BYC Member Interviews - twisted-acres-farm

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by sumi, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Scott, known to BYC members as twisted-acres-farm, has been a member of our community since January 2011. Another of our wonderful all-rounders, he's known for his friendliness, beautiful dogs and those yaks!

    1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

    I am a single 53 year old man, the oldest of 4, with 2 brothers and a sister. Both my parents passed on early and by the age of 32 we were orphans. My youngest brother is 8 years younger. I own and operate a small mom and pop type motel in Dickinson, North Dakota, USA. I also bought a small farmstead (40.3 acres) about 30 miles from Dickinson, using my share of my maternal grandmother's estate to purchase it outright in July of 2010. It was originally part of a larger dairy operation so there were lots of buildings of different ages and in various states of dis and normal repair. There are 2 houses and a trailer house on the property. I am currently in the process of remodeling/gutting one of the houses, while the other house is being lived in by my good friend, and the trailer house is occupied by another friend. AKA the "ranch foremen" and the "hired help," better known as Knothead and Nitwit OR Diz and Aster OR the less brothers hope and help [​IMG]. They do most of the daily caretaking of the chickens and yaks on the farm. I also raise and sell Springer Spaniel dogs from the field bred lines. I love to play cards and most board games, cook, bake, can, butcher, make my own sausage and other meat goodies, garden, hunt, remodel and repurpose items, and make candies at Christmas time. As of last October, I also started raising Yaks. Currently I have 5 cows and a bull. There was a large chicken coop on the farm to start with, so we got rid of the lean that the building had to it. To insure it would remain standing. insulated and put new plywood on the inside (to help stabilize it), and vinyl sided the outside, and added a fenced run about 100 ft. by 150 ft. The fence consists of 4 x 4 pressure treated posts placed every 10 feet to which I attached 5 1/2 high woven horse fence and then put 2 x 6 boards on the top and bottom of the woven wire. I cut the small side of the building in half, converting the back half into a brooder room. The front part contains chicken equipment and a broken deep freezer which holds the layer feed. I love to repurpose things, and broken freezers are perfect for holding feed as they are water and mouse proof. The brooder room version 2 is done with recycled screen doors from the motel. This allows sunlight into the back as well as the ability to open the screens for airflow as the chicks get older. There is also a pop door on the brooder room which leads into a small maternity ward/run which is inside the large run.

    The farm is called Twisted Acres for a number of reasons, the first being the property lines, and some of the others being the fact that none of my animals are "normal," and I have a warped sense of humor. Also to be honest most of my friend's are a little "off" as well. The shaded area, Tract A, shows the farm and the property lines.


    2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

    I have always wanted chickens. We lived on the farm my grandparent's owned until I was six. I remember spending at least a couple weeks during the summer every year at their place in town. I remember one year (I was under 10) walking down to the corner store, purchasing a small notebook, and then going to my grandmother's friends and taking orders for chickens that I was going to raise out at the farm and spend the entire summer with my grandparents. I did research and her friends were very supportive. Alas this never came to be, but I was "infected" with chicken fever. My grandmother and I also used to listen and sing to the song "I Ain't Going to Take it Sitting Down" on their old 78 speed record player.

    My actual keeping of chickens didn't occur until the spring of 2012. At that time, the brooder room was just blocked off with cardboard shipping boxes of large appliances and layers of plastic. I ordered 100 light Brahma chicks from Cackle Hatchery (love them). The chicks showed up and everything went well for about a week until Yuri (my stud springer) and Cork, a pup that Rod (trailer house man) bought from me as a pup, broke into the brooder room and played squeaky toy with all the chicks. We know it was them as they had gotten locked in the brooder room. So another 100 chicks ordered, and by then I had discovered the joy of apple cider vinegar for pasty butt. These chicks grew and were doing great. I moved them over to the main part of the coop, but we partitioned the run to a smaller area until they got bigger and because the back gate wasn't finished yet. I only used chicken wire for the divider, which worked for the chicks who were about 9 weeks old, but Cork and Rod's other dog (no longer allowed on the farm) managed to find their way in and actually tore/ate the chicken wire apart to get to this batch. It looked like a Jonestown massacre when we discovered what they had done. I have 9 surviving chicken from that batch. So for the third time that year I ordered another 100 chicks. I chose Brahmas by using the OLD version of BYC's select a breed (much better version IMHO). I love Brahma's, but they are just not cost effective for me, that being said I will always have some. Actually I am hoping to purchase some chicks from @Sally Sunshine at some point in the future. So since 2014, I have been trying other breeds, searching for my forever breed. I like Australorps, but butchering is a royal pain with the black pin feathers. I do not want a hybrid; my breed must be self replicating. I thought that Silver Laced Wyandottes were the one. Great tasting, easy to clean, but they take forever to lay a decent sized egg. This year I am trying Delaware and have high hopes for them. In 2015 I converted an old milk house into the Little Duex coop (aka the annex) to have yet more chickens/turkeys down the road(??) and actually be able to track egg production, size, and keep them pure. The annex is currently my coop/run where I keep the test breed of chicken I am currently trying.

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

    I honestly like all of it, from the ordering of chicks from the hatchery, to picking them up at the Post Office. Unpacking them and dipping their little beaks in water. Feeding, watering, collecting eggs, even the butchering of extra roo's. But I guess my favorite part is just sitting and watching some of the antics they do/come up with, by just being chickens. I had one Easter Egger chick who had a Mexican standoff with my youngest Springer, Beth (Star of Beth Lu Hym). Each of them was on opposite sides of the fence. The chick won, and man did she think she was hot stuff. In fact, she then turned around and beat up on some of the young roo's that were in the maternity ward with her. LOL

    4. Which members of your flock, past and present, stand out for you and why? & 5. What was the funniest (chicken related) thing(s) that happened to you in your years as chicken owner?

    There was the young Easter Egger mentioned in question #3. I have one Brahma hen (Gertrude) who stole a nest one year outside, and she sat through rain, snow, and sleet. She hatched 9 out of 12 chicks and was a great mother. She will be with me until she passes on. Then we have another Brahma hen named Juliette. Robert, aka Knot-head, kept complaining that one of the hens didn't like him and would attack hem whenever she saw him. I, of course, thought he must have been smoking chicken poo and ignored it, until one day. We were both in the run, talking as we were visiting, and I see this hen start sneaking up around and behind Robert. When she gets about 2-3 feet away from him, she dashes forward and kicks him in the shin and runs away. I started laughing so hard I fell into the mud puddle in the run, but OMG it was so worth it. She will also come running from anywhere in the run when she sees him go into the coop to collect eggs and perch in the door watching him the entire time he is in the coop. Juliette, too, has a home for life. I think she is training a replacement as Robert claims there is now a Golden Comet starting to do the same thing.

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

    I raise/breed English Springer Spaniels, the field line. Field line breeders are more concerned about brains, ability, ease of training, and desire to please as being MUCH more important than the dogs fitting into a set size and look requirement that the Bench dogs are bred for. Currently, Abby Goon Normal lives out on the farm, enjoying her retirement. I kept 2 of her daughters, Miss Allette (who does NOT like boy dogs ..proof 9 year old virgin) and her younger sister, Alluliah (Lu for short). Their father was Hym Null, who is living with a family in AZ now. I also have my new stud, Archduke Yuri Null. The youngest of the group is a pup from Yuri and Lu, born on Dec 21, 2014 who's name is Star of Beth Lu Hym, or Beth for short.

    [​IMG] This is Abby and Hym Null

    [​IMG] Beth taken this winter with Yuri Null hiding in the corner

    puppy pic of Yuri [​IMG]

    Last October I bought a small breeding herd of Yaks, consisting of Porter the bull [​IMG]


    and his harem of 5 cows, two of which are named after fellow BYC members. I have Granny Hatchett, [​IMG]

    and Enola. [​IMG]

    I am hoping all the girls are in the family way. I got into yaks for a number of reasons, but the main one is Yaks are cool. [​IMG] I recently joined IYAK This is a great web site if you are interested in learning more about yaks.

    At some point in the future I would like to find an Percheron that is descended from the ones my grandfather and great grandfather bred back in the 20's and 30's.

    7. Anything you'd like to add?

    I truly love all of my animals and should anyone have any questions feel free to pm me and ask. If I am on BYC you can usually find me on granny's thread "
    grannys gone and done it." They are a GREAT bunch of people and I have made many dear friends there. I was also honored with a Golden Feather award [​IMG] by some secret angel on the anniversary of my mother's death, thus giving me a current happy reason to remember Oct 12. I was also honored by receiving a BYC Friend award last fall as well, and now to be asked to complete the interview all have been truly treasured and humbling moments that I shall never forget. Thank you to the secret angels who think so much of me as to take the time to nominate for such things. May you always find all your eggs and may only great things hatch from them.

    See here for more about the interview feature and a complete list of member interviews:
    3 people like this.
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Fantastic interview, Twist!
  3. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    Very nice!
    Do you have a yurt? you need a yurt for the yaks.
    Young yaks yurt club.
    For the yackety yaks.
    The more subdued yaks might not be interested.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
  4. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    Great interview! The yaks are fascinating. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone!
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Wow.....Twist, I have always felt there was more to you than just your humor here on BYC. [​IMG]

    Fantastic interview! Love the dogs....You have a done wonders with your life! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

    Sep 26, 2013
    madison Indiana
    Twist, You are full of surprises ! I picture this cute little boy with paper in hand taking orders ! Even then you were busting your hump to better yourself . A true success story.
  7. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Fantastic interview Twist! :highfive:

    See, nothing to worry about with doing your interview, you have done a fab job of it :D
  8. ChickenLady2014

    ChickenLady2014 Feathered Frenzy

    Jan 7, 2014
    God's Country
    Twist, APPLAUSE ~ What a great interview. You were so nervous about doing it, you shouldn't have been ~ it's wonderful! :hugs
  9. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing? Premium Member

    May 7, 2012
    Sonoma County, CA
    Cool beans, Twist! [​IMG]
  10. Dannachic

    Dannachic Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 3, 2015
    Great interview Twist. You amaze me Always so busy but have time for your friends that was like reading a good book.

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