BYC Member Interview - RavynFallen

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Rav, known to BYC members as RavynFallen, has been a member of our community since November 2014. Another of our wonderful all rounders, she is known for her friendliness and good advice.

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    Born and raised in the PNW, I grew up a simple farm girl in the country. We never had all we wanted, but always had what we needed. We raised a little bit of almost everything from chickens, guineas, Muscovies and rabbits to goats, sheep, cattle and even mice and rats at one point.

    In my late teens I moved to a big city close to the Rocky Mountains and got stuck there for the second half of my life. Went to college for Zoo Keeping, Animal Husbandry & Biology.

    Life circumstances happened and everything fell apart. Lost everything including myself for a while. Ended up meeting one of the best people ever online and drove 2000 miles to return to the country and build a new life in TN. My Other Half, Shade454, saved my life then and for some reason continues to put up with me. After being weighed, measured and found lacking most my life it is difficult for me to accept that others accept me the way I am, even though I have always appreciated everyone else for who they are. I know I'm not easy to live with, I constantly battle with mild Autism, chronic insomnia, and severe ADD. It makes for some interesting moments in our.... SQUIRREL!!!!

    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    A few years ago, my OH (Other Half) and I were standing on our front porch looking out at the huge expanse of yard we have. All we did was mow this big open space, over and over again. Then he makes an off hand comment out of the blue...

    "You know, I wouldn't mind having a few chickens."
    "Really?" I said, completely surprised as this was coming from a born and bred Chicagoan that transplanted into the country.
    "Yeah, really." He said. "I mean, why not? We have plenty of space, we can put a little coop over there and have fresh eggs."
    "That's doable." I said. "I can build a little coop and take care of a few chickens, no problem."

    And that was it. I found a small, free shed, tore it apart and rebuilt it into a coop and bought 5 chickens from a local farmboy. They were Production Reds and 4 out of 5 ended up being roosters. Returned the roosters for pullets and we were happy owners of our own small flock.

    After researching chickens, I found out about all the breeds beyond the average layers and became intrigued. We wanted colored eggs. Found an Easter Egger pullet and a rooster and added them to our flock.
    Then we decided to try our hand at hatching our own to expand our few. Stuck 4 EE pullet eggs in a cheap Hovabator still air and 3 weeks later we had 4 brand new chicks. The addiction continued. After discovering hatching eggs by mail, we started ordering all kinds of breeds. Anything that caught our eye, we tried them out. During this we found someone getting out of breeding true Ameraucanas and bought his last chicks, a Lavender and some Black Splits. As we started building numbers of different pure breeds, we realized we needed more coops and pens to keep them pure if we want to breed more. We quickly started setting up breeding coops and large pens, he cursed me every time he asked if this was big enough and I kept saying bigger, but now he is glad I did. Our coops aren't huge, but they have big runs that almost always has grass (or weeds, lol).

    We raised and bred many, many breeds but as we went we figured out that not all of them are for us. We've now cut back on many that just didn't fit well with us and are continuing with the breeds we enjoy the most.

    Our first breeder coop, now we have 6 more, plus grow out coops/pens and bantam coops/pens.

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

    A lot of people would say hatching is the most enjoyable part, and I do enjoy bringing those adorable, fuzzy pudgels into the world. Those bright eyed, happy, little rambuncious and cuddly babies are simply irresistible.

    Snowy Call duckling

    Lavender Ameraucana chick

    Snuggly turkey poult

    Snowy Call duckling and Royal Purple guinea keet

    But I actually find that the most enjoyable, and most rewarding part, is earning and deserving their complete and total trust. Knowing that they are completely dependent upon us to feed, water, house, tend injuries, end suffering, and to keep them safe to the best of our abilities is an important responsibility. As long as we continue to do our best and they trust that we will, that is what makes it all worth it to me.


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

    The first one of my flock to stand out was actually when I was a kid. We had a huge Rhode Island Red rooster, a great flock leader and protector, but the meanest bird to walk the earth. My mother hated him with a passion and it was mutual. In fact, no adult could get within 10 yards of him or the flock. But I would regularly walk over, pick him up, stick him under my arm and carry him around. He was passive as could be for me, so my job was always to keep him occupied whenever needed. I'll never know why he was like that, but I've never forgotten.

    Spice was a young Call duck that got attacked by a hawk on an unfortunate out of control juvenile flight. I had no hope that she was still alive when I chased the hawk off of her, but surprisingly she was. A talon had pierced her head and she bravely fought for a month to overcome her injury. She went from tube feeding to eating on her own within 2 weeks. But unfortunately she had lost her sight and her hearing. When it never improved and she could not cope with it any longer, we let her go. Her sheer force of will and strength will not be forgotten.

    Spice duck

    Mama Hen is an Ameraucana and the best broody hen I have ever seen. When she sets her mind to hatching, she always succeeds. I can check her eggs and handle her throughout her broody time without losing a digit. She will also adopt any chick I give her without a grumble. She even took new chicks each day for an entire week when we had several batches of eggs rescued from other broodys that had quit. She will move her chicks into the coop early and integration is a breeze. If the chicks miss the ramp, she glares at me until I pick them up and put them inside with her. Her dedication to raising and teaching all her chicks independence by 4 weeks will always astound me.

    Mama Hen and 21 adopted chicks from the incubator

    Io is another that changed our perspective. I always insisted that I did not want any pure white birds of any kind, I just preferred colors and also white seems to end up looking dingy most of the time. She was a single hatch out of shipped eggs a week before last Thanksgiving. Since BYCer @Julie Bird can't keep ducks where she currently lives but loves them so dearly, I included her in the development of that hatch. So naturally the honor of naming her had to go to JB. She named her Io, and she has been an absolute pleasure to have in our lives. She accepted younger ducklings when others wouldn't. When there are separate groups that sit with each other, she sits between them or splits her time with each group. Io is the most serene member of our flock we have ever had, and she is beautiful.

    Serene Io

    The absolute most memorable member of our flock is and always will be, our Lady Grey. She is a grey Call duck that also hatched from shipped eggs as a sole hatchling. Our first singleton duckling we raised. She imprinted on me so deeply that she refused to see other ducks or ducklings as kindred spirits. She was a person and that was that. It took a long time and a lot of patience, but we finally taught her that she could be a person and a duck. She chose a Snowy mate and became the undisputed flock leader of all our Calls. When she went broody her best friend, Crash, joined her. They successfully hatched every single egg they shared between them and were the best co-broodys those ducklings could ever have. Lady Grey will always be remembered for her affection, intelligence, and her huge personality.

    Started out as Baby Grey

    Became Lady Grey when she found her quack

    Can these little fuzzy things be returned?

    Lady Greys first flight

    Lady Grey showing off

    Crash and Lady Grey setting

    Lady Greys turn to watch the kids

    Lady Grey and Crash co-parenting

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

    More funny things have happened since we acquired chickens and ducks than I will ever remember, that's for sure. Neve a shortage of odd happenings or hilarious antics.

    One morning when I went out to feed and water, I couldn't find our Black Copper Marans rooster. He wasn't in the pen or in the coop. I looked all over for him, a body, feathers, just any sign of what happened. No luck.

    I continued to finish feeding and watering the rest of the pens. In the Silkie pen I heard the strangest noise, a very low and abruptly strangled off croak. Looking around, I finally discovered where the Marans rooster was. He had somehow gotten into the Silkie pen and apparently the 3 Silkie roosters that live together peacefully, ganged up on him and beat him up until he took shelter and hid. Sad sight to see a huge rooster hiding from 3 others that together didn't weigh as much as he did!

    BCM rooster hiding in the Silkie coop

    Our Calls first experience with snow was fairly uneventful. They walked around in it like normal, just with more breaks. When their webs got cold they would simply sit down on them and warm them up. After watching this for a while I went inside. While at the kitchen sink I look out the window and I swore Crash was having a siezure or something. I dashed back outside only to find out that she had discovered that she had a built in toboggan for sledding in the snow. Instead of standing up when her feet warmed up to walk down the hill, she flopped around into the best position and smoothly paddled her way down the hill. Belly down and webs stuck out behind her, she was a sight to see.

    Crash toboggan track

    Since we do live on a hill, sometimes it takes a bit for the young ones to get the trick of running around without falling down, flipping over or wiping out in spectacular fashion. 'Duckling Down!' is a frequent call around the yard. I happened to be getting some pics one day when I heard a commotion from a group of juveniles. Walking over with phone still set to camera in hand, I discovered our latest victim of the hill. A young Snowy Call had gotten flipped over and due to the slant was stuck on his back. When I got close, he stopped waving his webs in the air and just gave me this look.

    Don't worry, I turned him right back over

    A few days ago I was watching the young Calls in the yard. Our driveway is a shared one with a neighbor and they enjoy the ducks clearing bugs out of their yard. Half of them were over on their side and half on ours. Then a couple would fly up and land in the opposite group, then a couple would fly up from that group and land back with the other group. I could have sworn they were playing Red Rover as they hollered and encouraged each flight.




    Most animals let you know if you forget something important for them, food, water, etc. Not Lady Grey. She just simply helps herself to whatever she thinks she needs.

    Forgot to clean the nestbox, so we just figured the eggs should go in here

    No oyster shell left in the bowl, watch my back Crash, I'm going in

    What? You aren't using them right now and the floor is too cold for my webs

    We also discovered that a 'rule' doesn't apply in our yard. Usually when introducing ducklings and juveniles you are supposed to be careful and watch out for the drakes causing them injury. Here it's the ducklings you have to watch out for causing the adults injury.

    Peacefully sharing the pool

    Note the grey pied, 2nd duck from the top and the smallest duckling, the grey below her

    Little grey rode the pied out of the pool like a jetski

    And that's why it's called a Kiddie Pool, folks

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

    Although we enjoy having chickens very much, it is readily apparent where my passion lies. Our Calls have quickly become our favorites due to their compact cuteness and extra large personalities. And I swore the only thing I wouldn't do was ducks. Talk about eating crow.

    I was asked to hatch out some Calls for someone and it just went from there.

    Our first hatch, all drakes

    Strengthening the wings

    Begging for treats

    Bubs first day out with his Mamas

    Bubs growing up

    Froglet just hatched

    And please, don't try to make them vegetarians. It starts with a baby mole.




    And they quickly move on to a larger target.



    Turkey vultures are free game, but too quick (it was in front of the riding lawnmower, lol)


    As are local deer


    We also have a single guinea.


    And thanks to WalnutHill, a gorgeous flock of turkeys.




    A dingo/heeler mix dog and 2 cats rounds out our menagerie.

    A pair of Rouen/Mallard mixes plus new babies

    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    BYC has been an amazing resource of information for any who seek it. But more than that, it brings people together from all walks of life and all over the world. I count myself extremely lucky to have met and made so many amazing friends through this forum. Living where I am in the country and moving here rather than growing up here, I don't really have nearby friends. But I could find no better friends than I have here. Thank you, my friends.
    I am a big supporter of paying it forward, so I try to help on threads any time I can since so many have paid it forward to me. Even if I can't help someone, I try to make sure that someone who might can see their plea for help. As another once hinted, there are always plenty of unanswered posts. Please don't forget that each one of us once asked for help on this forum too.

    "I'd rather have the hard truth, than an easy lie."

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    What a great interview, Rav and excellent pics - good on ya!
    drumstick diva and Ravynscroft like this.
  3. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    Nice interview, loved all the stories you shared!
    drumstick diva likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Great interview, a lovely read.

    "I'd rather have the hard truth, than an easy lie."
    Hear, Hear!
    drumstick diva and Ravynscroft like this.
  5. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens

    Very Good Interview, interesting stories!
    Thanks Much!! [​IMG]
    Ravynscroft likes this.
  6. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2016
    Great stories and adorable pictures, your ducks look so healthy, happy, and cute! Thanks for sharing.
  7. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    Wonderful interview-- great stories, and the chickens and ducks are adorable!
  8. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Excellent interview, and awesome pics! I'm proud to call you a true friend. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  9. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2013
    Great Interview! Love all the stories and pictures [​IMG]
  10. LittleLakePhil

    LittleLakePhil Flock Master

    Sep 25, 2015
    Little lake Michigan
    My dear friend....awesome to hear you tell your story. I am both proud and honored to call you friend.
    Winter is coming and along with it will be some late night chats....;)
    Keep it real......Phil
    1 person likes this.

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