”

Tuesday evening, Ben & I presented “Hawaii Backyard Poultry Management” as part of “Practical Agriculture for Hamakua 2009″. In case you missed the class, here’s the PDF (2 MB) as maintained on our Ahualoa Chicken Notes. The file covers a source of local stock of baby chicks, feeding organically and challenges of feeding locally. We had a lot of fun talking chicken with 15 chicken enthusiasts. (bok, bok!)

Ben and I got started into farming by the first class of its kind in 2006. Back then, Jim Cain was the program manager. Now, Donna Mitts is the lead organizer. Take a look at the classes offered many which are geared towards specifically farming in Hawaii.

There’s plenty of venues to talk chicken story with us:

Saturday, October 24 (9 am to 2pm) Ben and I will host an educational table at Hamakua Alive! (Pau’auilo Elementary and Middle School 43-1497 Old Main Road Paauilo, HI 96776) We’ll be happy to talk story about backyard chickens and tea (camellia sinensis).  By the way, we have a limited quantity of black tea available for purchase.

Tuesday, October 27 from 6pm, Vicky Dunaway will discuss “A Pastured Poultry Model That Works” for about 20 mins. Her talk is followed by a public screening of “Mad City Chickens,” a feature length documentary about the return of urban backyard chickens. We hope you’ll join us for the 1 hr 18 minute movie.

Halloween, Saturday, October 31, join the Practical Ag class for a farm tour on our homestead, “Ahualoa Egg & Tea Farm” from 9 am to 11 am. I hope to introduce you to Ophelia, my favorite Barred Rock hen and Lil’ Buff, my favorite Buff Orpington. Register with Donna Mitts (call 936-2117 or email

In this short video Susan Orlean introduces Tookey, a Gingernut Ranger, one of her original hen who is currently at the top of the pecking order. (In our flock of ten remaining hens, I picked out the top hen: it’s Alpha-hen, an Australian Orpington, commonly shortened to Australorp.) Watching chickens, online or in real life, makes me happy. It’s nice to know the chickens are making a comeback in backyard all across America.

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