“I didn’t truly get into the idea of hobby or backyard farming until about five years ago,” says Katie from Gregs Chicks, a chicken-focused endeavor based in Poulsbo, Washington. “A neighbor of mine has an amazing 5-acre farm of chickens and occasional pigs. I became absolutely enamored with chickens following a visit to her house.”
When another neighbor of Katie’s added a flock of backyard chicks to their property, she began to have ideas of securing her own brood. When that neighbor relocated, Katie was presented with an opportunity.
“I adopted them and have added to the flock from there!”
Taking time out from tending to her chicks, we spoke to Katie about naming birds after Disney characters and the importance of doing research before bringing chickens home. We also got into the idea of chickens developing interpersonal relationships.
Committing to Chickens
After visiting the aforementioned neighbor, Katie says she started to carry out deep research into raising chickens on a backyard scale.
“There are so many resources out there and it was a little overwhelming,” she recalls, “but the more I learned about them, the more it made sense as a way to incorporate my love of farm animals into my backyard farm plans.”
Using Waste to Help the Chicks
Alongside the chickens, Katie’s hobby farm includes a raised garden and a greenhouse. She says they’re both beneficial when it comes to keeping the chicks healthy and happy.
Developing Interpersonal Relationships
After getting to know the various members of her peep, Katie says that she’s discovered just how much each chicken’s personality varies from both breed to breed and individual chick to chick.
“I also am fascinated by their ability to learn routines and associate sounds with people,” she adds. “I am convinced they know the exact sound my car makes versus my family’s vehicles and they respond accordingly by insistently asking—so yelling or clucking—for snacks as soon as I exit my car and round the path to the yard.”
Katie adds that her chickens have also developed interpersonal relationships.
“Yes, pecking order is a thing” she says. “But it seems that so are friendships or preferred associations, which can also be dynamic based on the introduction of new birds.”
How to Name Your Chickens
“The naming started with the theme of Disney bird characters and unintentionally using ‘boy’-names for hens,” says Katie when asked to detail how she goes about naming her brood. “Once we started, it just kind of continued from there. I am only currently keeping hens and all have names that are traditionally male.
“For instance, Kevin is from the movie Up (yes, I know the bird turns out to be a girl), HeiHei is named for the quirky rooster in Moana, and Steve is named after a character in the Penguins movie.”
Focus on HeiHei & Steve
When it comes to the current stars of her flock, Katie plumps for Steve. “I will say that Steve is currently the internet’s favorite with her fluffy cheeks and loud voice,” she explains, before adding: “Their names do seem to suit them—especially HeiHei whose namesake is a little hair-brained and a lot goofy. She fits that bill.”
Little Bundles of Feathers &Sunshine
“I truly had not fully understood how much I would love these little bundles of feathers and sunshine,” says Katie when she reflects on her poultry adventures so far. “Their little daily activities, quirky personalities and ridiculously hilarious antics are the bright spot of my day.”
Katie adds that she also feels a sense of pride when she sees how her little flock is thriving.
“Successfully caring for them and receiving not just eggs but their companionship has given me a boost of confidence I didn’t realize I needed,” she says. “It’s a gift in and of itself.”
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