Monday, August 22, 2011

Talking Backyard Chickens with P. Allen Smith

I recently attended the Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago, where I got to see oodles of wonderful new products that will be coming to an Independent Garden Center near you very soon (if they're not there already). One of the categories in which I saw several products was organic fertilizers. These include insect frass as well as that from birds, including chickens. Chickity Doo Doo, anyone?

Chickens doin' their thing at Allen's Moss Mountain Farm

This caught my eye, because as you know, we have eight chickens of our own and look forward to using their "doo-doo" in our compost for the garden. We're new to this chicken business and I've got P. Allen Smith to thank for some excellent advice he gave me right before we got our chicks this spring. When I visited his farm in Little Rock, Arkansas, in April, we talked chickens.

He was in Chicago for the IGC Show last week and gave the keynote address to attendees, which included independent garden center owners, operators, and media (that's me). He doesn't mince words and while much of what he said was challenging, he knocked it out of the ballpark and IGC owners would do well to pay attention.

Later, I tracked him down at the Laguna booth, where he was giving away and signing copies of the family of books he's authored, including the latest, Seasonal Recipes From the Garden, which I recently reviewed both here on this blog as well as on Horticulture magazine's website.

Laguna had put in a new pond on his property in Arkansas, which attendees of Garden2Blog got to see and it's beautiful. It's located directly across from the chicken temple, where Allen keeps bantams until they're old enough to stay out with the older chickens.

The new Laguna pond, with the gate to the chicken temple visible
in the middle of the photo.

Since Allen gave me some great advice when we talked back in April, I thought maybe he could share some wise words for those that are considering getting some chickens of their own. I spoke with him about this, in regard to having some layers in the backyard.

Listen to Allen tell about his history with chickens (and his pet pig, Sassafras Sally!) and his sage advice for prospective chicken owners:

Click here to start the interview (09:32 mins.)

Thanks to Christopher Tidrick for this photo.

As you heard in the interview, through Chicken Chat, in conjunction with Purina, Allen is sponsoring a contest to win some great prizes, including a chicken coop, a year's supply of feed, and chicks from his own brood! For more information on entering the contest, visit Chicken Chat on Facebook. The contest ends on September 18, 2011.

*Yes, I know...I sound nervous in the interview. In spite of Allen being one of the easiest people in the world to talk to, I was very nervous. But how cool to have P. Allen Smith as my very first interviewee!


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