Christine Heinrichs, Professional Poultry Journalist

Hello! My name is Christine Heinrichs and I’ll be blogging for Purely Poultry on Thursdays. I’m a city girl but once I got some chickens, there was no going back. I’ve been raising and writing about chickens for more than 25 years.

Growing up in New York’s suburbs, I didn’t know any chickens. After I was settled on the West Coast, in San Jose, California, chickens pecked into my life.

I was the kind of mother who always said Yes, unless I had a good reason to say No. So back in the 1980s when my daughter asked for baby chicks, I gave it a moment’s thought, couldn’t see why not, and agreed. Off we went to a feed store, returning home with half a dozen chicks and a paper bag of chick starter.

That moment’s thought hadn’t been quite enough. The chicks were happy in the plastic laundry basket I found for them. We were delighted and charmed. We cooed over them and cuddled them. What was I thinking?

I don’t recommend this. Now, I advise people to think it through: where are the chickens going to live, what are they going to eat, all the issues. Ultimately, it worked out for me. Maybe that’s why I got involved in writing about chickens. I learned by doing.

Those chicks were my teachers. They grew – fast — and I found someone to build us a coop. We had a large yard, so they spent their days pecking around. One grew so much larger than the others – it didn’t dawn on me until the afternoon I heard him crow that he might not be a hen.

He introduced me to Buff Orpingtons. Another grew up to be a White Cochin. Different breeds were new to me, but I was fascinated. I joined the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities. By the 1990s, traditional breed chickens were losing ground. Because I was already a writer, that was where I directed my efforts. I began writing about chickens.

Over the years, I noticed that chickens needed a good book. I shopped the idea around to publishers, and Voyageur Press stepped up. In 2007, How to Raise Chickens was published. How to Raise Poultry followed in 2009. Both have a wider view than the traditional breeds descriptions I originally envisioned, including information about general poultry husbandry as well as historic and literary background. I like understanding how poultry fit into the Big Picture of human history.

I’m a regular contributor to Backyard Poultry Magazine, Exhibition Poultry Magazine and other publications. I talk with Andy Schneider, The Chicken Whisperer, on his blogtalkradio program on the fourth Tuesday of the month. I look forward to these Thursdays with Purely Poultry.

I plan to focus on traditional breeds and current poultry issues. Please suggest subjects you’d like to read about. I can’t answer individual questions, but will use readers’ interests as a guide. Here’s to a great future with poultry!

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