Happy 4th Birthday Bitchin’ Chickens

Four years = 48 months, 488 posts, almost 740,000 views and an amazing 506,260 words. Who’d have thought I could come up with so much to say about chickens? I seemed to have mined a rich vein and not yet reached the bottom – although I do sometimes worry that I might just hit the wall with writer’s block.

My first year was filled with stories about my birds, typical health issues and tips on flock management. I started the series ‘Having Chickens Is A Great Way To Meet Your Neighbours’ and did 33 profiles on local chicken keepers over the next 14 months.

Covid hit early in 2020 and face-to-face interviews came to a halt but I did see an uptake in folks checking out both this blog and my Facebook page. That gave me the opportunity to meet up with other chicken keepers and work collaboratively on 15 case studies, and another 29 over the next eighteen months. There’s only so much that can/has happened with my flock so being able to explore a variety of health issues, often complete with vet notes, necropsy reports, photos and x-rays, gave me more avenues to explore.

I investigated chicken nutrition, superfoods and natural remedies as a means of offering small flock owners a way of improving the overall health of their birds and how to treat straightforward issues in the absence of professional care.

I tapped into the emotional connection folks have with their chickens in obituaries and eulogies, chicken therapy and grief and loss.

The memes came about as a fun diversion over the Christmas 2020 holidays and I’ve now created more than 1000. I post one daily on my Facebook page and once a month I post a compilation of selected memes here to provide some levity for the heavier side of keeping chickens.

The highlight of my work has been my collaboration with Dr Vicki Bowes, avian vet/pathologist. What started with her generous offer to look at some necropsy photos to help me determine cause of death has turned into our regular get togethers which she terms ‘best guess’ and ‘show and tell’. It’s been a great learning opportunity for me and I’ve been pleased to present some cases that are new to her. Nothing like stumping the teacher to make me feel like I’ve challenged my mentor to keep our partnership interesting. We’ve met up throughout the last 16 months and we’ve just surpassed 125 avian case studies (presented in separate 22 posts).

Looking for another challenge and to broaden my horizons I launched a new series ‘When Art Meets Chickens’ presenting the work of artists, writers and crafters who depict chickens in their work. So far I’ve posted 10 articles which include folks from across the USA, Canada, and in The Netherlands and Vietnam and am happy to have been able to shine a light on their work.

I’ve also given over the spotlight to a number of guest contributors: Sara Franklin (Roovolution and Rooster Allies) has advocated for greater understanding and better treatment of roosters, raising chick safe kids and a critique of PETA. Seleta Nothnagel has written about her hen Blue, the first chicken in the world to undergo heart surgery for Patent Ductus Arteriosus, her house chickens, and Honey, a hen who succumbed to Infectious Laryngotracheitis.

In the last few months I’ve increased the number of regular posts from every Monday and Thursday to adding Saturdays for guests writing about the lighter side of keeping chickens: Heide Royer, AKA The Poultry Princess; and a number of folks who have contributed their stories in ‘The Funny Farm’ series. It means more for you to read, but hopefully it’s brought some diversity to the topics and voices expressed by Bitchinistas.

If you’re familiar with some of my work, including previous birthday posts you’ll know I’m an inveterate list maker and like to post my Top 10 viewed articles (& how they ranked in previous years, if applicable):

  1. Rooster Naughty Bits Explained (1, 5)
  2. Ivermectin For Parasite Control (2, 2, 5)
  3. Myth Buster: Are Cedar Shavings Toxic To Chickens? (3)
  4. Slipped Tendon (5, 3, 3)
  5. Vent Gleet (4, 4)
  6. Dealing With Pain In Chickens
  7. Myth Buster: Is Oatmeal Harmful To Chickens?
  8. Ear Infections In Chickens (7)
  9. Avian Trichomonosis (Canker) (10)
  10. Weird Eggs 101: The Oddities Explained (Or What’s A Fart Egg?!) (6, 1, 1)

There are several ways to find all 488 of my posts: 40 are visible on the home page; the others are accessible from my home page by clicking on ‘older posts’ or ‘see all posts’ or by you typing key words into the search box (try to keep it simple and make sure the spelling is correct).

I’ve been happy to see some folks who work in the field with science-based backgrounds check out my blog and give me some feedback. Honest, I didn’t solicit it and I have to admit I feel validated for attempting to present an eclectic mix of science, human interest, humour and popular culture in the format of a chicken blog.

“I’m so impressed with your blog, it really rises above most others in the chicken world. You are always an inspiration for me.” – Dr Vicki Bowes, DVM/Avian Pathologist

“This is by far the coolest website I’ve ever come across regarding the health conditions of chickens.” – Seleta Nothnagel, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Pathology Department at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

“I just ran across your blog this afternoon and an hour later, I’m still here! I’m amazed at your prodigious output of high quality content. I am in awe of the breadth of the chicken-related stuff you cover and appreciate your dedication to researching the real scoop on a particular subject rather than trotting out the same old misinformation that is so prevalent on the internet.” Randy Graham, Retired Microbiologist

Your post was “well said and well researched. There is not much (accurate) information out there on treating chicken pain and the need for anesthesia for painful procedures. Thank you for that. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog!”  – Keri Jones, DVM, CVPP (Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner)

Although I’m happy to receive approval from professionals in the field, my aim with this blog is to reach small flock keepers. I dislike scrolling though websites and contending with advertising. You may have noticed that I have no sponsors, pop-up ads or affiliates. I love the uncluttered look of my posts although the downside is I actually pay for this platform with no funds to offset it. I’m not asking for your financial support but would love to hear what you’ve found useful or not and what you’d like to see in the future.

Leave me some evidence you were here by liking, commenting and/or rating a post. Please follow this blog and my Facebook page and share my articles as widely as possible. Knowing that folks out there are benefitting from my work is actually more rewarding than monetary gain. I promise, your compliments won’t go to my head if you choose to offer me feedback and I won’t be crushed if you have some constructive criticism.

I still have a list of things I want to write about so I imagine I’ll be able to keep up my weekly quota of two new articles.

I’m always open to working collaboratively with folks: Do you have a story you’d like to share? Be part of the ‘When Art Meets Chicken’ series? Have a well-documented health issue that I can turn in to a case study or a question for Dr Bowes? Feel free to drop me a line using the ‘contact’ button on my homepage.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this blog what it is, I couldn’t have done it without you: all the folks who’ve sent me questions, suggestions or material to write about; guest contributors who’ve provided their own expertise and perspectives; and those who’ve offered support and encouragement along the way. Writing is a solitary endeavor so I appreciate the human connection and sharing stories about our birds.

Credit for featured image: iStock

2 comments on “Happy 4th Birthday Bitchin’ Chickens

  1. Happy happy birthday BC !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marjorie Little

    I am here. Enjoying every post even though I have never had a chicken of my own. Keep going. It is terrific. ml

    Liked by 1 person

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Bitchin' Chickens

Everything You Need To Know About Small Flock Chickens & More

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