Adopt a Heritage Chicken!

A Plymouth Rock Hen. Photo credit: Janeschooks.com

I’ve been in a funk about blogging lately.. It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post and it seems like the more time passes the harder it is to get back on track. Sometimes I’ll start posts but then not finish them and a week later they no longer feel relevant enough to post. More often this happens when I’m writing an about me or life in general post, times when I don’t have a concrete topic to blog about. I start feeling like anything I write about is silly or not good enough to share. Does this happen to anyone else? To break this funk I had to remind myself that this is my blog. I should post whatever I want and not be so critical. So what’s been going on with me lately? How nice of you to ask! Well, work has been cool lately. I got to work with Research and Development on a new study, which meant I got to hang out at our lab on campus at my Alma Mater University.

While there I also found out about the University’s “Adopt a Heritage Chicken” program put on by the Poultry Research Center. The program was started this year in order to maintain the genetic diversity of chickens. Lots of funding goes into agriculture research for improving meat & egg quality and quantity but not so much into maintaining rare breeding lines.  In fact the researcher who started the adoption program informed me that if it weren’t for the introduction of the Adopt a Chicken program they were going to have to get rid of all their heritage lines. This issue of maintaining genetic diversity is very important to me. Much like in all sectors of modern agriculture animal diversity is rapidly being replaced by a new mono-crop culture where animals are bred for specific uses. Chickens in agriculture today have been bred to be either layers (producing eggs) or broilers (producing meat). They don’t really even exist in the same way as they did 50-100 years ago and many lines will soon disappear if nothing is done to maintain them.

Chicken

“Hey Buddy, what are you looking at?” My chickens always make me smile.

I have a soft spot for chickens. I love the way they walk. I love they way they talk. They really communicate a lot to each other with a wide range of clucking sounds. I love the way they remind me of Velociraptors running around and  I love how they really are modern day dinosaurs. So, naturally, ensuring that we don’t lose certain genetic lines (the ancestors of commercial chickens) is very important to me! The program is great, for $75 you can select one of 6 breeds to adopt. They have Plymouth Rock, Light Sussex, New Hampshire, White Leghorns, and Brown Leghorns to choose from and the best part you get a dozen eggs every 2 weeks! Hearing about this program and after losing two hens over the winter I’ve been strongly considering getting some heritage chickens of my own! I can’t wait until we have our own place and I can get a rooster as well but for now I could at least get a couple hens that would be more suited to winter in our climate. I’ve heard that some hens will even walk around when there is snow on the ground and dig in the snow!

Anyways awesome awesome program! I’ve been telling everyone I see about it. They’ve already had so much success with adoptions that there is a waiting list for October!

Another cool thing from work lately is that they allowed me to implement a “green up our lab” program. I got the okay to make our lab almost completely paperless and started a recycling program for all the lab materials that can be recycled. Yay! It’s still a work in progress and will take a lot of effort to get everything completely set up but the fact that everyone has been on board and very helpful so far has been great!

On the home front I’ve been patiently awaiting May long weekend in order to plant my garden and get outdoors and plant some flowers around the house! Bring on summer!

Do you have any cool animal adoption programs in your area? Have any of you had success with greening up your workplace?

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3 responses to “Adopt a Heritage Chicken!

  1. That’s great! I have a soft spot for chickens too, and I kid you not when I say I say that I’ve always thought of them like velociraptors. That’s such a cool program.

  2. Sounds like you are going to have some great eggs from them and not so many worries about the weather. It’s nice to see heritage items being preserved. Have you looked into heritage plants?

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