Understanding the Veterinary Feed Directive

January’s a time for New Year’s Resolutions and new starts. For backyard poultry owners in the United States, January 2017 was a new start in the way we medicate and treat our flocks as the Veterinary Feed Directive from the Food and Drug Administration took effect.

In a nutshell, the Veterinary Feed Directive ended over-the-counter sales of medically important antimicrobial drugs that are to be used for livestock in feed or water. Water-soluble antibiotics now require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian that has an established veterinary-client-patient-relationship with the poultry owner. Antimicrobials that are added to feed now require a Veterinary Feed Directive which is a written document that allows for the purchase of the antimicrobial and directs the use of it.

That’s a lot to take in at once and it can seem confusing, so let’s break it down.

How to Make Herb Butter

Herb butters seem so fancy when you go to a restaurant. They add a unique flavor to whatever they touch. Did you know they're actually easy to make at home? They're a great way to use your herbs through the growing season and preserve them for beyond.

Chives and dill have been chopped and butter is waiting to soften. A hint of lemon juice makes this extra tasty.

Pollinators 101 - Fascinating Facts About Butterflies, Moths & Bees

You’ve planted the plants that attract and feed pollinators. Your garden is full of plants like butterfly bushes, Echinacea, parsley, and fennel. You’re sure the pollinators love your gardens. You’ve seen them hanging around. But what do you know about them? Who’s really visiting your gardens?

Pollinators are important and their populations are declining across our country. Without pollinators, we don’t eat. It’s estimated that one in three bites of our food is linked to the work of animal pollinators. It’s also estimated that 75% of all plant species depend on animal pollinators to move pollen from plant to plant.

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Oops! Black Australorp on Wrong Perch

Hen Missing from the Chicken Coop is Found in Nearby Tree

Somehow during her nightly trip to the chicken coop, Rowena our Black Australorp, got waylaid. (Our chickens roam throughout the day, and put themselves into their coop at night.) When my husband went to shut the chickens in for the night, he only counted 14; we were missing one! He quickly called me for reinforcements in the form of flashlights. We determined it was Rowena missing; darn our luck, she's black and it was dark outside. Luckily though, a scan of the trees in our backyard found her happily perched in the Redbud tree next to our deck. Even luckier, she wasn't perched that high, After some creative maneuvering, my husband was able to reach up and get her. We gently returned her to the coop and she settled onto the roost for the night, no worse for the wear.

You may have guessed, my kids had inspiration in naming Rowena from the Harry Potter movies. And I would be remiss to say that just like the members of Ravenclaw House are known for their wit and intelligence, our Rowena Ravenclaw definitely has those qualities. When she got out of her routine and found herself in the dark and without a coop, she had enough wit to find a safe perch and she was prepared to hang in until morning! (Luckily it didn't come to that.)

Rowena, the Black Australorp, perched in the Redbud tree by our deck.

Black Australorp Breed Qualities

Black Australorps are beautiful, docile chickens that make a great addition to any flock. They have all black glossy feathers that are especially pretty when the sun hits them just right and the feathers take on a green sheen. Black Australorps are great producers of brown eggs. In fact, a Black Australorp holds the egg laying record for laying 364 eggs in 365 days. Black Australorps endure heat and cold well and continue laying through the seasons. This is considered a dual-purpose bird that matures quickly and can be kept for both eggs and meat. Males weigh 8.5 lbs. and females weigh 6.5 lbs.

Class: English
Origin: Australia
Comb Type: Single
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Egg Production: Excellent
Broody: Yes
Hardiness: Heat and Cold Hardy
Temperament: Active yet Gentle
Environment: Confinement or Free Range
Characteristics: Productive and Fast Growing
Breed Status: Recovering
(Sources: Meyer Hatchery & The Livestock Conservancy)

Originally published July 2011.
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