Education

Home With Chickens: Enhance Your Poultry Skills With Us

rooster at UConn facility
White leghorn roosters with chickens at the Poultry Uniton Jan. 27, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Chickens are increasing in popularity with many residents, and for good reason. Owning poultry provides a source of fresh eggs, and is fun. At some point, you may have questions while you are home with chickens

UConn Extension, part of the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources has a suite of resources for poultry owners. Videos, fact sheets and advice from our educators can help new chicken owners or seasoned poultry professionals enhance your skills and improve the health and wellbeing of your chickens.

Our poultry care video series with retired Extension Educator Dr. Mike Darre from the UConn Department of Animal Science can answer many of your questions. There are 10 videos:

  • How to hold your birds,
  • How to inspect your birds,
    Determining if your chicken is a good layer,
  • Watering systems,
  • Nest boxes,
  • Feeding,
  • Housing and heating,
  • Bird litter, housing, and
  • Egg cleaning and quality check.

Watch the entire series on our YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/HomeWithChickens.

Fact sheets on small flock management and poultry health issues are available at http://bit.ly/UConnPoultry. Links to other poultry resources are available on this site as well. Information covered includes breeds of chickens, coop designs, scaling up egg production, managing guinea fowl, and cleaning and disinfecting your poultry house, among others.

If you still have question, you can submit them online and one of our Extension Specialists will provide you with answers and additional resources. Submit your question at: https://bit.ly/AskUConnYourQuestions. You can also share your experiences and photos of your flock on social media with our hashtag, #HomeWithChickens.

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

Clean Your Kitchen, Fruits and Vegetables

Heather Peracchio, one of our Extension educators with the UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, shares tips on how to clean your kitchen, fruits and vegetables.

Recommended Cleaning Agents to Kill Coronavirus in your Home

hand spraying a bottle of a cleaning/disinfectant solution in a home

Your kitchen cabinet may be stocked with adequate cleaning supplies to kill Coronaviruses, but you need to be careful as not all chemicals will work.

Each disinfecting chemical product has its own specific instructions. An important rule is that you should not immediately wipe a cleaning solution off as soon as you have sprayed it on a surface. It needs to sit for a specified period of time to kill viruses first. You do not need to spend a lot of money on supplies – you can buy bleach and make a simple bleach solution at home.

GENERAL DISINFECTING GUIDELINES

  • It is important to use detergent or soap and water on unclean surfaces before you disinfect them. There is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Disinfecting is what kills the viruses.
  • The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you do daily disinfecting for frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, phones, toilets, sinks etc. Coronavirus can last up to 16 hours on surfaces so daily disinfecting is important
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of household disinfectants that should be effective against Coronaviruses. A full list is at epa.gov.
  • These products will be labeled that they kill bacteria and viruses (for example Lysol and Clorox products).

BLEACH

  • The ONLY household product capable of killing Coronavirus is a diluted household bleach solution.
  • Check to be sure the Bleach is not past its expiration date.
  • NEVER mix bleach with ammonia or any other household cleaner. This can release dangerous fumes.
  • To prepare a bleach solution: Add 4 teaspoons Bleach per Quart of water. Let the solution sit on surfaces at least 1 minute and then give the surface a wipe. Use the solution within 24 hours (after that it loses its disinfecting effectiveness).
  • If you have Asthma or other breathing problems- be careful not breathing in this solution as it can give off fumes.

ALCOHOL

  • Alcohol in any form, including rubbing alcohol, can be used to kill Coronavirus. You should dilute alcohol with water, but you need to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% alcohol to kill coronavirus. 100 % alcohol is actually less effective and it dries off from surfaces too fast.
  • Hard liquor, like Vodka is NOT effective. Vodka is 80 proof which means it is only 40% alcohol, that is not high enough to effectively kill Coronaviruses
  • Hand sanitizers (check the label) should have an alcohol concentration of at least 60% alcohol to kill Coronaviruses. Not all hand sanitizers will kill viruses.

NATURAL HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS

  • Vinegar (any kind), Baking Soda, Tea Tree Oil or any other Oils are NOT effective in killing Coronaviruses. Do NOT use these to disinfect your home

These tips can help you clean and disinfect your home to protect yourself and your loved ones. Paying attention to those products that are effective in killing Coronaviruses will protect your home. Cleaning and disinfecting every day on surfaces at home will kill these viruses.

 

Article by Sharon Gray

Updated May 1, 2020

 

References:

www.cdc.gov

www.epa.gov

www.rutgers.edu/news/dangers-homemade-cleaning

Updates from the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources

cover of CT IWR spring newsletter

In a state like Connecticut where water seems plentiful, it is easy to take water for granted. As long as clean water comes out of the tap, water issues may not rise to the top of our list of concerns. Although we do have plentiful water for the most part, there are still many reasons to keep water in mind. Who wants to take their kids to the beach in the summer and find that the beach was closed due to high bacteria levels in the water? Or who wants to have their water heater fail due to high salt in their well? And how do we know that we will have enough water to supply the state if we have another severe drought, like we did just three years ago?

The Connecticut Institute of Water Resources (CT IWR) is part of a national network of 54 state and territory water institutes created by the Federal Water Resources Research Act of 1964. Our mission is focused on all aspects of Connecticut’s water resources, which includes use, preservation, and proper management. Why is this important? It means that CT IWR is addressing the most pressing water issues in our state. Every institute receives funds annually from the United States Geological Survey (around $120,000). A small amount is used for staff support, but the majority of funds are given out to support research on critical water issues every year through a competitive process. In addition to helping address these critical water issues, the grants help support training of undergraduate and graduate students to work in water-related fields, and provide support for early career water resources scientists.

The spring issue of the CT IWR newsletter includes an update on the well water testing campaign being conducted, the stand being taken in Connecticut against “forever chemicals,” and a research spotlight on forecasting the resilience of vernal pool ecosystems to climate-mediated hydrological disruption.

Read the spring newsletter at: https://bit.ly/CTIWR_Spring2020. For more information on CT IWR visit https://ctiwr.uconn.edu/.

What is a Virus?

examples of plant problem symptomsGiven the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to focus on viruses to share a little more on these infectious agents.

A virus has a very simple makeup. It is just a piece of DNA or RNA, a protein coat, and in some cases a fatty (lipid) layer. The protein coat provides protection for the piece of genetic information (DNA or RNA), and can code for different functions when the virus infects a host organism.

Viruses are considered neither alive nor dead. Viruses do not consist of cells or have any components to carry out basic functions on their own. They rely on the cell functions of their host to replicate. They hijack their host’s cells to operate in a way that allows the virus to thrive.

For this exact reason, viruses have a biological incentive to keep their hosts alive. If their hosts die, the virus can no longer replicate. Viable virus particles can exist on a surface, such as a table. But without a host, the virus can not cause disease or infection.

The first virus to be crystallized and therefore each of its parts were able to be studied, was actually a plant virus, Tobacco mosaic virus. Rosalind Franklin made this discovery in 1955. Since then, thousands of new viruses have been described.

Read more…

Article by Abby Beissinger

Disinfectant Q & A on Facebook Live

two rolls of paper towels

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) is hosting a Disinfectant Q&A on Facebook with VA Poison Control, OR Poison Control, and the National Association of Poison Control Centers. Anyone is welcome to join the event.

They will address commonly asked safety questions about disinfectants, as well as new questions sent before the event. They are asking that questions be submitted as a direct message to AAPCC’s facebook page. Please distribute to interested staff.

Disinfectant Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Facebook Q&A

https://piper.filecamp.com/uniq/VtBmCGPUyvM2kToc.pdf

Link to the Facebook Event (April 30 @11am PT / 2pm ET):

https://www.facebook.com/events/183325732698602/

Getting Started with Vegetable Gardening

It’s exciting for those of us who are already passionate about gardening to see the recent interest in vegetable gardens. Seed companies have been doing a great business. Every winter I love to browse seed catalogs and gardening websites and dream about the perfect garden. There is a special joy in eating something you grew yourself, it is convenient to have fresh food at hand, and you can even save money.

While there are wonderful benefits of growing your own food, it can also be challenging. How can you be successful from the beginning? Where can you turn for reliable science-based information? UConn Extension has numerous resources available online and you can reach out to any of our nine Master Gardener offices around the state with questions.

Before you spend money on seeds, plants or fancy tools, ask yourself if you can provide the basics of adequate sun, soil, and water. Without at least 6-8 hours of sun, few vegetables can thrive. Similarly, if your soil pH is not in the correct range, plants struggle to get nutrients from the soil. Finally, you should have a way to easily water your new vegetable garden if it does not get at least an inch of rain per week.

As long as you can provide enough sun, a yard isn’t necessary. Container gardening is an easy way to get started without a big commitment. Make sure the container is deep enough for the roots to grow and look for dwarf varieties that will be happy with less room to grow. See the container gardening section for more information.

Consider creating a small raised bed in a sunny area. A few tomato plants, 2 or 3 cucumber plants, lettuce, radishes, and basil fit in a 4 x 8-foot raised bed. Purchased garden soil eliminates the need to dig.  Remember to allow space between plants so air can circulate and reduce the chance of disease. If deer, rabbits, and other animals are a problem, you can use netting and stakes to create a simple fence around the bed.

As a beginning gardener, start small so that you aren’t overwhelmed by weeds, insects, other potential problems, or your aching muscles. Grow what you like to eat. I grew Swiss chard for several years because the foliage is colorful, but I don’t actually like to eat it! Consider choosing plants with fewer pest or disease problems. Cool season vegetables like radishes and lettuce grow quickly from seeds planted in the garden and they have few pests. Soil should be at least 40 degrees and not too wet. Beans can also be direct sown in the garden, but watch out for Japanese, Cucumber, and Mexican Bean beetles. Luckily, hand picking insect pests is manageable in a small garden. Home grown tomatoes are delicious, but they are susceptible to disease and take a long time to mature. Seeds must be started indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date (average of mid-May in CT) or you can buy plants to put in the ground in early June. Warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant need warm soil (at least 60 degrees) to thrive so don’t start too early.  Whether you grow from seed or plants, keep track of when you plant and how it grows.  This can be as easy as taking pictures with your phone.

Welcome to the world of gardening!

Article by Michelle Winkler, Litchfield County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

NRCA Program Receives Award

nrca students in water

Congratulations to our Natural Resources Conservation Academy on their 2020 Excellence in Conservation Org Award from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council! The NRCA team comprises faculty members in Natural Resources & the EnvironmentUConn Center for Land Use Education and Research, Extension, UConn CAHNRUConn Neag School of Education, and NRCS!