So it's about time I update my page. Its been a while. My name is Verna.. I had 5 children, 2 girls and 3 boys. They are great kids but only the girls understand my passion for poultry. I think most of my family feels I have just tied myself down with my birds and don't have free time to do family things. I have 5 granddaughters and am hoping that some day I will have a grandson as well.
I was diagnosed with a degenerative joint disease and got laid off in January of 2010 on disability from my job of 24 years working at Wolf Creek Nuclear. I retired at that time and I must say it seemed awful then, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. My only regret is my reduced income. Before I got my first chickens I was to the point I could barely walk and my wrists hurt so bad I could hardly function. Even on those days when I hurt so bad I never want to leave my chair, I have to get out and take care of my birds. I credit my chickens for my ability to walk and function almost like a normal person. By evening I don't function well, but I hate to think what I would be like now if it weren't for my birds.
I had chickens back in the early 70's as a young adult, but went on to living the city life for many years. My past has been very diverse. I worked unskilled labor, then became a police officer in Oklahoma City. After about 10 years in the city, I moved back to Kansas and went to work at the Nuclear plant as a security officer. I got injured and changed to the maintenance group where I remained until my retirement. Over the years I managed to get a couple of degrees. Unfortunately they never had much inpact on my income.
I've spent most of my adult life as a single Mom, but have a significant other who I've been with for over 20 years now. He has been great about all my projects and helps me,( although rather slowly) with things I can't handle physically. He keeps saying we are old and need to slow down but I just keep adding more to my menagerie.
I decided after buying a 20 acre mini farm a few years ag,o that I wanted chickens. There was an old chicken house here that I thought I could move and rebuild but I soon found out it was beyond repair. So the build was on. I was only going to get 25 birds and have some to butcher and some to use as hens. I was SO wrong! It became a passion and as I read more and learned more about different birds I kept adding to my breeds. My next birds were pheasant, then ducks, then guineas, etc etc.
I now normally have around 400 birds here at a time including chicks, give or take a 100 to 200. I have 5 incubators and a large hatcher. I sell eggs, and chicks. My chickens and ducks free range except for a few I have in separate houses and pens to separate breeds. My houses have all been made by recycling materials, other than structural wood. My biggest project which is still not completed, is to convert a large office trailer into a chicken house with many different runs inside and out. I have materials to put in an automatic water system and hopefully a when I figure out the design, some type of auto feeder system.
I have three beautiful Great Pyrenees that protect my birds from predators so my poultry can forage as natural as possible.
I have three very old cats which sleep most of the time. They range in age from 12 to 15 years old. I also have one cat I rescued for shop cat to keep down the mice population. Somehow she ended up in the house during a cold winter snap and believes she belongs in here too. They are all good hunters though and I always have at least one dead mouse or mole waiting for me on the back step each morning after their evening strolls.
I am so happy and love my life. I work harder now than I did when I worked full time. I am content to stay home and just enjoy the animals and the peace and quiet around me. I worked for 44 years and never got to stay home when my children were young. I regret that so much! Maybe it was all a process from which I had to learn to appreciate the finer things in life and the beauty of nature.