BYC Member Interview - pipdzipdnreadytogo


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Kristin, known to BYC members as pipdzipdnreadytogo, has been a member of our community since June 2011. She is known for her beautiful flock of birds.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself. (Family, hobbies, whatever personal stuff you feel like sharing)

My name in that strange place called ‘offline’ is Kristin. Online I mostly go by the shortened version of my BYC username, Pipd, because just ‘Pip’ is too common and often taken. I am very, very shy and quiet, so I often spend most of my time online just reading, never commenting much. If you do see me around the forum, it’s usually just in the ‘Currently Viewing’ box of a thread. I’m a serial lurker of many threads on BYC, especially on the Pictures and Stories board, and the General Breed Discussion board. It’s thanks to the people of the General Breed board and their beautiful chickens that I have a chicken ‘want-list’ that’s about a mile long!

A lot of people think I’m a lot younger than I actually am (even in person, if you’d believe it!) but I’m actually in my 20’s and in college. My major is Ecology, probably with a German minor tacked on because the credits are pretty much there already, but my focus is on studying the natural world and the many fascinating species living in it. I’m an animal lover and particularly passionate about birds, which is probably why my chickens have so easily stolen away my heart. My girls and I live on my parents’ property where I grew up. We’re in the middle of nowhere, Northeast Indiana, near a little tiny unincorporated town that no one has ever heard of, on a combination of 22 acres of recovering farmland and 12 acres of beautiful woods. Seriously, though, when it starts warming up in the spring and the woods comes back to life, there just aren’t enough words for how lovely it is here!

Here's a couple pictures of the east pasture 'recovering farmland'. This was a cultivated field for crops when I was very young. It hasn’t been farmed in more than 15 years.

The row of pine trees along the back here was planted by my dad and his parents, decades ago when this was their farm and dad was just a kid.

And our woods. The house is nestled into the trees, and during the summer it feels like we’re in the middle of a jungle.

This is one of my favourite sets of pictures I've taken, all from the same exact spot on our back deck every few days one spring:

2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

When I was much younger, I always wanted chickens. I have no idea when or where I got the idea to get chickens, but as far back as I can remember, I just always wanted them. My parents said no, I believe because they thought that, living in a woods, those chickens would be picked off in no time by predators and I’d be heartbroken. On my dad’s childhood farm, the chickens were food and they just ran loose all the time, no coop or pen to protect them. I guess it never occurred to him or my mom that we could build pens to keep them safe from harm. So chickens were a strict no.

Then, in the spring of 2005, my sister went with friends to their grandparent’s farm in Arkansas and, surprise! She came home with chicks! To cut a long story short, after she got bored with them, I took over, and the rest is history.

The chickens are pets, and I’m crazy about them, so the main reason why I continue keeping them is for their companionship and the enjoyment I get from watching their antics. And another reason is that the eggs they provide allow me to avoid supporting the commercial egg farming industry and their many unsavoury practices. They have inspired me to work toward self-sustainability, or at least less reliance on prepackaged and processed foods from the store. It’s a work in progress, but thus far we’ve gone to buying grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken from local farms, and growing more and more of our own veggies in the garden every summer for cooking (or just eating raw for that matter!). Oh, and we haven’t had to buy eggs from factory farms in years!

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

Hands down it’s got to be the chickens themselves. Out of all the pets I’ve owned, I have never loved any as much as I have loved my chickens. They are such adorable, unique, funny little critters and I can’t imagine spending a moment of my life without at least a few!

To be a bit more specific, I find that having chickens has been very therapeutic for me. There is nothing that helps you unwind after a long, stressful day like watching your chickens do their thing. They are comforting, to the extent that I have had bad days where even the hens that normally shy away from me have come to me and hopped into my lap or poked at my pant legs as if to try and cheer me up. During the most stressful times I have gone through, especially involving classes, I have only ever needed to spend time with my girls and everything seems a whole lot less complicated. I mentioned earlier that I was shy, and part of that is that I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to being around other people. I can’t say enough about how wonderful these birds are for my health.

I suppose I should also mention my absolute fascination with studying colour genetics in chickens as well. There’s just something so interesting about figuring out how different colors’ genes interact with one another. I have more than a few breeding projects in mind for a time in the future when I am able to keep separate breeding flocks, possibly another reason why that ‘want-list’ of mine is so long…

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

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I would have to start with my beloved splash Marans, Frou-Frou. Frou-Frou was the hen that truly tipped the scales on my love for chickens. She was my best friend, always waiting for our next adventure when I got home from school and honk-honking away until I came to get her from the chicken yard. She loved to be carried around and had her nightly visit to the house every single night, where my family would gladly pet her and talk to her and give her treats. She took walks with me, had rides in our little dump cart wagon, and attended bonfires out in the yard, where she would sit in the wagon or in a chair and wait for her inevitable share of the food we cooked over the fire. She was as much a member of the family as any other pet we owned, perhaps even more so. I will always miss that bird.

Who’s that weirdo laying in pine shavings with a chicken? Oops, that’s me.

Another one worth mentioning is my sweet Dorking, Elda. Elly is my main therapist. She’s a professional at it. She knows when I need cuddles. I don’t know how, but she does. If I’m even just a little glum, she will come to me and wait at my feet until I finally notice her and let her into my lap. She is the bird that got me through the grief of losing my beloved Frou-Frou. She’s truly a pro. Even if I’m not down or in need of a dose of chicken therapy, Elly is so calm and docile that I can scoop her up and hug on her any time and she’s perfectly content with it. She is the epitome of why the Dorking is my favourite breed.

“S’cuze me, ma’am, you look like you need a cuddle.”

I think I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about my ol’ grumpy Barred Rock, Freema, too. Freema is a lap sitter as well, but much more greedy about it. She believes all human laps belong to her for her use only. She is queen ruler of all the laps and if you don’t get permission to have someone else in your lap, Freema’s going to give you an ear full for it! All she wants to do is sit in someone’s lap all day long, every single day, and hug on them. And I do mean she hugs on them—she stretches her neck up over your shoulder and kind of spreads her wings out over you like she’s trying to hug. Of course, she has a reputation to keep as a grumpy-grump, so that’s our little secret.

“You told them about the hugs, didn’t you?”

I also have to give a shout out to my main flock man, Reuben! I used to hate roosters, thinking they were all awful and mean and impossible to work with, but then I gave them another shot a few years ago and have even fallen in love with a few of them since. Reub had been my only rooster from last summer up until his two sons hatched this past March, but he’s been nothing short of amazing the whole time. He’s just a little guy, a Silkie, but in spite of his size he has done so much to protect my flock (which is currently 33 hens, Reub, and his 2 sons, but has fluctuated between 30 and 40 individuals since his arrival). I’ll never forget seeing him charging into action when a hawk swooped in after the girls this past winter, not backing down or running for his own safety until he saw me come out of the coop with rake in hand to take over. I love my big fuzzball!

In January, not long before the above story, we lost a hen to a hawk while I was away at class and poor Reub was so upset. He stood out like this for days just watching the skies, alone in the frigid cold, while the hens stayed in the coop safe and sound:

And there’s Rangi, and Roha, and Mabel, and Pogonip, and Georgette, and Margaret, and Rosie, and Skua, and Wynne, and Kate, and everyone else, and if I don’t stop myself now, I’ll have a novel about what I love about each of my chickens!

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

There are so many things I could put here, as I think those little comedians try to top themselves every day, but I think the one thing I remember most clearly is when I first got my sweet little Silkie hen, Margaret, and she was in quarantine as a young pullet. My method of quarantining new birds does not go without a ‘sacrifice bird’ being introduced in case the new birds are carriers of something. Well, this time around, I picked this awful little Easter-egger bantam cockerel I had had at the time because I couldn’t think of any better bird to sacrifice to the cause. I’m talking, this bird was absolutely wicked toward everyone else, especially his broodmates, and so flighty and mean with me that he was hardly manageable. He was NOT a good rooster.

Anyway, I had him in a pen beside Margaret’s quarantine pen for a week or so, and since they were calm and not having issues with one another (which was entirely unlike that EE cockerel) I thought I would try and introduce them without the fence. Knowing that EE boy, I was standing by ready to pull him off of Margie if he got mean like he always did. Well, the fence was up and he got the shoulder thing going on (you know, where they put their shoulder up and kind of grumble at their opponent like they’re trying to threaten them?), and I just knew something was going to go down—when out of nowhere sweet little Margie turned into a raging ball of fluff and she went after him! I actually had to pull her off of that cockerel because he was cowering and trying to get away! I was stunned!

I thought for a while that Margaret must have been a cockerel, too, to go after that EE boy so ferociously, but once she started laying, I just had to come to the conclusion that she is a lady and doesn’t like young men getting fresh with her.
Further proof that with chickens, you just never know what’s going to happen.

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

Well, as I mentioned before I am an animal lover. Through most of my childhood, I had just about every kind of animal under the sun. Dogs, cats, mice, snails, ferrets, Degus (look them up, they’re adorable), and that’s just to name a few. After owning all of these creatures, I soon found my passion for birds particularly, so I ended up with a conure and some budgies. I started focusing on poultry species in particular for my pets after most of the rest of them had grown old and passed on. So now, my family has dogs and cats, but the only animals living here that are my pets are my many chickens, the ten goofy Guinea fowl, and my pair of butterscotch call ducks.

Oh, and this little call duck named Crash, who is pretty sure that she’s actually a person.

7. Anything you'd like to add?

Just my usual Dorking promoting, because every pet chicken owner owes it to him- or herself to have a Dorking in their life.

Come to the Dork side, we have cuddles.

I also want to say that BYC is an amazing community and I have learned so much with it available as a resource. I have nothing but the utmost admiration for the work and knowledge people have put into making this site what it is.

And, as a final note, for those of you that actually read through all of this nonsense without completely losing it out of boredom, I salute you.

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


Mar 10, 2016
Kristin, great interview and such pretty chickens ... loved your stories. Yes, spring sure does come alive in a beautiful way where you are. Best of luck with your career ... think you will be great at it.

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