Did you know Feb. 24 through March 2 is Bird Health Awareness Week? USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) invites you to celebrate by joining poultry experts on a webinar called, “Growing Chicks Into Healthy Chickens: Getting Ready for Spring,” to be held on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. This webinar is hosted by the Chicken Whisperer, an Extension veterinarian and an APHIS veterinarian. Registration is required and details are here.
The Chicken Whisperer raises backyard birds in rural Georgia. He started years ago with a few hens and ducks, and this year is starting a new flock of 40 birds at his new home. Andy Schneider (the Chicken Whisperer’s real name), has helped countless bird lovers with their own flocks, has a radio show about backyard bird care, and runs the Atlanta Backyard Poultry MeetUp group which has over 1,600 members.
Backyard birds are finding homes in other parts of the country too. For a year and half, Alyn Kiel, a USDA employee, started every morning admiring her Rhode Island Red/Barred Rock hens. She would check for eggs, gather up any fresh ones and make sure her birds were healthy and happy. Then she would wish her three birds good-bye for the day, step out of her door into downtown Baltimore and live an urban life.
“There’s nothing not to like about backyard birds!” croons Andy. “The eggs are always fresh and tasty, but there are many other benefits to backyard chickens like composting, fertilizer, insect control, education for kids, and entertainment for the family.”
Raising backyard birds is becoming increasingly popular across the country and, as the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass describes, are part of the growing momentum and interest in local meat and poultry.
That’s why we invite you to celebrate Bird Health Awareness Week by joining the “Growing Chicks into Healthy Chickens” webinar on February 28, learning more about how to keep your birds safe and healthy with tips from APHIS’ Biosecurity for Birds campaign, following @Healthy_Harry on Twitter for regular bird tips, and entering the “Cutest Chick” photo contest for a chance for your bird to be in the limited edition Biosecurity for Bird’s 2014 Calendar (contest opens March 1).