BYC member Interview - Alaskan

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    The mysterious Alaskan has been a BYC member since July 2008. Another of our wonderful "all rounders", will be found all over the forum, chatting, offering advice, sharing, and just being fun to have around.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself. (Family, hobbies, whatever personal stuff you feel like sharing)

    I am married, for 18.5 years now. I have 5 kids, all boys, and their ages range from 6 to 16. I am a true Texian, but after the birth of our first son, we moved to Alaska. My spouse and I very much wanted to raise our children in a place with wide open spaces; the sort of place that Texas used to be. So, we chose a place out in the country, but within walking distance to a church, and not too far from a small town.

    I hate the cold and terribly long winters up here, but I love everything else about the place.

    A moose, looking in the living room window. And yes, the boys scribbled all over the window with window markers.

    My hobbies are poultry! I love incubating anything that I can get my hands on, I love working on my coops and runs, and all things chicken, even coop cleaning.

    As to buildings I currently have:
    • one giant coop complex which includes the 'Main Coop' (only one that is insulated. It currently houses my quail and Marans. The quail are in a separate cage),
    • the 'Shed' and the Greenhouse (currently housing the rest of the standard sized chickens),
    • the 'Bantam Coop' (where the bantams are, cost me zero),
    • the 'Pond Coop' (this did have my 'growing out, gonna eat them' young ducks, but we ate them for Christmas, so it is now empty),
    • the 'Orchard Coop/Muscovy Coop' (cost me about $8 to build, my Muscovy breeders live here).

    I am known on the forums as the person who tries to hide their chickens. Spouse doesn't like poultry. I actually had to sneak a broody through the window once, and I am not all that spry! I never lie, so I try to never count how many chickens I have. I like to be able to honestly say "I have no idea how many chickens I have, but it can't be many". The newest coop, the 'Bantam Coop' had to be hidden, since spouse had clearly said that I was NOT allowed to have any more coops.... I was not as successful as I wanted to be, but spouse didn't throw a fit when the coop was discovered.... I think I broke the poor abused spouse. [​IMG]

    Because of what I said in the above paragraph, I can't tell you how many chickens I have, but it can't be many, truly, I only have a few. However, I DO know what breeds I have.

    Standard sized chickens:
    • Rose Comb Dark Brown Leghorns -with rooster, planning on breeding them
    • Rose Comb White Leghorns - no rooster [​IMG]
    • French Black Copper Marans - with rooster, currently segregated out for pure bred eggs
    • Dominiques - with rooster, but I am not super pleased with my stock, I am not sure if I want to breed from what I have, or order more
    • Golden Pencilled Hamburgs - no rooster, he was so bad (conformation, not personality) I butchered him
    • White Cochins - kept as broodies, no rooster
    • White Leghorns- no rooster
    • Golden Comets - no rooster

    Bantam sized Chickens:
    • Blue Laced Red Wyandotte - with roosters
    • Wheaten Ameraucana - ONE girl and two boys!
    • Mille Fleur d'Uccle - with a rooster

    I have started a blog mostly so that I can keep writing in crazy quantities, and hopefully entertain some people while I do so.

    I clearly enjoy spending time on BYC. I find that whenever I have a bit of time, looking through the unanswered posts’ and trying to answer them, is the most useful. Even if I have nothing helpful to say, letting them know that someone read what they posted is comforting. (hint, hint, help me out here) Also, posting a comment gets their question back to the top of the ‘just posted’ list, and makes it more likely that someone who DOES have a good answer will see the post and respond.

    The outside things I like up here are cross-country skiing (but the weather has to be perfect), mushrooming, berry gathering, gardening, and just wandering and bird watching.

    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    When I was growing up I spent summers as well as vacations and some weekends, with my grandparents. They lived out in the Hill Country of Texas, and had chickens. All of the chicken chores were my responsibility. Of course I also had to do many other things like mend fence, herd cattle, weed the vegetable garden, and help can and make jelly. However, let us get back to the chickens. Except for slaughtering, which I did either with my grandmother or my older sister, I did all of the chicken chores by myself. I was in charge of feeding, watering, and coop cleaning. After about age 10 on a yearly basis, I also mail ordered and then raised the baby chicks for the first few weeks at my house, and then I would bring the chicks to my grandmother.

    However, that phase of my life passed by, I went to college (no more ordering and raising chicks for my grandmother), and then she passed away.

    In the years that I lived in town and was going to school, I switched to parrots! I actually bred parrots for a few years. However, spouse dislikes parrots, and in our move to Alaska I sold or gave away all but one of my parrots since we were moving from a decently sized house to no house at all.

    I got back into chickens about 6 or so years ago. They remind me of my grandmother, and I loved her so very much, and still think of her often, so that connection is very important to me.

    The other reasons that I started keeping chickens were:

    • To give the kids more chores to do (each kid needs an animal chore, and I have 5 kids)
    • To make sure the kids learned about the full life cycle and beauty of raising your own eggs and meat
    • I greatly prefer the taste and healthfulness of home raised eggs
    • Chicken TV, beautiful, fun and endlessly entertaining creatures.

    Some pictures:

    Bantam Wheaten Ameraucan

    Dominique Cockerel and pullet


    Rose Comb Dark Brown Leghorn cockerel in front with a Dominique, Golden Comet, and White Cochin in the back.


    bantam Rooster and hen, d'Uccle Notice that he has lost his comb points due to frostbite.

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

    Actually, what I like most about chickens is that they will eat almost anything. I love walking out to the chicken run with a pot of burnt rice or the ‘served it 3 times already and there is still lots left’ meal fail. The chickens are always thrilled to see me, they never complain that the food was cooked wrong, they eat it all up!


    I can also feed them all of the vegetables that I hate….. I like to pretend that the goodness of the broccoli or other scary green thing gets into the eggs….. (shhhh, don’t burst my bubble)

    The chickens are the kings of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

    I was going to leave it at that…..except there is also hatching. Incubating is wonderfully addictive. I have also learned about eBay eggs. Bidding on eBay eggs, hatching eggs and watching them grow and develop, are not only fun but challenging and rewarding. I am also now trying to get a little bit into breeding. It is impressively difficult to do well. However, I enjoy a good challenge.

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

    My favorite poultry personality of my youth was the gander. My grandmother started out with a trio. I vaguely remember the two girls, but unfortunately both were lost over the years, and the gander remained for a great many years. He was a better watch dog than the two ranch watch dogs! He would hear a car coming up the driveway and warn us. He never gave false warnings. I thought that he was lovely, and got along well with him. My baby sister says that he would always run after her and try to bite her. Odd, I don’t remember that at all.

    My favorite poultry personality since I got back into chickens was a Cuckoo Marans hen that I got from a hatchery. She was lovely! She went broody one spring, so I decided that we would use her to take care of the LARGE number of chicks that I had ordered. (That was the first year that I had a severe case of the ‘must acquire all chickens in the entire world’ problem) We moved her and her nest of eggs from the main coop to my pond coop. We had her in there for a few days, and I kept looking up at the open eaves in that coop and started to worry that a jay might sneak in to eat chicks. So we picked her up again and moved her to one end of my greenhouse, she stayed broody even with all of that moving. The next day I came in and started putting one peeping chick under her skirts after another. She took them all! 25 chicks! A few days later we tried to do the same trick with a little bantam white Cochin (we only moved her and her nest once), but she said she would have nothing to do with us! So, the next set of chicks….. younger than the first set, I tried giving to the Marans, and she thought it was a lovely idea! Now that Marans had a flock of 40 chicks (25 and 15..if I remember correctly), and she still managed well. She kept them all warm, and made sure that they ate and drank. It was very cute to see her get panicked if one of the chicks got cold. She would keep pushing and pushing chicks into her feathers and under her wings until they were all covered. Yes, I am not sure how she managed, but she did. When the chicks got bigger I was able to integrate them without any work on my part. The Marans would bully any chicken that tried to peck her chicks. It wasn’t until the chicks were over half grown that she finally decided that her job was done. I would have kept her forever….. but of course a predator got my lovely girl! [​IMG]

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

    Well, no funny thing came right to mind…. So I asked the kids:

    The 6 year old said “learning how they make an egg”.

    The 16 year old said the funniest thing was when we had the bantam d’uccle rooster that kept trying to attack him. He said it was hilarious how the rooster kept thinking it was big and powerful, and would go for his boots.

    The 11 year old said that they are cute, not funny.

    The other two children have disappeared.

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

    We have one dog, owned by the spouse. I don’t like dogs.

    We have one cockatiel…not the one parrot that I brought with me to Alaska, he died of old age. Our cockatiel is named Pidgy, and is a girl.

    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    Other poultry we have tried:
    We have tried turkeys (never, ever, again), regular ducks (tasty, but too messy, never again), geese (not as tasty as duck, but good, very economical, and I would like to have them again if I get a moveable electric poultry net so that I can rotate them about on my lawn), and Muscovy! We love our Muscovy! The kids and I all agree that they are much better than dogs. They are impressively cute, so very difficult to butcher because of their cuteness, but they are the tastiest critter so far.

    We do currently have 5 Muscovy, one drake and 4 hens. Each one is a different color, so the ducklings hatch out in a gloriously cute rainbow of colors. The females are magnificent mothers. I suppose that I could have them hatch chicken eggs for me, but the ducklings sell for a higher price than the chicks.

    Two females watching over a giant horde of ducklings.

    We also have quail now…. Quail are like tiny ADHD chickens. They start laying at 8 weeks, are super active, and truly lay almost every single day.

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Great interview!
  3. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Nice interview, Al. And cute moose [​IMG]
  4. getaclue

    getaclue Crossing the Road

    Jun 19, 2013
    Central Florida
    Yay Alaskan! Great interview!
    drumstick diva likes this.
  5. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Songster

    Mar 31, 2014
    Glad they finally interviewed you! Nice interview and pics.[​IMG]
    drumstick diva likes this.
  6. BriardChickens

    BriardChickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2014
    Northern Alberta
    Very nice! [​IMG]
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    [​IMG] thank you!
    drumstick diva likes this.
  8. chickwhispers

    chickwhispers A French Hen

    Apr 16, 2012
    Northwest OH
    My Coop
    [​IMG]Awesome Alaskan!!! [​IMG]
    drumstick diva likes this.
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Thankyou. Always nice to get to know folks.
    drumstick diva likes this.
  10. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine

    My favorite part was about the 2 children disappearing. Made me chuckle.
    drumstick diva likes this.

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