Chicken Keeping Podcast

This past August I was invited to visit the Ban Righ Center at Queen’s College in Kingston, Ontario. This was a chance to talk with college women about the history of women on farms and chicken keeping. Kingston is very far from home, but the drive included a ferry crossing on a small boat across dramatic Lake Ontario. I love ferries;  I said yes to the trip.



It was a long drive, well north of Toronto, where I learned that that city has the worst traffic in North America (and very dramatic lightening storms!) But, the women of the Ban Righ Center were worth the miles. We had an extended conversation about matters of life and death in the chicken yard, and how a backyard chicken keeper deals with decisions about illness and euthanasia.

After the talk I was interviewed by Catherine Isaacs for her local radio show. We talked for a half-hour all about chicken keeping. You can listen to the podcast here.

*Just a reminder about upcoming events – I’ll be on a writers’ panel in Concord, MA on October 19, and there’s still room in the PIe Baking Class here in my home kitchen on October 26. More information is on my events page. Also, if you would like me to come and speak to your group, please email me.


  1. That was a great interview. I learn something here everyday I come. I did go into chicken keeping starry eyed. I’m hoping we can handle the stages of their lives. Ours really are pets. They’ve given me nothing but pleasure. The reason it’s been a success is because of all the information that was obtained on this site. Back to the interview, I especially liked the advice on what to feed and what not to leave in run. Makes me feel good to watch them enjoy their veggies. You did that, Terry. Thanks. Hope all have a good day on LP.

      • Not likely! :-) Toronto traffic is hellish no matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving. You would have had a better vantage point, though – to see the traffic ahead bunched up beyond the horizon. :-/
        Really enjoyed listening to your Podcast. Lots of very useful and important information for new and seasoned chicken keepers alike. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from you. So thank you, again.
        I hope you enjoyed your time in Kingston. I went to school there many moons ago, and your post brought back fond memories of many a ferry ride across to Wolfe Island back in the day.

  2. Worst traffic in all North America! That is the stuff of nightmares!

  3. I love ferries too, but the cold deep water scares me a bit.
    Good interview, thanks for the link. Your voice sounds like you’re 25 years old!

  4. I saw this post on the blog while at work, and saw that you did a podcast. So I down loaded it, and listened to it.on the way home, it was fantastic. Perhaps you should do a weekly 30 minute podcast, I think it would be wildly successful, and a half hour would be perfect, that way I could listen from.toll.Booth to my.driveway :-)

  5. What a wonderful interview! Very well balanced between the joys and responsibilities of animal keeping. I think the interviewer must have some experience of people running head (or heart?) first into chicken keeping before they’ve learned enough to realize there will be trials and tribulations. She definitely wanted her audience to think the endeavor through before tossing a chicken in their backyard and calling it chicken keeping. If you’re inexperienced with true farm life, as so many of us are any more, the fun aspects can overwhelm any impressions you might have of the realities of mini-farm life. I went to a chicken-keeping lecture a couple years ago and it was all about pretty hens and egg colors. She never even mentioned molting, illnesses, or life span–ever mind euthanasia or predators! I’m so grateful to you, Terry, for giving us and sharing your experience and knowledge. If only there was such a thing as “TouchVision” and I could reach through my computer screen and touch Peobe’s luscious looking winter coat–what a treat that would be!

  6. We so much enjoyed being in that group at Ban Righ in Kingston. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the ferry. Many moons ago, when I was a student at Queens and the climate was colder, we would drive across the ice to Wolf Island to go to the pub there. The ‘road’ was over thick ice and marked with evergreen trees all the way across. Those were different times!!! As for Toronto and its traffic, we live up in the bush not far from Algonquin Provincial Park and are very strategic about timing our rare trips down to visit there! This is our Thanksgiving weekend – family are coming up, leaves are falling off the trees and feathers are falling off the hens !

  7. That was an excellent pod-cast. So much thoughtful information delivered delightfully. I am amongst your fan-club Terry…… so grateful to have stumbled onto your blog last October as a brand new Chicken keeper, full of questions and eager to learn. I appreciate your straight forward approach without any glossing over, and yet you are not judgemental. Oh, and if you want to experience some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable while cruising on a ferry…you should check out the Gulf Islands in B.C., Canada. :)

  8. I really enjoyed listening to that interview, hardly realised I was doing the ironing at the same time ! Thankyou Terry, really good info, as usual x

  9. I have a good size coop but the gals only go into sleep and lay. i stopped keeping feed in there last year as they never ate it. I have 2feeders as I have the 2 little girls. So I keep both feeders in an outdoor lean to that we built for coverage from weather since they dont use the coop. my question is I have a few girls that just get Soaked. should i worry about this and them getting sick. They will stand out in the rain. And I mean pouring rain! Then I have a few that wont dare get wet. My molting maran looked so thin yesterday she still has some feathers but I was worried. She doesnt seem to mind the rain. I brought her in and made her comfy in the “sick” crate.

    • Your hens should be coming in from the rain, and yes, they can get sick when drenched. There might be something about the coop that they don’t like. Email me and we can email back and forth to figure it out.

      • What’s your email? I do have a lean to and they do go underneath the coop. But the girl just loves to stand out in the rain. They just never use the coop. The lean to has a roost

        • At the bottom of every HenCam web page there is a rectangle with “contact Terry.” Click on that and it will send you right to email.