BYC Member Interview - ChickensAreSweet

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Jeanne, known to BYC members as ChickensAreSweet, has been a member of our community since September 2010. She is another of our wonderful all rounders and will be found all over the forum, giving wonderful advice, chatting, answering questions and helping fellow members with their flocks.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    My name is Jeanne and I live in WA state. My husband and I have two children and we live in a semi-rural area. I love to sew handkerchiefs and keep the house straight. Cooking and cleaning are what I enjoy, and it keeps the house running smoothly for everyone. My two kids do chip in and help me with quite a bit.


    Here are pics from today: daffodils in pic above, and crocuses below.


    A beautiful Douglas Fir (above and below)!


    Olive trees inside the greenhouse. They are only hardy to maybe 20 degrees? They do OK in the greenhouse.


    Strawberry plants and some are empty for now. The mesh is to keep out rabbits/deer. We have LOTS of rabbits here. They are completely unafraid of me and the chickens. The deer graze here too and love to hang out next to these white pots.


    My husband is an engineer and is very good at fixing things around the house. He is a dream come true, wonderful DH and father. We have been married for more than 15 years now. He is a complete whiz with computers. He is not able to be physically very active, since he is a cancer survivor. My health isn't so good in recent years either but we do OK.

    Hummingbird feeder (they come up to the window and hover, peering in at me if their juice is too old or if it is gone). That is a regular birdfeeder in the background. The sparrows and other songbirds also come up to the deck rail and stare intently at me through the window if their seed level gets too low or if it is gone. Amazing but true!


    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    I started keeping chickens in 2006, when I thought it would be good for the kids to have chickens and the thought of eggs was appealing. We started with 6 Silver-laced Wyandottes. Since then I have taken a couple of "chicken breaks" due to the stress of an attack rooster one time and mites another time (yes we treated and retreated before getting rid of them but I had to have a break at the time).

    Over the years we have tried different breeds, with the thought that we would settle on a specific breed to raise. But I have discovered that I enjoy a variety of colors. We settled on Black Australorps for their dispositions and egglaying, but we also have two Easter Eggers for variety (Goldie and Nutmeg).

    I use sand inside my coop and nest boxes, and scoop it every single day with a kitty litter scoop. I wear an N95 mask to do so, as breathing sand dust is bad. I only have three of my girls named right now. We don't eat our chickens, as I have never been able to do it.

    Here are some pics of the chicken yards (they are able to go to all fenced areas). The coop is on the left but I also use the middle shed as a coop when I need to.


    Here in this pic below you can see one of the hawk shelters they use throughout the day to stay safe from hawks (A-frame metal-and-plywood-8 feet long).


    More hawk shelters below- they wouldn't survive 24 hours without them.


    In the pic above you can see the girls hiding under the grapevines as they must see a Bald Eagle or a hawk in the trees. All these pics are from today. In the below pic, you can see the old coop- a metal shed we use for storage now. The two structures to the right are hawk shelters that happen to have some firewood there temporarily. The dusting bin is there too, with woodstove ashes in it.


    More hawk shelters here.


    In the pic below, you can see the vertical metal roofing used as windbreaks (it is very windy here in the winter at times). This coop is homemade. It has a large door on each side. Our weather is very mild and we rarely get snow, so they are usually outside.


    In the pic above you can see the 2 x 2 netting I have over part of the pen. This gives them a respite from hawks and owls when they want to be a little more off-guard and rest.


    The pic above is Nutmeggie. She is an EE.


    The pic above shows Goldie (an EE).


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

    The best part of chicken keeping is looking out the window and seeing the beautiful flock grazing the grass.

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

    Nutmeggie is my favorite chicken right now. She is best friends with Coletta, whom she was raised with by a broody. She is an EE and always comes up to me to talk. She is my barometer for flock health, as when she is depressed it always means they have worms or mites/lice and need treatment. She is a very happy, sweet hen.

    We once had a Silkie named Ruby. She was incredibly sweet to one of my kids and we will never forget her. And a rooster named Fluffy (Silkie also). He was part of "Team Silkie" with another Silkie rooster and they patrolled the chicken yard together.

    Then there were the three incredible Orpington roosters we had (I bought them from Craigslist) who were in perfect communication with each other and each took a corner of the chicken yard to guard. They were amazing and HUGE. Alas, they were too heavy for some of my pullets.

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

    Once I had a chicken take off running with one of the bolts I was working on a chicken coop with. Fortunately she dropped it while I was chasing her! They are like toddlers! So you can't put anything down and you can't turn your back LOL when you are making a coop.

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

    We don't have any other pets.

    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    I enjoy helping people on BYC so much, and am grateful to be part of the BYC community. Thank you for interviewing me!

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

    3 people like this.
  2. N F C

    N F C booooo!

    Dec 12, 2013
    Nice interview Jeanne! Loved seeing all the pictures. I like the idea of the pots with screen over them for your berries, good idea! Thanks for sharing your place and girls with us.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Great pics and nice interview.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Thank you for sharing your world with us!
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Thanks so much for a great interview! Really enjoyed the pics, as well!
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    Hmmm....I'm going to guess you have LOTS of hawks & eagles in your area! [​IMG] It's great that you give your hens plenty of shelter to get away from potential airborne attacks. Thanks for sharing!
  7. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida

    I do appreciate lots of pictures!
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Thank you- the rabbits jump right into the pots if the screens aren't there!

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you for reading!

    Thank you!

    Thanks for reading! Yes we have Bald Eagles perched on most days right above the pen in the very tall trees (might have nest up there), and hawks/owls in the trees also. I love the raptors too and it is quite thrilling to see them.

    Thanks for the comments!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I just love your idea of the Hawk shelters!! I think I will incorporate something similar in my chicken area. [​IMG]

    Your pictures are just fabulous! I can see your passion in your creations!

    Thank you for sharing yourself here!! [​IMG]
  10. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley

    Thanks to BYC and Jeanne for the interview!

    Wow, you have intense predator pressure! 24 hours? Wow. Shocking. Your pallets are a great way to solve the problem. I use pallets, too, but for shade in the summer and to help the hens feel safe. My chickens hide from planes. Plus I place the waterers on the pallets to get them up out of the weeds, dirt, etc. Gotta love pallets.

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