BYC Member Interview - Ol Grey Mare


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Mandi, known to BYC members as Ol Grey Mare has been a member of our community since March 2014. Another of our wonderful "all rounders" she quickly got known for her wonderful advice, helpfulness and just being an awesome member of our community.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I'm a wife, mother and - of course - chicken lover. We are currently in Indiana, but home is the great NW (ID for myself, OR for my husband). My husband and I have been married almost 15 years now - and have shared those years with Katy and Jacob. Katy graduated high school and left for college last summer, so it's just me and the boys now at home.

(the loves of my life - just a few years ago, lol)

Mr. Mare and I back before he retired - I do miss having an excuse to play dress up once a year.......

2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

It all started with magic chickens
Growing up we would make frequent trips to my great-grandparent's house - anytime we spent a night there I would get up in the morning and rush down to this old dog house in their back yard to "gather the eggs". There, in that abandoned dog house, would be three perfect eggs just waiting for me to grab them and run back into Oner (my great-grandma)'s kitchen where she would promptly crack them open and make scrambled eggs and toast for my Bunko (great-grandpa) and I to share. It was our special routine - not sure looking back just which one of us it meant the most to. Anyway, here's the thing, my great-grandparents lived in the middle of a city, they didn't have chickens - not a chicken to be seen for miles around - and yet, every morning, there were eggs in the doghouse. Bunko told me that these were "magic chickens" that knew when I was there to visit and they would come by in the middle of the night to leave eggs for me (keep in mind this started when I was 3 years old - and I was a gullible child). It wasn't until years later that the subject of the magic chickens came up (Bunko had passed away at this point) and my mom shared with me that every morning when I was at Bunko and Oner's house my Bunko would get up in the wee hours of the morning, take three eggs out of the refrigerator and carry them down to the doghouse for me to find. So, my Bunko and his magic chickens are to blame.

So - real chickens ---- I guess I was probably six or seven and we moved out to this lovely little farm. I got it into my head that I wanted to have chickens and I had a doting father so it began! I have struggled with serious social anxiety my entire life - and even at this young age it was painful for me to try to be around people (this is still a huge struggle for me) and the chickens were soon my best friends. I spent many an hour in the chicken house or out in the yard holding chicken tea parties, pushing my most cooperative birds around in a baby carriage, etc…. I had really patient chickens, lol.

When I was 16 there were some major life changes for our family and part of that was selling the farm and moving to town, so my chicken keeping days came to an end, at least temporarily. For the next 20 years life was just not chicken friendly - but oh how I wanted them back. Finally, last year, after years of subtle (and not so subtle hints) and lots of convincing (he might call it nagging) I managed to convince my husband that I NEEDED chickens....and so I am back into my happy place, the coop!!

This is one of my favorite pictures from my childhood - it is my dad and I beginning the build on my very first chicken house.

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

My favorite part of the flock we have now is that I am sharing it with my son. To be able to see him experience the joys of chicken keeping in the same way I did at his age has been fabulous.
From a more general perspective, though, I think it is just the joy of being with the birds. My "unwind" time at the end of each day is the time I spend with the flock - whether it's doing coop chores or, even better, just sitting with the birds watching the soap opera of chicken society play out.

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

Spot and Champ were my beloved barred cochins - my introduction to feather footed birds. They were, without doubt, my very tamest birds - guests at many a tea party and, more often than not, found in my arms as I packed them about the yard. I even have one of those "insert your child's name and details here" sort of books that Oner and Bunko had made up for me that features mention of "her trusty pet chicken, Spot" going on an adventure with me.

And then there were the Polish or "those funny looking ones" as I called them when I saw them at a farm where we were picking up some other birds. They were definitely a change from the rest of the more standard barnyard breeds we had kept. This is a very proud (and much younger) me at the county fair with those same funny looking birds.

And, presently, Nugget - oh, sweet Nugget! This is the current favorite of both DS and I - from the day we brought this bunch home and put them in the bathtub (our brooder) she was "that chicken" - the one to greet you when you came in the room, the one to fly out of the brooder and perch on the lid as soon as you opened the hatch and now the one who will fly up to your shoulder or sit at your feet and beg to be picked up as soon as she sees you. DS and I also swear she actually says her name - I'm telling you, her low vocalization sounds like "Nu-gget". This little chicken is truly something else:

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

I had this mean old white hen - just a nasty thing she was - ornery as heck. One spring she disappeared and, honestly, I think we all sort of breathed a sigh of somewhat sad relief - until about three weeks later when she came marching back into the yard, large and in charge, with 15 little chicks tagging along behind her. She decided she was quite done with tolerating her human overlords and took her family off to live in one of the barns until they were old enough to fly - at which point she moved the whole family in to the apple tree at the end of our lane - and, so it was, that we came to have "tree chickens". They would come up to the chicken yard every day to eat and visit with the flock, but that tree was their home.

6. Beside chickens, what other pets do you keep?
We currently have three dogs, four cats, two horses and more fish than you can shake a stick at (why you would shake a stick at fish I don't know

7. Anything you'd like to add?

Don't really know what that would be -

See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:



BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Dec 12, 2013
What a wonderful interview! I loved the photos and the stories (the magic eggs, priceless!). You've been so helpful every time I've seen one of your posts and it's really nice to finally see the person behind the avatar. Thank you for adding so much to BYC and sharing your story.


Feb 26, 2015
Southwest Ohio
I love the "magic egg" story!! We are new to chickens and have been enjoying the peeps (we've had them one month today!) so much. It's very soothing after a busy taxing work day to come home and hang out with them. I can feel my blood pressure going down! (I've always been one who preferred the company of my pets to most people least over the long haul).
Thanks for sharing your lovely stories with us.

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
My Coop
My Coop
Aww, thanks all, I have to say, I was a bit surprised when approached about an interview - I get so much (enjoyment, some wonderful new friendships, a wealth of knowledge, and just a wonderful sense of community) from being a member of BYC and it truly never occurred to me that I was someone that would be considered a person people would want to know more about, and then I got the invite and felt like:

I just want to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful members of BYC for having come together to make this community what it is.....SO glad I found you guys!

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