BYC Member Interview - aart

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Anne, known to BYC members as aart, has been a member of our community since November 2012. Another of our wonderful "all-rounders" she can be found all over the forum, giving advice and answering members' questions.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    My name is Anne and am an engineer / scientist by nature - not degree. Worked for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry as an equipment designer / drafter and still do so in a very part time freelance capacity. Adult daughter living in NC and a son deceased in NYC in 2012. Was raised in Metro Detroit, settled in Kalamazoo at age 21 and the past 15 years I have lived in a rural area on 15 acres 15 miles from Lake Michigan with a Std Poodle and am presently fostering a long haired Chihuahua.

    I have several disabilities, physical and mental, that along with my engineering analysis compulsion, frequently challenge the more optimistic side of my nature. I can be quite the curmudgeoness and highly value fact over fallacy and often am not particularly diplomatic about dispensing my opinions about things I know to be true...or not true. I really do LOVE to learn exactly 'how things work', solve problems of malfunction and to share what I've learned with others. I am fascinated that with the WWW if you want to learn about something, with some searching and a lot of due diligence regarding sources I can find someone who knows all about it and is just as excited to share what they know as I am about learning about it. I have participated extensively in various online forums for years, from back when they were called bulletin boards, depending on what my main interest is at the time...from chickens to rebuilding vintage garden tractors to taxidermy to ornamental pond filtration to concrete leaves.....well, just to name a few.

    Not often someone's around to take pics of me, but I found these for 'face with name' aspect.
    Family Reunion golf outing 2013, I played varsity golf in high school.


    Test driving tractor repair before re-assembly, daughter took this one 2014.


    Me having a chat with the worlds's largest dog (really, look it up) at our library in 2012.


    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    I keep chickens for food, the need do something truly 'useful' and because I have wanted them for 40 years. I wanted cleaner food 'made' in an environment where I could have a say. I'm an old 'hippie' and self sustenance, homesteading, permaculture has always been on my mind.

    When I was in my teens I spent the summers living with my brother in Upstate NY and he put me in charge of taking care of his chickens one year, it was the first time I'd ever been around chickens other than eating eggs and chicken. I'd always been an animal lover, insatiably curious about nature and wildlife as well as pet animals, and was absolutely entranced with watching them!

    Alas, tho I was chief chicken sitter for friends for a decade, it was not until 40 years later, after reading voraciously on and other chicken/livestock forums for a good 6 months, that I built a coop/run over the summer and got a flock of my own in the fall 2013.

    I got a flock of ten for $20 from someone who needed to split their flock due to rooster battles, she really liked my coop and wanted to help me get started (and really needed to spilt and downsize her flock). I only wanted a half dozen laying hens to start but the deal was five 1 1/2yo laying hens would come with four 4mo chicks if I took the 1 1/2yo rooster who was said not to be human aggressive at all (yeah right). When I went to look at them, she had them all corralled in a pen and easily cornered and picked up that rooster. He was gorgeous, pretty mellow..... it felt 'right' so I took them all. More on him later. The hens started laying in their new coop right away and I was off!

    3. Which aspect(s) of chicken keeping do you enjoy the most?

    Eggs! I find it to be an everyday thrill still to gather these gems of nutrition. But all of it intrigues me. Watching their growth patterns and behaviors, from hatch to harvest, modifying the facility and maintenance regimes to meet their needs (and mine) to keep them safe, healthy and productive. My goal was to sell enough eggs to buy feed/supplies and it worked out pretty darn well.

    That I can use the whole bird sustainably means a lot to me. Tho my cycle of hatching thru harvest has not been fully established yet, I conquered the harvesting part with one of the 4mos that turned into a nasty and unneeded cockerel. It was a difficult endeavor for this city bred girl to butcher an animal, but I researched and got the job done and he was delicious. It was a huge satisfaction to bridge this gap that is often overlooked and then whined about in the BYC movement, a reality check that I was grateful to experience...and delicious, did I mention delicious? The richest stew and stock I've ever eaten.

    10 egg day.




    Baby Chickies! in first stage brooder.


    Handsome Chick.


    Chicken Village outdoors spring 2014

    ....older chicks, younger chicks watched by Rascal, adults.


    Rascal helped with coop build...but didn't quite get it.


    Adult flock fall 2013...

    Rascal was enthralled, especially after he discovered the gifts they left for him.


    Young cockerel..Destined for Dinner.


    First Harvest.


    Rooster Stew!


    4. Which members of your flock, past and present, stand out for you and why?

    Well, I've only had chickens for about 18 months at this writing so not much history to gather from, and I like most of them. My first rooster, Mister Rooster (original huh?), fascinated me and gave me the wonderful experience of keeping a 'good' rooster. First day he was here he got into a double nesting box (good thing I left one doubled because he wouldn't fit in a single) and stayed in there for a good half hour or so softly clucking and chukking away. I had no clue what this was about until I read about it on, that he was telling the girls here's where to lay, and sure enough they did. I never saw him in the nest again. He was mellow and would feed from my hand, gently removing what was there and dropping it for the girls and calling them over. He was a good starter rooster, I learned not to handle him unnecessarily and then only off the roost at night if possible, he wasn't afraid of me but then I knew how to keep my emotions in check when around an animal, he was concerned when I handled hens but never showed an iota of inkling to attack me and working with him bolstered my confidence in learning to handle chickens. He went back to his original owner to give the her sister show lost her rooster to predation.



    I'm not a chicken hugger, I have pet dogs for animal cuddling, but my two Lt. Brahma pullets come up to me every morning and seem to want to be picked I oblige them, it does indeed charm me and the black and white pleases my eye. Funny thing is that they didn't like to be handled much as chicks, they screamed and squawked up a storm, and I handled all my chicks a lot to learn how to hold them, band them, examine their anatomy for a plethora of reasons.


    5. What was the funniest (chicken related) thing(s) that happened to you in your years as chicken owner?

    Again not much history yet to draw from and my chooks are fully confined so can't get into much 'trouble', but the funniest thing I can think of is more about me than the chickens, it was when I heard the 'egg song' for the first time. I heard this incredibly loud cacophony of noise coming from the coop the first or second day I had them, I went tearing down there thinking for sure something was killing my new chickens, only to see the rooster standing on the roost board ripping off that bok-bok-bok-baGAWWW over and over and most the hens were chiming in with their versions as well....seeing no blood or carnage I relaxed ...then I saw the EGG!! OhMyGosh, an egg, from my very own chickens in my very own coop!! I did my own egg celebration.... from the incredible edible egg commercial?... the old man in overalls, doing a little shuffle dance and singing?.... 'I love eggs, from my head down to my legs'. It stills brings a huge grin to my face to remember that moment.

    6. Beside chickens, what other pets do you keep?

    I have lived with animals since I was a little tiny baby girl....they bought a puppy when I was born, for my much older sister, but that dog became mine, went everywhere with me in the neighborhood.... and we always had a cat. I've had plenty of cats as an adult tho don't think I'll ever want to live with one again. Didn't own a dog as an adult until in my 30's and bought my first house. I've kept fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, cats, but dogs are still my favorite pet, the only remaining ones and because I really can't afford to keep two, I only have the one now.... tho I do have a few goldfish that winter in a large aquarium inside / live in a water garden outside in summer and I am experimenting with raising mealworms.

    Maggie, Libby, Rascal and foster dog Tiny. first dog, from a coworker who's growing children trumped the dog.


    Libby...from same coworker for same reason


    Rascal...from SPCA.


    Tiny..... foster dog taken on as a favor for a friend.


    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    Not really.... just an expression of gratitude for the thoughtful and intelligent folks on the BYC forum from whom I've learned so much, and continue to learn, just about everything I need(ed) to know to be a good chicken keeper.

    Read, read, read... then read some more...... bring a good dose of common sense, a shaker of salt (as opposed to a grain of salt and it's not for the tequila) and pretty soon you'll learn to ignore the idiots and/or the folks you just don't like and/or the folks who have different chicken keeping goals than you'll gain a ton of good knowledge from forums like this one.

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:
  2. N F C

    N F C no time like snow time

    Dec 12, 2013
    Finally, get to put a face to a name (and a real name to a user name [​IMG]). Very interesting interview, I've always appreciated your posts and am glad @sumi talked you into doing this. Nice to get to know you better @aart !
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Thank you so much for this very interesting intervierw!
  4. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    I agree. And thanks for all your input on the site, aart. You always have something useful to contribute.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Loved your interview!! I have always admired you and knew there was more of you we couldn't see on the surface. You have such a wonderful approach to life and now we have a face too! Thanks for sharing yourself here!! :)
  6. KentuckyMom

    KentuckyMom Songster

    Jul 15, 2013
    Foster, Kentucky
    Thank you.
    You do realize that I am going to be humming/singing "The Incredible, Edible Egg" ditty the rest of the day now?
  7. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Crowing

    Jun 9, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Very interesting!
  8. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    I'm glad to have met you!
    You have a very interesting life.
    I can relate to using the word "Gems" for eggs.
    Sometimes I can not get over how lovely a fresh egg is.

    And lovely dogs!
  9. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Crowing

  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Thank you so much Aart! It is a pleasure to attach a face and real life name to a "forum name".

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