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September 04, 2009


Deb Howard

Hi Cynthia,

Not quite four months ago I took your chicken class, and I have to say - what a difference it is raising chicks from 3 days old instead of getting them all grown! In the past, I started with chickens at ~6 months old, and they were stand-offish and skittish. Not so this clutch of lil rascals - they come up to me and 'expect' to be petted on the chest, head and back. They even 'cuddle' in the crook of my arm and lay down contentedly. Love my chickens and appreciate the class!

Thanks! Deb H.

 Lisa and Michael

Dear Cynthia,

The four little chicks we happily brought home from your class last summer are such delightful additions to our backyard. "Farm". Over the last two+ weeks three of them started laying and they've continued, like clockwork every day. Their eggs are perfect and so beautiful I have yet to get the nerve to crack one. We are grateful to you and your team because we know that the real reason our Miranda, Carrie, Chatlotte and Samantha are so healthy and thriving is because your class was absolutely thorough and comprehensive. It really prepared us well. I highly recommend this class for anyone who thinks they'd like to raise chickens. It was excellent. Thanks again.

Christy O'Brien

Our chickens are a joy. Our "Buffy" started laying this week and we have 4 eggs! I love to hear her tell everyone "I laid and egg"! The girls are so fun.


My chickens so much fun. They now lay eggs and have a very happy life as free range chickens, but I'm worried about hawks. Can/will hawks go after a full grown chicken?

Fortunately, the chickens are a little worried too and spend most of their time under trees and hedges.


We are so excited, surprisingly, we got our first egg today! After taking the Backyard Chicken class in March, our chickens are not yet 5 months old. It is a lovely blue/green color, so we know exactly who laid it. Cynthia gave us 4 types of chickens that each lay a different color egg. We had no idea we would have this much fun raising chickens. They each have their own cute personality too.

Tennille Christensen

Hi Cynthia,

I've taken 3 of your classes (summer vegetables, tomato seedling and tomato masters) and my garden is definitely in much better shape than it otherwise would be, thanks so much to you.

I very much want to get chickens as my next step but can't attend any of your classes. Will you have any chicken classes this year after the October 1 class?

Thanks in advance and I can't wait to see the new farm,


My favorite thing about taking the Chicken Class from Cynthia back in March is that we got to come home with 4 different types of chickens. This was a brilliant idea, since we'll get eggs of different colors and each of their little personalities are so different and fun to watch. It's been about 10 weeks now and the are all doing very well. We are anxiously waiting for our first eggs. However, in the meantime, we are enjoying their antics and have found as a treat they LOVE corn on the cob and raisins. It's pretty darn cute, they get so excited, they'll eat them from your hand, or jump in the air or fly to your hand to get them.


I took Cynthia's Chicken class 2 months ago and I am in love with my birds. After the initial coop building, they couldn't be an easier pet. I think my boyfriend has become the mama hen because he has the most time with them. I researched raising chickens for 1 year prior to the class. I learned more about chickens in her class then in a year of reading books and on-line. If you are thinking about getting chickens for eggs, TAKE THIS CLASS!

Love Apple Farm

Hi Sam: We may have another class, just on chicken-keeping without the commitment to take the chicks. I will add you to our email newsletter list in case we do. That way, you'll get notice of it.

sam alvarado

My husband and I are very interested in your class,however we do not want chicks. Is there a fee reduction? Thank you, Sam

Love Apple Farm

Brooke: Yes, the chicks can stand a 2 hour drive after class. Go ahead and sign up!


I'm interested in taking the class but would be driving down from Napa (about a 2 hour drive). Can the chicks tolerate that long not being under the lamp? I don't want to have them get stressed on the drive back.

Craig Lore

My wife and I took this class on May 29, 2010. Today, January 30, 2011, is almost 9 months to the day that we have had our four chickens. Like many of the others who have commented, this is our first experience with chickens. I have to say it's been very enjoyable, interesting, and satisfying. Chickens are not intelligent, by any means, but I'm surprised to discover that they are a lot more interesting than I imagined. They are curious; they have personalities; they are trainable--walk by the run with some weeds or green leaves in your hand, and watch them come running.

So far, knock on the wooden coop, they have been relatively trouble free. We had to isolate one chicken from the others for several weeks when she got picked on by the others, but once she healed, she rejoined the flock and all is well. Cynthia's class material covered information on this issue, and a couple emails to and from her helped us get through it.

Cynthia was very careful to state that chickens "can" start laying eggs as young as six months of age. Our first egg didn't arrive until they were 7 1/2 months old, and then, only one was laying. Soon, however, another joined in, and then a third. The fourth one didn't seem to have a clue. Two weeks ago, the three chickens that were laying produced 16 eggs. Last week there were 13. Today, at 9 months of age, the fourth chicken laid her first egg, and we had four eggs total just today. Who knows how many we'll get in the coming weeks?

Three of the eggs are Mediums; the fourth lays a Large egg. The eggs require a little cleaning--not as much as we expected--which we do with a bacterial hand soap and a scrubbing sponge. The eggs are delicious--smaller in size than most people usually buy at the store--but the yolks stand up very high and are bright yellow.

Since you're reading this, this class must sound interesting to you; you should take it. Make sure that you check to see if your community allows chickens and how many. A lof of places allow them, but some don't. More and more communities, however, are ammending their policies to allow backyard chickens. Raising chickens hasn't been very hard; we've had a great time tending and observing them, and the eggs are fantastic.

Love Apple Farm

Hi John. For 3 or 4 laying hens you'll need a minimum space of 4 feet wide and 12 feet long. It will end up being a small coop of 4 feet x 4 feet and a run of 8 feet attached to the coop. If you can spare the space, then an attached run of 12 feet long would be even nicer (but not required). We will talk coop design and have plans for students to take home. Hope you can join us at the class.

John Paveza

Before I sign up for the class, how much space should I reserve for the chicks? I have an area with decomposed granite as the base.

many thanks,


Of the 4 chicks we got from class in May, two have started laying daily. Love the fresh eggs! What a treat it will be to have them for Thanksgiving!

Russell and Serena Ramsey

We just got our first few eggs after taking the May class. It has been easy and fun to take care of the girls, thanks to a very informative class. The neighborhood kids have loved watching the girls grow up and now I'm sure we will have many requests for eggs. All of this fun in San Francisco! Thanks Cynthia

Amy Jespersen

This was a great class. My girls (except for one who looks more and more like a guy) are located where the neighbors can see them. The neighbor kids visit and some adults too. People are always asking to feed their scraps to them. That's fine by me. My scraps go to the worms or compost.

Deep Fryers

I have always been interested in raising my own chickens, but wasn't convinced I could do it, until I saw Kate Gosselin from J&K + 8 has her own chickens and is doing it! She's got them in her backyard, and if she can do it so can I... I'm looking for a class in Houston asap!


I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I LOVED your chicken class that I took in early June!!

I've told everyone that I've seen since I took your class two things: 1 that your class is super informative and entertaining. 2. I have been ranting for years about going to classes with other adults that hijack the class leaving everyone else in there feeling like we are bobbing in their wake but the way you ran that class was like a breath of fresh air!! so Thank you again!!!


I love your "chicken in the backyard" idea, but my worry is about what to do with them later after they grow up. My two little kids would get attached and what are the options of getting rid of them eventually?? I don't want to break their hearts ...

Vaida O.

Cynthia Smillie

Cynthia, I just found your website this weekend...I've spent the whole time going over everything...I just finished a Master Gardener course here in Missouri and I have bees and chickens...I feel you can always learn something and would love to take some of your classes but alas California is tooooo I will keep checking to see what's new on your site...Thank you for such a wonderful site and I am going to try the fish heads in the tomatoe holes this year. Cynthia S.

Bonnie Chadwick

The video idea is great! I hope it's a possibility. I live in Michigan. Inherited 3 meat chickens and 3 ducks last year... Learning as I go. What is the best way to clean your eggs? Just duck eggs for now. The chickens are in the freezer. I hope to try chickens again this spring. Love your blog!

Mark Sendzik

I'm from Clifton Park, New York. Is there anyway you could make a video of your class on raising chickens? This would make it easier for those of us who can't make the trip to California. Your attention to detail is paramount to your success. Great website and blogs. Keep up the GREAT work! Thanks! Mark S.

Kerry Stringari

Happy New Year Cynthia,

Loved your chicken class in Oct. The "girls" have grown up so fast! Can't believe I took them home in that small box! They are healthy & happy & all have different personalities. Neighbors are giving them carrot tops & other treats! Can't wait for the 1st eggs.
Highly recommend this class. Fun & informative. Now looking forward to gardening class. Thanks so much for offering these classes.

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