BYC Member Interview - Gray Farms


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Scott Gray, known to BYC members as Gray Farms, has been a member of our community since April, 2016. Another of our wonderful all rounders, he is known for his friendliness and good advice.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I live in a small town in NW Missouri, Bethany to be exact if anybody cares to stop in and visit. I've lived here since I was 4. I was born in Eastern Iowa. My folks and my younger sister also live here. Also my 8 year old niece who is very spoiled by her favorite uncle. When she was born I got her a pink Red Rider bb gun. And when she was 8 months old she got two ponies. When I was 12 we moved out of town to a farm about 10 miles north of town. My dream come true. 40 acres, 3 ponds, lots of shade trees, barn and out building! What more could a person want. And all my friends were within 4 wheeler riding distance across the pastures or up the gravel roads. After high school I bought a house south of my folks with a small acreage. I enjoy fishing and hunting "when the weather cooperates". I like to "talk birds" as we call it with friends. I take my niece for ice cream every Wednesday afternoon. I've worked at the local Hardware Store in town for 11 years now. I love my job and I'm proud to be working at a historic cornerstone business. We've been continuous operation for 130 years this year and over 120 years in the same/current building. It's not uncommon for 50% of daily transactions to be under $1 and that's fine with me. Need a 1/4 pound of nails? 4 bolts and 8 nuts? 6 feet of rope? 9 inches of 3/4 pvc pipe? You got it. Coming right up. Thank you very much. Come back soon and have a great day.

2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

When we moved to the farm I wanted to get livestock. With my folks working and my sister having no interest in animals I knew I could only have what I could manage by myself. So I started with a few chickens that the neighbor gave me. They were just barnyard chickens with mostly game breeds in their breeding. So naturally they multiplied quickly. I really didn't keep a lot of birds in the beginning. But after is got my drivers license and a job... I was another story entirely lol. I discovered some local animal sales and then Craigslist. I would see birds that I liked and would buy them. It wasn't uncommon for me to come home from an auction with my Chevy Blazer packed full of cages. My mother would just roll her eyes as I would hurriedly build new coops and pens out of what ever I could find in the days following the sale. Adding to "Shanty Town" as she called it referring to me multitude of coops in the barn lots. In the beginning I would ask my folks if I could have this or that. And they would sometimes say no but not very often. So I learned to stop asking lol. They always told me "If I could afford to buy it and take care of it right then it was ok". Best folks ever!

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

In the beginning I enjoyed "collecting" many different varieties of chickens and poultry in general. I would keep some separate but mostly they all were in the same coop. After I moved to my farm I began to focus on purebreds. I would pick a breed I liked and find some. In the past 10 years or so I've focused on raising only purebreds. Especially rare and heritage breeds. I've spent thousands I would guess acquiring the best I could find. And improving them over the years. Breeding, conserving, and improving heritage breeds has evolved beyond enjoyment and became my passion over the years. Heritage breeds need dedicated breeders or they will be lost. People don't realize that there are hundreds of breeds of endangered livestock that need conserved as well. They just think of Snow Leopards, Elephants, and Rhinos when the word "endangered" comes across the daily crossword puzzle.

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

With so many birds over the years most don't stick with me "mentally". However two birds come to mind instantly. Some years ago there was a pair of African geese, George and Trudy. I've told a condensed version of their story a couple times here. The whole story is as follows. I got them from a friend and fellow "bird nut" several years back. He was diagnosed with cancer and I didn't look good. So he was selling all his birds while he was still able to and ensure they got a good home. He gifted me George and Trudy as they were his favorite birds and knew I would give them a good permanent home. And I did, my friend Tom died less than a year later. When I got them George was 13 and Trudy was 18 and had been a bonded/breeding pair since he was 2 and she was 7. They were the most loving pair of birds you'd ever seen. They doted on each other like you'd expect every little old married couple would. If she was having a slow day he'd slow his pace to match hers. I had them for about 5 years when George died one day making him around 18. Trudy was heartbroken and mourned for him for a long time. She never took another mate nor laid another egg after George died. She herself died a few years later at age 27 I think. They are buried side by side under an old elm tree behind the barn.

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

Funniest chicken related incident... I'll have to give that a think. Nothing jumps to mind right off.

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

As far as other pets I have 2 Belgian horses, 3 mini donkeys, and 3 Scottish Highlanders. Most wouldn't consider them pets, but they are my "kids" and will never be for sale. So that makes them pets in my book.

7. Anything you'd like to add?

Anything to add... Hmm... It doesn't get any better than rural small town life. Swimming in the creek on a hot day. Watching the chickens enjoying a handful of scratch grain thrown in their pen. Sitting in the shade have a full but one-sided conversation with a horse. Watching new lambs take their first wobbly steps. Fish fry and fireworks on Independence Day. The smell of fresh mowed hay. Front doors unlocked and always will be. 5 pm and we fold up the streets. Cussing the heat and the cold in the same month. Praying for rain.....ok that's enough! Sweet tea in the fridge, help yourself.

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