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• living a simple life ... (to) get up with the sun. Go to sleep with the moon. Enjoy life’s little treats, get sunshine and fresh air, play, and always be aware of your surroundings.” Sagrero’s grandmother gave him a hen when he was four years old and he has raised chickens ever since. P.A. Moore, a retiree living in Redwood City’s Central neighborhood, has been teaching classes on backyard chicken farming for 10 years through the city’s parks and recreation department. The most common question she hears is, “How much work is it to have chickens?" Chickens and Eggs In fact, Moore says, owning chickens is “easier than having a dog or cat and takes only about five minutes a day. It’s the prep work before one acquires their hens that takes the time and money,” she explains. Moore considers chickens “perfect creatures.” That’s because “they produce eggs that would otherwise go to waste, we eat them, the shells go back into the garden as compost, the garden produces greens and food for both us and the chickens. It’s the perfect cycle.” Moore shared ownership of her chickens with the couple next door until they moved. The coop was in Moore’s yard and the chickens would have “free range” time in her neighbor’s yard during the day, slipping through a small opening cut in the fence for the hens to access the yard and large lawn. The neighbors split the costs, henhouse cleaning, and the eggs. Raising chickens offers tangible health benefits. San Carlos resident Victoria Kaempf, an attorney, finds that spending time with her chickens lowers her blood pressure: “I feel peaceful when I am near them. Caring for them is rewarding and fulfilling.” According to the Feed Store’s Sagrero, one of the most popular breeds for

18 · CLIMATE · April 2020

PROFILE •

Backyard chicken instructor P.A. Moore

“They produce eggs that would otherwise go to waste, we eat them, the shells go back into the garden as compost, the garden produces greens and food for both us and the chickens. It’s the perfect cycle.” local backyard farmers is the French Black Copper Maran. These docile birds have beautiful black, dark green, brown and copper-colored feathers. Their largeto extra-large eggs are a rich chocolate brown color. The Marans look just like the chickens on popular French dinnerware and serving dishes. Other popular breeds include Rhode Island Reds, Orpingtons, Silkies, and Americaunas. Certain breeds are referred to as “Easter Eggers.” They have recessive genes which result in beautifully colored eggs in different shades between green and blue from the same bird. These breeds are prevalent for backyard chicken farming. Also popular, bantams are smaller, talkative birds which lay relatively small eggs. For some backyard chicken farmers, hens are pets and are treated to table scraps, cuddles and baby talk. Moore’s

hens, on the other hand, “have to earn their keep.” She raises chickens for their eggs, sharing surplus eggs with neighbors and friends, and she likes knowing exactly where her food comes from. Sagrero believes it is fine to spoil chickens with love and affection, but “giving them too much people-food results in birds that become picky and won’t eat their feed. Occasional treats, like yogurt, greens, raisins, and worms are fine as long as they don’t replace their feed.” Homeschooled Chicks Redwood City resident Carol Cross considers her chickens part of her family. Peaches, her all-white Easter Egger, has been with her for nine years and still lays beautiful blue-green eggs. “Chickens are delightful, curious, busy, and industrious creatures that set a good example for humans.” Cross says. The retired elementary school teacher became a backyard chicken farmer after bringing home baby chicks from her classroom. A chicken named “Nervous” was with the family until her son was in high school. “He was very attached to her,” Cross recalls. Beloved as chickens may be, letting them in the house is a bad idea because of the risk of spreading salmonella and mites to humans. The Brocks remind people who come to the store to see baby chicks that raising chickens is a multi-year commitment; the birds can live nine to 12 years if well cared for. It’s also important to know how to manage sick or injured birds and to find a local veterinarian who will see chickens. Redwood City residents, Jeff Pathman who works in the tech industry; and his wife Yuning Pathman, who is in commercial real estate; know this all too well. Their seven-week-old Brown Leghorn, named John Ellenbogen, broke her leg in an unfortunate accident. Luckily, the Pathmans

Profile for info-climaterwc

Climate Magazine – April 2020 Edition  

Climate Magazine is a monthly publication that covers local news, community events and stories across San Mateo County. Climate Magazine wil...

Climate Magazine – April 2020 Edition  

Climate Magazine is a monthly publication that covers local news, community events and stories across San Mateo County. Climate Magazine wil...

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