BYC Member Interview - drstratton


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Dec 12, 2013

Come say hello to Rene! She's been a member since March 2020 and comes to us from Eastern Washington state.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself. And is there a story behind your member name?
Hi everyone! My name is Rene' and I’m married to the best man in the world for me, I’m the mom of 3 amazing young adults (boy, girl, boy) and grandma to a perfect little boy! My two youngest are married and their spouses are a wonderful addition to our family…we are truly blessed! 💞

We live on 5 acres out in the country and are complete DIYer’s! My husband can do pretty much anything that we need done and he always drags me right along into the projects! We call him the energizer bunny…I run down much faster than he does… 😂

My member name is made up of my husband and my first name initials and our last name…I’ve used it since the late 90’s. I wish I had been more creative when I joined BYC and changed it up. I’ve thought about asking my friends here to help me come up with something new and related to our forum. I really think I might do that!

My husband fully retired in June of 2020 and we are now starting to finally enjoy it as restrictions are being lifted.

2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?
We started keeping Bantam chickens when our children were quite young, almost 25 years ago now. We thought they would enjoy them and they definitely did! Our youngest son especially loved them; in fact he’s the biggest animal lover in our family. He is the one that helped his dad choose which chickens we would buy. We’ve raised several different flocks over the years and a few geese (dad wasn’t with us in town and I gave in to my youngest and we bought four…lol, I'm sorry I don’t have any pictures of them). Sadly we lost our chicken flocks to packs of neighbors dogs, because we always let them free range. In fact I told my husband I didn’t want any more chickens, because I was so sad every time they would be killed and I didn't want to keep them cooped up in a small pen. We’ve had two pen locations, the current and now permanent space is near our garden and it’s perfect. We did have an enclosed pen where we could lock them in safely at night, but we would let them out during the day to enjoy their lives in our yard.

Our First and Second Flocks!
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When our country went on lockdown last year, we decided that it would be wise to bring chickens back into our lives once more. This time we decided to raise standard sized chickens and create a safer free range area for them on the back corner of our property. So we went to work putting in a new pen and remodeling the chicken coop to better accommodate their larger size. They are now as safe as we can make them, without locking them into an enclosed pen. Sadly, we did lose my favorite little hen Madeleine to a hawk, but after that the roosters have done a great job of keeping the flock safe and getting everyone into the enclosed pen when the hawk decides to visit.

Our current flock in their free range pen!
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A panorama of the flock!
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Our Coop and enclosed pen, before and after modifications!
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We originally had the nesting boxes inside the coop, we decided to add new boxes to the outside to give more room on the inside!
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View from the garden!
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The girls and Little Roo (he's always close by) checking out their new nesting boxes...this was when they were just getting to POL!
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All tucked in for the night!
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3. Which aspects of poultry keeping do you enjoy the most?
My favorite thing is when they see me coming out to their pen and they come flying/running over to see me…ahem…to see what kind of treat I’ve brought for them… 😂

I love how they all follow me when I'm walking around their pen...even the ones that are not as friendly do this! ;) I also enjoy the time when I can just go out and sit in the pen with them and watch them interact with each other. We love the eggs that they give and I love being able to share the bounty with our friends.

Dust baths and to coin a phrase cuddle puddles ( @MaryJanet and @Ribh ) are so fun to watch!

4. Which members of your flock, past and present, stand out for you and why?
I honestly didn’t spend much time with our first flocks…they were more in the hands of my husband and children. We’ve always loved having a mixed flock with many different and beautiful chickens, so keeping that tradition going we started our new mixed flock journey. This go around I took charge of which breeds we would get and tried to choose friendly varieties. For the most part I was successful, but animals are unpredictable and some are friendlier than others. All said and done, I’m very happy with my flock!

This little guy, Little Roo and I spent a lot of time together…he became sick with Coccidiosis, he survived and has grown into a handsome Roo, he takes very good care of the girls!

On my lap, fighting to survive!
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Full grown and beautiful! Pictured here with Spazzy, she is definitely my current favorite. Her name fits...she is such a little!
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Madeleine and Spazzy are my favorite hens. Maddy was a surprise, she was supposed to be a FBCM, but turned out to be a Sapphire Olive Egger, she was very friendly and sweet. I truly miss her!
Baby Maddy!
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Full grown and beautiful
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5. What was the funniest poultry related thing that has happened to you in your years as an owner?
I honestly think that the funniest thing is how my flock come flying to greet me as shown in the above video…it makes me laugh every single time! :love

6. Beside poultry, what other pets do you keep?
We also decided to buy rabbits and pigs last year, just to be prepared in case things really went sideways in our country.

Baby Daphne and Buck, before they were placed into their own space!
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We’ve had a couple of amazing dogs, beautiful cats and even a horse over the years. Since my husband retired we decided that we would not get anymore pets as we are hoping to travel around our beautiful country!

7. Anything you'd like to add?
I’m so glad that I joined BYC! I’ve met some amazing people here and I’m so happy to be able to call you all friends! Thank you for asking me to share my's been a fun and sometimes sad journey, but I wouldn't want to have lived my life without the animals that we've had!

This is a current picture of most of our flock enjoying a treat of cucumbers! Some of the girls were in the nesting boxes, they received their hard earned treat later!
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