|| FEATURED STORY | P. Allen Smith
Although best known as an award-winning food, lifestyle and garden expert and for his television programs, P. Allen Smith says he has a secret passion that only those who have shared the experience can really understand.
"Chickens!" said Allen. "As a young child I became fascinated with raising various breeds of these beautiful birds. My fascination began with a brown Leghorn hen that was running loose in front of an old hotel on Main Street in my hometown. After much maneuvering and the help of my grandmother, the hen was finally caught, and I determined that I had a new pet."
Initially Allen had to keep her in a cage, but his family soon moved to a farm where she could enjoy a larger living area. It's on the farm that Allen says his addiction to poultry began.
"Being a curious kid, I was fascinated with all the different breeds and enjoyed raising many kinds," said Allen.
As an adult, Allen continues to enjoy a flock of chickens at his Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, which spans more than 500 acres and is located 20 minutes outside of Little Rock, Arkansas overlooking the Arkansas River Valley.
Allen has been a professional garden designer for 25 years and a garden center owner and operator for 10 years. He is the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home and P. Allen Smith's Garden to Table, the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens, and is a regular contributor on NBC's The TODAY Show. He also wrote the series of best-selling Garden Home books, which includes Bringing the Garden Indoors: Container, Crafts and Bouquets for Every Room, published in 2009.
Allen designed his Garden Home, which is styled after 19th century American farmsteads and includes a Greek Revivial "green" cottage, two terraced gardens, a one acre vegetable garden, orchards, daffodil hill, pastures, sheep and even a donkey named Moose.
Allen raises both Heritage and modern breeds including Jersey Giants, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Gray Dorkings, Silver Laced Wyandottes, New Hampshire Reds and White Red Laced Cornish. He also has Sebastopol and Toulouse geese along with a flock of Blue Slate turkeys. Those that he is most passionate about are the Heritage Breeds, which is why he founded the Heritage Poultry Conservancy in 2009.
The Heritage Poultry Conservancy is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and support of all threatened breeds and strains of domestic poultry through the encouragement of education, stewardship and good breeding practices.
Heritage Chickens were defined by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) to draw attention to and support the conservation of breeds that have become endangered due to the industrialization of the chicken industry.
The ALBC's abbreviated definition is as follows: A Heritage Egg can only be produced by an American Poultry Association Standard breed. A Heritage Chicken is hatched from a heritage egg sired by an American Poultry Association Standard breed established prior to the mid-20th century, is slow growing, naturally mated with a long productive outdoor life.
For a more information and an in-depth definition, visit www.heritagepoultry.org or www.albc-usa.org/heritagechicken.
For those poultry owners just starting out and not sure which breed to choose, Allen has listed many on his website and recommends starting out with just a few, all of the same breed.
"And like my experience with the Leghorn hen, you will learn a tremendous amount that will enable you to expand your flock in the years to come," said Allen.
Although the obvious benefits of raising chickens are fresh eggs and meat, Allen says that free fertilizer and pest control for your garden are added bonuses.
"They are great recyclers, eating extra or leftover garden and kitchen scraps," said Allen.
Allen feeds his chickens Layena® Plus Omega-3, Purina's new feed that provides three times the Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, that's in a typical egg.* He started using it as part of a feeding trial for Purina and liked the results.
"My flock of heritage chickens deserves the same natural nutrition we provide for our families, and that's why I feed them Layena® Plus Omega-3," said Allen. "It has no added antibiotics, hormones or animal based proteins or fat, which gives me a piece of mind when feeding my flock. The chickens really eat this product well, too. What's great, is it's in a small pellet form so there is very little waste."
Allen loves to cook and has even published a cookbook, P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden, which was released in December 2010 and inspired by the abundance of food from his farm and a family of great cooks.
"The Layena® Plus Omega-3 doesn't just help feed healthy chickens it also means healthy eggs for myself. I get a lot of comments about the eggs we produce on the farm. People just love the quality, and they always comment on the color of the yolk," said Allen. "I love cooking for my family and friends and it's important for me to know where my food comes from and how it's grown."
To learn more about Allen, his chickens, Garden Home and to see some of his favorite recipes, visit his website, www.pallensmith.com.
*When fed a diet of Layena® Plus Omega exclusively for at least 3 weeks. Based on large egg (50g). Results may vary with factors such as total diet and hen health. A typical egg contains 65 mg Omega 3. Purina has entered into an endorsement partnership with P. Allen Smith.
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|| FLOCK TIPS | Hot Weather Tips for Raising Poultry
They say raising poultry is all about feed, water, heat and light. But in the summer, beating the heat is a top priority. Severe heat stress can affect egg quality, size and hatchability. It can also increase the rate of mortality. Here are some tips:
KEEP BIRDS COOL
WATER IS ESSENTIAL
- Even free-range birds need access to shade. If there is none, create some.
- Ventilation is critical. Make sure nothing obstructs the flow of fresh air, and don't allow ammonia to accumulate.
- Use a misting fan or fogging system in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid unnecessary activity. Don't disturb birds during the hottest time of day.
- Digestion generates body heat, so feed during the coolest hours.
- Avoid overcrowding. To instantly reduce the heat, reduce the number of birds in the house.
KEEP WATER CLEAN
- Provide unlimited access to fresh, clean water. It's essential.
- Position water containers in the shade. If water is too hot (or too cold) chickens won't drink enough and egg production will suffer.
- Adjust waterers to shoulder height to help keep litter dry.
- Baby turkeys sometimes need extra coaxing to drink water. One trick is to put a few bright-colored marbles in their water. As they peck at the marbles, their beaks will slip into the water. Eventually, they'll get the hang of it. (Remove marbles before birds get big enough to swallow them.)
- Grown ducks need access to water one or two inches deep in order to groom themselves. While swimming water is not a requirement, fresh drinking water is.
SIGNS OF TROUBLE
- If food, bedding or feces gets into drinking water, change the water.
- Ducklings and goslings love to play in water and will quickly soil it. Use a dispenser that allows only their bills to enter. Put distance between feed and water dispensers to prevent cross contamination.
- Germs multiply fast in summer heat. Disinfect incubators, feeders, water containers and other equipment regularly, particularly between broods.
If one of your chickens exhibits any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian.
- Heat-stressed birds consume less feed, so meat-type chickens (i.e., broilers) grow more slowly and hens produce fewer eggs.
- Birds don't have sweat glands so they cool themselves by panting, which can alter their electrolyte balance. If you suspect heat stress, ask your veterinarian about adding electrolytes to water.
- Telltale signs of an unhealthy chicken:
- less active than the rest of the flock
- comb is pale and limp (the comb is a good barometer of health)
- breast is concave and the keel bone becomes prominent
- liquid diarrhea (versus a semisolid green and white splotch, which is normal)
- unusual breathing or wheezing (some panting is normal in hot weather, but not to excess)
Keep in mind, birds experience a major moult (shedding feathers) in late summer, so don't be surprised if they temporarily devote most of their calories to replacing their feathers and maintaining body temperature instead of producing eggs. Be sure to provide a good quality feed during this time. Have a great summer!
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This just in...Win a free coop, flock and chicken feed for a year!
You can enter to win the Purina® Rule the Roost Sweepstakes for your chance at a grand prize of a Heritage Poultry Flock of 10 hens and two roosters from P. Allen Smith, a Horizon Structures Chicken Coop for 12 chickens and a free one year's supply of Purina® Layena Plus Omega-3 Chicken Feed. We'll also be giving away three first prizes of a signed copy of P. Allen Smith's book, "Seasonal Recipes from the Garden," and one free 40-lb. bag of Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 Chicken Feed.
To enter, visit facebook.com/purinapoultry or facebook.com/chickenchat, log into your Facebook account, "Like" the Purina Poultry and Chicken Chat pages, then click on the sweepstakes tab.
Just for entering, you'll receive a $3 off coupon for Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Promotion open to legal U.S. residents, 13 years of age and older as of 7/18/11. Sweepstakes starts 7/18/11 and ends 9/18/11. Internet access, valid email address and Facebook account required to enter. Visit facebook.com/purinapoultry and facebook.com/chickenchat for complete details and official rules. Void where prohibited.
|| GET TO KNOW | Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3
The chance to give your flock something they truly enjoy would be reason enough to try Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 pellets poultry feed made with whole grain, but it's what you can't see that makes Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 poultry feed truly unique.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid necessary for proper heart and brain function, growth and development. Because our body cannot manufacture Omega-3 on its own, Omega-3 has to come from our diet. What better way than through fresh eggs?
Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 significantly enhances the Omega-3 content of backyard eggs. It's formulated to produce at least 200mg Omega-3 per large egg*—300% more Omega-3 than a typical egg. Layena® Plus Omega-3 is specially formulated to produce exceptionally nutritious eggs, made with the same natural grains as the original Layena® feed, with added flaxseed.
Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 is a 16 percent-protein, high-calcium ration formulated for top-producing laying birds once they reach 18 weeks of age. To try this feed and others and See the Difference it makes with your animals, visit www.purinadifference.com to register for free coupons to take the 60-day feeding trial.
- 200 mg Omega per large egg*
- Vegetarian formula without added antibiotics or hormones
- Enhanced with Vitamin E for healthy birds and wholesome eggs
- Complete Feed – no oyster shell or grit required
*This is based on a diet of Layena® Plus Omega-3 exclusively for at least 3 weeks and a large egg (50g). Results may vary with factors such as total diet and hen health. A typical egg has up to 65 mg Omega 3.
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