The Heritage Poultry Conservancy – P. Allen Smith

We never had chickens growing up. Living in the heart of Nashville as a kid, I guess I never even saw a real chicken that wasn’t in a bucket with a colonel on it until I was a 7 or 8 years old and then it was in the form of an Easter gift for my sister. It was a pink chicken. We kept it in a pen at the back of our property. It grew and grew. Pink gave way to white and early one morning my dad came in the house with a sad look on his face. The chicken had vanished. Blood and feathers in the pen, but no chicken. My sister was crushed. In the years since, backyard poultry has become quite a phenomenon.  It is now rather fashionable to “keep chickens”. Businesses such as Coop & Caboodle, a chicken rental business in Birmingham have cropped up.

Coop & Caboodle Chicken Rental for Backyard Poultry

Coop & Caboodle Chicken Rental for Backyard Poultry

During my recent visit to Moss Mountain Farm, home of Lifestyle and Gardening expert P. Allen Smith, I learned a lot of about poultry and the importance of preserving certain varieties of poultry. The Heritage Poultry Conservancy is dedicated to the preservation of heritage poultry varieties. We spent an entire afternoon in “Poultryville” and got some hands on knowledge of the care and keeping of chickens and ducks and geese.

Me with "Edwin" a Light Brahma

Me with “Edwin” a Light Brahma


The good folks at Hubbard life were on hand with advice and insights into what feed is best for your animals. They are experts in animal nutrition and have a great website

Scenes from the barnyard

Scenes from the barnyard

I put together a little video clip of my visit there. I hope you’ll take a moment and watch. Don’t know if you are aware, but many of these heritage varieties are near extinction or have been inbred to the point that they are half their original size.

P. Allen Smith told the group that “there has to be a way to preserve them”, bred them in such a way that they are restored to their original size and also as a means to encourage young people to get involved in growing and exhibiting poultry.  I was inspired by this visit. I will be hunting up the poultry exhibits at our county fair this year and will tell everyone I know about the Heritage Poultry Conservancy at Moss Mountain Farm. Well done Allen.

About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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3 Responses to The Heritage Poultry Conservancy – P. Allen Smith

  1. This is so important, isn’t it? The thought of all these breeds going extinct is just terrible and what P. Allen Smith is doing is terrific. Thanks for sharing this with us. And you and Edwin look real cute.


  2. Great photo of you and Edwin! Nice to have met you and yes, what P. Allen Smith is doing with the Heritage Poultry Conservancy is so important.


    • Lisa, so nice to have met you as well. I have enjoyed following your adventures with your chickens…. Makes me want to raise them myself. My HOA would go into a tizzy is I did that… LOL


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