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THIS, is the video I wish I had years ago, when I first started incubating and rearing my own chickens and other poultry. Today, I am a Poultry Technician, licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Though it is available in our library system, there is just too much information in it, to have to return it, so ownership is the only solution! This video serves as much as an ongoing reference, as it is an initial guide. Some things are more easily shown than explained.
For the first timer as well as the long time poultry owner and enthusiast, I love the fact that this well orchestrated video includes something for every skill level. Children love it for the beautiful birds and specifically the hatching and chick sequences. Something about baby chicks just hypnotizes the little ones.
No stone is left unturned, as the chapters lead the viewer through every imaginable aspect of starting and rearing chickens, following through to adult birds and how to house and feed them.
The emphasis is obviously on free ranging birds and dodging the use of chemicals to terminate insect or plant pests. BUT, there is a segment titled "Interviews with the Experts" where we see the farm of an American Poultry Association Hall of Fame, Master Breeder, Master Exhibitor... there the host shows the viewer the other side of rearing chickens as the viewer sees cage after cage, filled with pure bred birds for the "Fancy" or poultry shows. It's evident that the Author of Regarding Chickens, prefers to see birds in greener pastures and free to roam and demonstrate natural social behaviors. Yet it is amazing to see champion birds.
Dr. Dunn of Penn State, reviews poultry health issues, thoroughly and even discusses which farm animals should and should not, be housed together... something few backyard micro-farm folks think about, yet definitely should know.
I learned that all this time, I had not been cooking my hard boiled eggs correctly! Who knew? Also in the segment titled "Interviews with the Experts" there is a long time Dept. of Agriculture egg inspector named Nadia. She and the author discuss what you're really buying at the grocery store and how free range eggs compare. Then she takes the viewer into her kitchen to demonstrate to many surprised viewers, the "correct way to hard-cook, not hard boil, the egg". All this time, I had been over cooking my eggs and destroying much of the nutritional value!
The video is filled with tranquil scenes and sounds of birds roaming, mating, rearing chicks and just plain doing what chickens do. There is an extended segment dedicated to chicken feed types and supplements that are important.
A segment on gardening, demonstrates the powerful effect that chicken manure can have on soil improvement. The author shows his own organic vegetable garden and it's impressive!
Housing is covered... the author presents everything from a portable chicken tractor, of his own design, to semi-permanent housing and discusses square footage required to house your flock, as well as which equipment is necessary to maintain chicken good health and comfort.
Chickens are started as eggs in the incubator in one section, while in another, the day old peeps are purchased through Murray McMurray, with a step by step guide on how to select, order and what to expect when the peeps are picked up from your Post Office. The incubation segment is extremely valuable, as this is where so many hobbyists seem to fail or have complications... from proper egg selection, to candling (looking into the developing egg) for embryo viability, seeing actual embryos moving inside the shell! Hobby level incubators, and their operation, are demonstrated and compared in detail. Yet another segment, covers hatching chicks naturally, including selecting the proper broody hen. The author stresses selecting a hen of "good flock standing, so she can defend her chicks", something many never think of.
This entire video is well presented and the information thoroughly researched, I really can't compare this video to any others, as it's truly a stand alone guide to raising chickens.
The chickens filmed are absolutely beautiful! The more one knows about poultry, the more appreciated these birds will be.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12