BYC Member Interview - Chickerdoodle13

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Lauren, known to BYC members as Chickerdoodle13 is another of our old timers. She has been a BYC member since 2007. A big animal lover and veterinary medicine student, she will often be found in BYC's Other Pets & Livestock section.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    I spent my early childhood in a suburban community with hardly any property, but I was always an animal lover, even before my family had pets! Much to my mom's dismay, I was constantly bringing home frogs, turtles, baby birds, snakes, and just about anything I could get my little hands on! I think my love for birds began when my dad let me care for a baby grackle. We raised it until a spot opened up for him at a wildlife rehabber and then we turned him over to the professionals. It was such an amazing experience, and my love for birds just blossomed from that moment on!

    I started with horses and took lessons for a few years before my dad bought our first horse. We had to board her at a friend's house, but before I knew it, we were moving to a house in the country. My family ended up with a couple of goats, a pig, and later a second horse. I was very active in horse 4-H and later became very active in poultry 4-H after catching the poultry bug!

    Even though I had to move away for college, my love for animals didn't wane. As a little kid, I always wanted to be a vet, but during college I changed my mind a few times. Throughout highschool and college, I had been an EMT with a volunteer squad and thought maybe medical school might be an interesting option. I also considered forensics and did some internships in labs, but it just wasn't my thing. During my last semester, I decided I actually did want to go to vet school. So I buckled down and filled out never-ending applications. It was a HUGE and stressful undertaking and I really didn't think I would get in the first round of applications. I was elated when I got a call from Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine telling me I had been accepted! Cornell had been my first choice of school, and also relatively close to home. They are also known for their bird program.

    So now here I am, two years later, and I'm still surviving in vet school. It's a very rigorous program, and has definitely been a long road, but I am so excited to begin my career. Learning about animals every day is like a dream come true! My ultimate career goal is to be a poultry veterinarian.

    I also have a younger brother who just moved to Texas. I will really miss him but I'm looking forward to visiting him in a warmer climate! Upstate New York is just too darn cold for my liking!

    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    The friend who kept our horse on his property had chickens and I used to love playing with them. One day at a BBQ the family friend was having, I think my dad may have had one too many glasses of wine and when I asked him if we could get chickens, he said yes. He didn't remember that he had said yes, but my mom sure did! She made him keep his word! (We still joke about that! It was a day that certainly sealed my fate!) We got to work building a cute little coop together and went and got our first nine chickens. We had all different breeds and all of them had names. I was about 13 at the time and I researched so much. I took out books from the library, I read internet sites, and pretty much everything poultry I could get my hands on! That summer, we found out I could show them at our 4-H fair since I was a 4-Her. My Old English Game Bantam hen won Best of Show that year! I was so proud!

    That winter, our little Japanese bantam rooster ended up with frostbite on his comb and I was a wreck. I went on the computer to see what I could do for him and stumbled across Backyard Chickens. At 13, I was a little nervous to sign up to a message forum, but my dad helped me and the people were so wonderful and helpful. That was 13 years ago and through BYC I have met so many wonderful people. My dad and I used to go to poultry shows, chickenstocks, and swap meets together and we would always have a blast together. Of course, going to these events didn't help my chicken obsession! I later ended up keeping pigeons, doves, ducks, geese, turkeys, and even a pheasant or two over the years.

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

    I'm a photographer, so I love taking photographs of them! The eggs are also a great plus! I really miss them when I am away at school, but my mom usually keeps me well stocked when I visit home. I also used to really enjoy cleaning their coops. It was such a peaceful activity for me. I'm very sad I can't keep chickens now since I live in an apartment, but I'm hoping someday I can have them again. My parents still have some of my birds at home, so I do enjoy them when I visit.

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

    My favorite chicken was a Old English Game Bantam named Paprika. That little chicken had some personality! She was a multiple time best of show bird, and she was so friendly.

    I also had a blind cochin that came from McMurray. Her name was Nestle and she was such a big sweetie. She lasted a really long time and I just had to help her find the food and water sometimes.

    Another favorite was a modern Game Bantam named Coors. I got her in a batch from a hatchery and she was always the friendliest chickens. She used to love following us around as we were feeding the horses and she loved to be held.

    Probably the chicken that will always stand out in my mind was a black jersey giant hen named Shadow. She was one of the original chickens and just died last year. She was 13 years old. She was the matriarch of the flock, and even at her old, slow age, all the other birds always respected her. She was also the mother to many adopted chicks. I would often find them sleeping underneath her at night time.

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

    I think maybe one of the funniest things that I can remember was the time I went down to count all the chickens and Paprika, the little OEGB hen, was missing. I looked all over for her and I was starting to get upset. Finally, I decided to go into the house and ask my mom for help looking for her and as I opened the garage door, I heard soft clucking. I looked down, and she was in the "hospital box". I had had her in there a few days prior because she had a prolapsed cloaca. I still have no idea how she knew to get into the garage or why she made the trip all the way up from the barn (which is not very close to the house) but there she was! I was so relieved, but I didn't know if I should laugh or cry!

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

    My family still has three horses, and old dog, and a cat. We had to put my 15 years old cat down this summer, unfortunately. I have a crested gecko and at the end of the summer, I adopted a dog from a local shelter. She has been an amazing dog and it is so nice to come home to her after a tough day at school. She was originally found as an intact stray that had recently had puppies, but she had to have been a pet at some point. She was house trained and knew what a couch was! I have no idea why someone would have dumped her though. She couldn't have been more perfect for my living situation.

    7. Anything you'd like to add?
    I was so excited that I was asked to give an interview! I have been reading the other interviews and it is always fun to get a more personal glimpse of people I have known for a while online! I look forward to seeing more in the future!

    An old photo from my 4-H days! I am on the right. I was a later a leader of the same club I had been a member of.


    Sorry for the poor quality, but here's a picture of me at my milking shift at the vet school dairy barn with a friend!


    Practicing at an animal darting lab.


    Graduation day! I'm looking forward to the next one!


    My awesome little Modern Game bantam rooster we had for many years.


    Shadow, the original chicken, who died at 13


    Our beautiful eggs!


    My gecko Marcus.


    And last, but not least, the newest addition, Sienna.


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

    N F C just 1 more cup pls Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    What a wonderful interview! Thank you for sharing your story Chickerdoodle13 and good luck in vet school!
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
  4. KentuckyMom

    KentuckyMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2013
    Foster, Kentucky
    I really enjoyed this one. You have so much enthusiasm and energy for what you are doing! Keep that!
  5. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop
    Awesome interview~!!!![​IMG]
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    What a lovely interview! Your pictures are fantastic! Thanks for sharing your story. [​IMG]
  7. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    wonderful interview - thanks for sharing!! I really enjoyed reading. You have a beautiful smile, and boy, Siena's eyes just melt you! Thanks again. [​IMG]
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Thank you so much for sharing with us! Wonderful story. Best of luck with vet school!
  9. MarcoPollo

    MarcoPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2012
    Hot Coffee, MS
    RIP Shadow. Wow, 13 years! Amazing. The story about Paprika had me laughing. How do they know to do these things? LOL

    Hope your vet school years go by quickly so you can get out there and use your talents, cause you obviously chose the best field of work for you! It's so nice to hear that you want to specialize in chickens!
    Thanks for the interview and pictures :)

    ETA: I wanted to add that I enjoy reading your posts cause you add a veterinary science aspect to advice and comments. It is much-valued!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Aww, thank you for all the comments and compliments! I'm flattered!

    I'm sad I don't get to spend as much time on the site as I used to! I'm very much looking forward to the day I can have poultry again(and crossing my fingers I'll be able to find a job in the poultry industry that actually allows me to have birds!).

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