BYC Member Interview - getaclue

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Cheryl, known to BYC members as getaclue, has been a member of our community since June 2013. Another of our wonderful all-rounders, she is known for her friendliness and good advice.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    My grandparents grew, or raised quite a bit of their own food. When it was time to butcher, pick, peel, shuck, shell, can, freeze everyone worked, from youngest to oldest, getting it all put up. We always had plenty of food, and it tasted great. Animals were always a part of my life. I grew up next to a circus winter quarters, and became friends with the owner's kids. Later on, our parents all became friends too, so I also learned a great deal about exotic animals.

    My mother posing for a pic.

    I got remarried about 8 years ago, to a wonderful man. He had a grown son from a previous marriage. My husband’s life was very organized, and most of the excitement in his life was scheduled, like going to the car races, tractor pulls, the movies, etc. I had three grown daughters. I am guilty of introducing him to chaos. One does not raise three daughters without an intimate knowledge of chaos, so I was used to it. Not long after we were married, we became grandparents. I was thrilled with the arrival of each of the grandkids. He has adapted, gotten somewhat used to the chaos, and has become well suited to the role of stepdad, and grandpa.

    2. Why, and when did you start keeping chickens?

    About 5 years ago, my middle daughter, and her fiancé decided to get some Golden Comets. They got a few pullets, and I bought them a cockerel, and two more pullets. They broke up, and when my daughter left him, she took the trio. At the time, we were living in an apartment. Here she comes, to mama, brokenhearted, bag and baggage, with the chickens. All I had to do was figure out what to do with the chickens, and fast. Remember the chaos I mentioned earlier?

    I called a friend that had horses, and a barn. She agreed to let me convert a stall into a chicken coop. Her barn had sustained quite a bit of damage from a previous hurricane, so it was not in the best shape, but it was fine for the chickens. They did fine there for just about 3 years. I got a call from her one morning. Her horses had gotten spooked, kicked down the side of the barn that my chickens were on, and it was leaning. She was afraid it was going to collapse, and didn’t want the chickens hurt.

    By then, we were renting a house in a subdivision. We built a small coop, and run in the backyard, but code enforcement came to let us know we could not keep them there. Dh had not really had much interaction with the chickens until then. He began bonding with them during the short time we had the small coop in the backyard.

    Original Trio

    I called another friend of mine, and his neighbor agreed to rent me some space on his land, to build a coop. Dh, and I built my second coop there. An 8 x 8 coop, with an 8 x 8 run. I knew my original flock would be going out of production soon, so I got a couple more pullets. In the meantime, I began doing research on various breeds of chickens. I was fascinated by Black Australorps. I also learned that there are shows, and standards for chickens. We expanded my coop significantly, and 9 months later, I finally got my first trio of Black Australorps. That’s when I first began learning to incubate eggs, and more about showing chickens.

    Added a couple more pullets

    We increased the size of my coop.

    My Black Australorps



    Everyone in their own section. I caged the one rooster for a couple days, until I got a divider put up, so they couldn't fight.

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

    That they seem to enjoy when I sing to them. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I like to sing. They’re my only audience that never complains. I also love hearing the happy clucks as I do various chores in their coops, or when I give them an occasional treat.

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

    When I bought the two pullets to replenish my coop, one had just started laying, but the other one was about a month younger. They had been raised together, but the older one was allowed out to free range during the day, with the roosters. She was overbred, and had no feathers on her back. I named her Baldy. I kept them together during their quarantine, which lasted a bit longer than the usual month, so Baldy’s feathers could finish growing back in, and they would both attain enough size to be introduced to the current flock. Pecking order was established, and the rooster kept order in the coop, as far as squabbles went, but the two eldest did pick on the youngest one. I had 2 water buckets, and feeders for that reason, and kept a few bales of hay for the youngest to escape, and hide behind. When the eldest two would chase the youngest away from the feed, and water, or chased her too much, Baldy would get between them, and the youngest, allowing her to eat, drink, and get a break from being chased. She did this until the youngest was big enough to hold her own with the older gals. She was very friendly, and always at my feet when I was in the coop.

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

    My husband was watching the newly hatched chicks as they slept in the brooder. They were sprawled out, face down, with their heads propped up on their beaks. My husband informed me that they didn’t look very comfortable to him, and I should try to make some kind of little pillows for them to rest their heads on.



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

    We have 2 older cats. He has one, and I have one, although the cats don’t exactly see it that way. His cat is predominantly white, with a few black, and brown patches on her. She is indifferent to the chickens, but they don’t like her much. My cat is a redhead. She loves the chickens, and has never tried to hurt any of them, even the chicks. They don’t mind her being around them.

    7. Anything you’d like to add?

    We recently bought a home, which we will close on in Oct. I will finally get my coops, and runs on my own land. I will be able to see my chickens, and take care of them as much as my little heart desires. I will also be able to get my breeding program going properly, which has been in a holding pattern.




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  2. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    [​IMG]Nice interview Cheryl, thanks for sharing your story with everyone!
    1 person likes this.
  3. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Crowing

    Good Morning Cheryl, Nice Story, and remember chicken math works even better on your own land.
    1 person likes this.
  4. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Lovely interview Cheryl! Congrats on your own place, post some pics when you get the new coops up and running. And thanks to the friends that helped you keep your chickens along the way!
    1 person likes this.
  5. BullChick

    BullChick Not who you think Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2012
    Coffee shop
    Wow! What an interesting life you have had! So glad to have met you!
    1 person likes this.

  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Cheryl! Happy you agreed to the interview, hoped you would. Loved the pictures! And your husband suggesting little pillows for the chicks cracked me up. Sounds like a good man. Best of luck in your beautiful new home.
  7. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2013
    Congrats on your new home!! that is such a great way to close the interview!!
  8. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg Premium Member Project Manager

    Mar 31, 2011
    Wodland, CA
    My Coop
    Great interview!
    1 person likes this.
  9. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    Hey this looks pretty cool. You come up with this on your own Sumi?
    1 person likes this.

  10. jchny2000

    jchny2000 Goslings are precious! Premium Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    Pendleton, Indiana, USA
    Loved your story very much and the opportunity to "meet" you! The poultry passion really is a lifelong thing for some of us. Even with recent life events I still keep a few of my favorite breeds.
    1 person likes this.

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