319: Melissa Caughey on How to Speak Chicken.

Translating fowl language for urban farmers.


Melissa is the author of How to Speak Chicken and A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens published by our friends at Storey Publishing. She is a backyard chicken keeper, beekeeper, and gardener who writes the award-winning blog Tilly’s Nest. She writes for HGTV, DIY Network, and the magazines Grit, Chickens, Community Chickens, and Country Living. She also gives presentations on chicken keeping at events across the country. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

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In This Podcast:

After moving all the way across the country, Melissa Caughey shares why she added chickens to her family.  She tells about how, with her science and teaching background, she eventually started teaching people about chickens. Always learning, she discovered there is a fowl language that could be understood and started teaching others how to Speak Chicken. She coaches Greg through a few key calls that, once translated, will be obvious to anyone who keeps chickens.

Listen in and learn about:

  • Growing up in Los Angeles and becoming a nurse practioner and working with elderly people
  • Moving to Massachusetts and learning about gardening in a brand-new zone
  • Noticing chickens showing up in yards all over
  • Starting off with 6 chicks and recognizing the benefits beyond just eggs
  • Wanting to journal for her children and writing everything down
  • Realizing that people want to understand what the chickens are communicating
  • Listening and hearing 12 different calls, including the before and after Egg Songs
  • Why hens choose one nesting box over others
  • Greeting chickens with a hello
  • The nighttime roll call or good night
  • Becoming an author about chickens
  • Getting her name Tilly after one hens
  • The Omlet chicken tractor she uses

(Producer’s Note: Check out our 246th podcast HERE featuring Johannes Paul, co-creator of the company Omlet

As well as:

  • Her failure – The time she became a beekeeper and tried to make things from beeswax the first time
  • Her success – Her children: they are going to be her legacy
  • Her drive – Life in general, and trying to make the world a better place
  • Her advice – Try and learn something new everyday

Books written by Melissa:

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens: Best Breeds, Creating a Home, Care and Handling, Outdoor Fun, Crafts and Treats

Melissa’s Book recommendations:          

The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias by W. Bruce Lincoln

How to reach Melissa:       

Website: TillysNest.com

Facebook: Tilly’s Nest

 UrbanFarm.org/SpeakChicken


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