Did you go to profile/edit account/forum preferences and turn off avatars/signatures/etc. (anything that will eat speed)?
Chrome is free, and seems to be referenced less often as a contributor to slow downs.
If you get chrome installed (though you can take your pick of browsers on the test site) there is a site that can be used for testing: http://www.webpagetest.org
Choose a server location close to yours. Choose browser (chrome).. Enter: WWW . backyardchickens.com Run test (this might take a while as you might have to wait in line). On results: go to the Screenshots: should be two results: initial load time of BYC/second Load (should be much faster owing to local storage of some info). Would be interesting to know those two times (and your connection speed). This might provide some info on how things run from nearest server (not primary use of this software).
Quicker check: http://www.numion.com/Stopwatch/index.html
(delete temp. internet files/clear history/dump cache - depending on browser - before running test).
If you're running windows start task manager/(performance monitoring) view/always on top. watch CPU/mem usage (application/processes using it) when comp. revs up..Edited by ivan3 - 2/12/12 at 8:30am