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BYC Member Interview - Ewesheep

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Robin, known to BYC members as EweSheep has been with our community from it's earliest days, back in 2012. She is known for her good advice, no nonsense approach and her beautiful flock of Welsummers and Spitzhaubens.


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    1. Robin, tell us about yourself.

    Greetings! I am Robin and I'm 49 years old, and live in Decatur, IL, one of the biggest agricultural and manufacturing companies in Central Illinois. Married to my best friend of ten years and have one daughter, whom both of them love animals as much as I do. I grew up in various cities around Illinois and once in Louisiana due to my father's employment and we settled on the rental farm in Brimfield, Illinois where I got my start with larger animals and my love for horses for years, finally, my parents allowed to get me my very first horse in 1981. Started with Arabians, I went into Paso Finos and Miniature Horses for a long time until we lost the farm due to lightening fire in 1993. I have fondest memories of my horses and chickens and I carried on to this day, lucky to have "city chickens" in our town. Presently I am a stay at home mom and active in several clubs.

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    The Brimfield Farm, right on Claybaugh Road. The only thing left today are the silos, implement shed and the hay barn. It was owned by the Stahl family for years, the house was built around 1898 as we found the writing on the plaster wall in my bedroom when we took off several layers of wall paper. The house and outlying buildings are now gone, torn down in 1994. I love this farmhouse, the old wood charm and good memories of farm life!


    2. When and why did you start keeping chickens?

    When my family and I moved to Brimfield, a neighbor down the road who raised show Dobermans had asked me to take care of her livestock and pets while she went on vacation to her family down in Texas. That was my first experience with learning and caring for her chickens which were Easter Eggers, Buttercups, Phoenix, Barred Rocks, and all the different breeds she would order from McMurray Hatchery. At first, I thought they were nasty and filthy but little did I know that there ARE better ways to deal with the downside of having chickens were the fresh eggs they supplied every morning. She also had Nubian goats and various animals and a horse for her kid's 4H projects. Then several years later, met another friend, after we moved to a second Brimfield farm, her place was so much better and she was into Buff Orpingtons and aiming for the Buff Barred Orpingtons.....she encouraged me to get into poultry and handed me a catalog from McMurray and Welp Hatchery. From then on, I was hooked, getting different Rare and Unusual breeds, filling up my horse stall with chickens. It was beautiful seeing chickens free roaming the pastures with my horses and goats. To come home after school, seeing the chickens and horses grazing were one of the peaceful sight to behold and learning animal behaviors.

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    Sarah with her new Welsummer chicks, foraging in garden

    3. Which aspects of chicken keeping do you enjoy the most?

    Breeding to SOP on my Welsummers and Spitzhaubens.

    Seeing a broody hen raising her chicks without the aid of brood lights, no mess to change out daily. Seeing them roaming around the yard, catching bugs, clucking and sitting out there watching is the most peaceful thing to observe. No medicine can replace that...calms the mind and soothes the soul!

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

    In the past, I had a Silver Duckwing Phoenix roo named Charles (after my uncle) who was the best "gentleman" of a rooster there ever was to date. I got him for my 12 White Leghorn pullets and I enjoyed watching him watch over his girls, clucked "Here are the treats" to his girls and a very doting father to his chicks.


    As for the present time, I love my Welsummers and Appenzeller Spitzhaubens. I do not have any particular favorites but my beloved Summer had passed away a few years back was my "ambassador" for the Welsummer breed and encouraged me to continue to breed more and without a certain BYC member here That encouraged me to start a club, I created a club (Welsummer Club of North America) which has been ongoing since 2007. It was not an easy feat to run a club without any real good experience, AND I am continuing to work and assist getting the Appenzeller Spitzhaubens accepted in the APA. We have a lot of work to do but with people backing us up, promoting the breed, and exhibiting them really put them in the front, letting people know about these breeds.

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    5. What is the funniest chicken related thing happened to you in your years of chicken keeping?

    Mrs Doberman and her chicks....she was feisty, "in your face", madwoman kind of chicken. You mess with her chicks, you are liable to get your butt and heels pinched and flogged. So many times I had to dump water and feed in containers and bailed out of the stall as FAST as I can. The only protection I had was a garbage can lid but she managed to get around that barrier to make a bee line for my calves. I had a couple of bruises from her assaults until her chicks were old enough to be on their own. Like a flip switch, she no longer attacked me. Just wait for the next batch of chicks she manages to hide in the corner of the cow manager, the vicious cycle starts again!


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

    Presently, we have two pet chinchillas, a Siamese cat, several Champagne d'Argents and Argente Bruns pretty much what we have around here.

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    8. Anything you would like to add?

    Chickens are hardy, hardier than we credited them for. No need for heat lamps since I learned that on my first time when we had a heat lamp fire while I was pregnant, trying to save my prized Salmon Faverolles. I was just heartsick about it and I swore from then on, no heat lamps for the adults or for their coop. I love hearing about our grandparents and older folks telling me about their childhood years of living on the farm and enjoying chickens, including the grossiness of going barefooted in the coop, poop squishing between their toes.......and it is a wonder how far we have been removed from the "ickness" of chicken husbandry of today. Got poop on your shoe? Just wipe it on the grass and carry on! I would encourage city folks to try to raise their own chickens for fun and fresh eggs!


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/u/80/ewesheep

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/905602/introducing-vip-member-interviews/0_30
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Robin, old friend, you had Orpingtons years ago. No more Orps? Glad you decided to do the interview! You've been around since the very beginning, before I was here. I loved this part:

    Quote: When did we become so prissy, eh? I don't recall having any trouble with chicken poop on my grandfather's farm, either. Nowadways, if a city kid steps in poop, the parent gets apoplexy. I always say if chicken poop on your shoe is the worst that happens to you, you'll have a beautiful life!

    Also love the aerial view of the farm.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks so much for your wonderful interview! You will probably make us all long for a farm of our own. I also smiled at your thoughts about poop!
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]Robin! I loved your interview. You have been a great friend on BYC, and especially, to those of us breeding Welsummers.
     
  5. KentuckyMom

    KentuckyMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the interview. With chickens, the pros outweigh the cons by far.
     
  6. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Yes, we have been together the since of the earliest days of BYC when Garm was running it. That's a LONG LONG TIME ago! Time flies!

    Yes, I did have Orpingtons, lovely they were but they were eating me and my house with the feed bill! Imagine having 25 Orps in a small pen.....not a good thing! ONe of my earliest Orp hen won the county fair and the judge compliment on her as being the best he has seen all year. She was sold to a family out west on a farm who would breed her but alas, none of her descendents carried on. She lived to be old and met her untimely death of wild predators which the farm was next door to a park where Abraham Lincoln's family reside for a very short time on the homestead.

    My dad told me that him and his brothers and sisters would go out in the hen house, didn't have a care in the world about what they were stepping on, getting clothes dirty, playing in the mud and dirt and Grandma didn't care as long they wash up for supper, minus their feet! Yeah they slept in twin beds, two to a bed in the uninsulated attic. Imagine they fit in a small two bedroom house with eight kids total. They thought nothing of it when it comes to having kids sharing a bed, let alone a bed wetter! Grandma and Grandpa were from a farming family, did so for generations and Dad recalled Grandma's favorite chickens were the RIRs they would get from the hatchery downtown Decatur. And if they want to have fried chicken for a Sunday's dinner, she would sent Dad and his oldest brother to an egg farm outside of town, near Warrensburg, IL, for a "spent" hen. The farmer would select a hen, for a couple of dollars, the brothers will take it home and Grandma would butcher it and pluck it by hand and prepared a HUGE dinner. Grandpa worked at a dairy so milk was brought home, usually two gal a day, and what's left over or going bad, would be given to the backyard chickens. Grandma loves her chickens and when I was very very young, I remember seeing a half hooped rotted coop in their backyard and it was torn down, planted some peonies there. Fortunately, my uncle lives in that house, house been standing over 80 some years now, houses being built around it, fairly large yard that we have reunions held there until a few years ago. ONe day I shall own that house since we want to keep it in the family. I missed my Grandma's cooking!

    Yes, I still have chicken poop under my shoes! It's a wonder none of us got cocci or salmonella poisoning. Even the cat didn't have worms either. :)
     
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Just keep that goal in mind or at least "country-fied" your city lots into a few chickens!

    Chicken poop....what a great thing to have!
     
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Same here! *wink, wink*

    I love my Welsummers and still have them. Hope to have MORE from a breeder in WV that crossed with Moose's son, your pride and joy....... Can't wait to see how they come out!

    It has been a very sad day for me today.......coming to grips how fragile life can be. We lost a dear friend yesterday, untimely it was but the club will manage to continue with the spirit and determination that she would want us to continue. It will get better I am sure! It is bad enough when we lost two of the three board members, I pray the election coming up will sure be better in times to come. I'm not giving up, haven't then, nor now.
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Why did I think that you were older? Looking for company I guess - great interview.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I've made the reverse cross with a hen of hers. The lines seem to mesh really well. My pullets are coming in much, much better now. Still have issues to work on, but I'm happy with the results so far!

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend.
     

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