When I started this blog two years ago I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to do. Of course I had a few goals: to educate myself, and other chicken keepers along the way; to offer a science-based site; and to bring together like-minded folks who wanted to learn more about chickens.
My paid gig is as a Health Promotion Educator (in the field of HIV, Hepatitis and Harm Reduction) so my teaching chops are well honed and I do have a particular point of view that I thought was different from most chicken blogs.
In the first year I had a decade of stories and photos to draw on so a lot of my posts reflected my personal experiences. After a few months I’d mined that vein so I turned my sights to posting about the vast array of chicken health issues. Months later I’m still just scratching the surface.
In 2019, I had the first evidence of Marek’s Disease in my flock. I know that it’s ubiquitous, but it was a bit of a gut-punch to deal with a pathogen that potentially could have wiped out my flock. Fortunately it hasn’t. After the initial losses my birds appear healthy, but that experience made me take stock of how I – and many chicken keepers – managed our flocks. I posted about ‘Keeping A Closed Flock’, ‘Understanding The Chain Of Infection’, ‘Stress & Its Impact On Chickens’, ‘The Fundamentals Of Flock Management’ and ‘Microbial Pathogens In Chickens’. I’ve been working hard at getting folks to consider the issues of biosecurity, quarantine and the ever insidious Chicken Math.
I’m a science and nature nerd and get a kick out of writing about chicken genetics, anatomy and physiology. I reached out to my followers and began curating a series of case studies. They supplied the raw material (i.e. necropsy reports and photos, videos, observations) and I crafted them into stories that, I hope, are interesting and informative. That endeavour killed two birds with one stone: it provided me with new material and satisfied my love of collaborating with other folks.
I try not to look at other chicken blogs or be influenced by what other people are doing. Every once in a while I scan what’s out there. A lot of it is good work, but where else can you find the solid science material mixed in with quirky stuff? I’ve written about ‘Sex, Gender & Chimerism’, ‘Hatching Egg Fails’ ‘Chickens In The Time of Covid 19’, ‘The Dark Side Of Keeping Chickens’, ‘Gender Bending Hens’, and ‘Hold Up, Did My Chicken Just Fart?’.
I’ve posted 36 profiles of local chicken keepers in a series called ‘Having Chickens Is A Great Way To Meet Your Neighbours’ and interviewed engineers, a retired professor, artists, nurses, farmers, computer geeks, a minister and two clowns in the process.
My first year was a sharp learning curve. I’m still learning and get frustrated when Facebook or WordPress updates their site. And I’m still paying for the privilege of blogging – no sponsors are knocking at my door. No book publishers have offered me a deal to write a kid’s book, or a how-to of keeping chickens or a best of Bitchin’ Chickens. I still read and write for many hours when I’m not working. Covid has been a blessing in that way. I still have a job and luckily my employer has continued to pay me even though my hours have been reduced.
And I’m still a cataloguer and list maker. Here’s a bit of a review of 2020 thus far:
- 152,995 views
- 89,906 visitors
- the vast majority of you are from Canada & the USA, while the rest are from 175 other countries around the world (I’m never quite sure how you all found me).
Curious about 2020’s top 10 stories? (and how they placed last year, if applicable)
- Weird Eggs 101: The Oddities Explained (Or What’s A Fart Egg?!) (1)
- Ivermectin For Parasite Control (5)
- Slipped Tendon (3)
- Vent Gleet
- Rooster Naughty Bits Explained
- Bumblefoot (6)
- Scaly Leg Mites (4)
- Arauacana, Ameraucana, Easter Egger … What’s The Difference?
- Chicken Reproduction
- Tips On Coop Design
So far I’ve posted 264 articles and a whopping 254,781 words. I’m a little less chatty than last year: I’ve managed to trim almost 200 words per post since then, getting them down to just under 1000 words.
Going into year number three I have a few asks – if you can do one or more, I would be most appreciative:
- Leave me some evidence you were here (like, comment and/or rate a post).
- Follow and share this blog.
- Follow my Facebook Bitchin’ Chickens Farm page.
- Check out my photos on Instagram @bitchinchickensfarm.
- Drop me a line, make a suggestion, and tell me what’s been useful or not.
- If you see something you don’t agree with, or feel is factually incorrect, please let me know – my aim is to put out information that you can trust.
- If you’ve got a well-documented health issue that I can turn in to a case study please contact me so we can figure out a way to work together.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me through this last year. I hope you’ll stick around, as we get bigger and better together.