After yesterday’s loss to Ghana, the US is out of the World Cup, but there are many exciting matches still to come in the lead up to the final on July 11th. If you’ve got World Cup fever, but have to be on campus during the games, the Free Speech Movement Cafe may offer the perfect solution. On game days, they’re showing the matches beginning at 7 am. So grab that paper you have to read, pick up a cup of coffee, and settle in to enjoy the game. It’s a win-win solution!
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There’s a new study space on campus especially for doctoral candidates. The Graduate Division and Doe Library’s Graduate Services have created a Dissertation Writer’s Room, which opened its doors for the first time this morning. The Dissertation Writer’s Room, located in 215 Doe at the back of Graduate Services, is reserved for students who wish to work quietly on their dissertations. Currently, it has table space for six in addition to two reading chairs. More work spaces will be added as use grows.
To access the Dissertation Writer’s Room, you must go through Graduate Services, which is located in 208 Doe. Because this study area and library are reserved for graduate student, faculty, and staff use, you’ll need to show your Berkeley ID when you enter. The hours for the newly minted Dissertation Writer’s Room are Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 9 pm; Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; and Sunday, 1 pm to 9 pm. Happy writing!
Last summer, first-time chicken owner and Berkeley post-doc, Tana Wood, walked us through the ins and outs of urban chicken ownership. Nearly a year later, we caught up with Tana again, who reported that raising your own chickens is more challenging than she and her housemates realized at the start of their experiment in urban farming.
Chickens, it turns out, are messier, more destructive, and trickier than they first seemed. First, the amount of chicken poop soon got out of hand, requiring daily maintenance. “The yard became a mine field,” said Tana. Second, although the chickens did relatively little damage to the garden in the first few months, they destroyed it in a matter of weeks once they began laying and their appetites increased. And third, with free range of the backyard, the chickens and their eggs proved to be elusive. The chickens frequently moved their nest, leading to many an unplanned egg hunt. Tana also learned that chickens do not stay put when they suspect the grass is greener in the neighbor’s yard. One chicken set out to explore the neighborhood and was gone for three days.
Because of these problems, the biggest change Tana and her housemates have made is to move their five chickens into an enclosure, which they have found to be a huge improvement. Using PVC and plastic chicken wire they constructed a 10 x 15 foot enclosure around the coop with a door for easy human access, an addition that cost about $100. For another $90 they added a roof made out of PVC and plastic corrugated paneling to provide shade on sunny days and shelter on rainy days. To keep poop clean-up to a minimum, they cover the inside with hay (about $12 a bale at the Biofuel Oasis), which the chickens love; at the end of the week they can either compost the hay or use it as mulch on the garden. They also keep a pine-litter-filled tray under the chickens’ roost, which helps contain the poop and the smell. Inside the enclosure they’ve added a dirt box, so the chickens can take the dirt baths they need to stay clean and pest free. Rounding out the chickens’ new home, Tana added two nests, which she made from Booda cat litter boxes by enlarging the openings and lining them with hay.
Finally, what was just annoying last summer – waking up at 6 am each day to let the chickens out and getting home at dark to lock them up for the night – soon became a burden and also made it harder to find people willing to look after the chickens. To solve this problem, Tana installed an automatic chicken coop door that operates on a timer. For Tana, this door was well worth the $120 it cost; with it in place, the coop is automatically opened at dawn and closed one hour after dusk.
While raising chickens can been fun and rewarding, keep in mind that it’s not always easy.