I grew up in Toronto, but as a kid spent lots of time outdoors: canoeing, hiking and summers at our Mennonite friends’ farms. I went to the Royal Winter Fair and always kept a variety of animals. Even though I was city born I was a country kid at heart and it was inevitable I’d be keeping chickens some day.
My partner & I moved to Gabriola Island, a small gulf island off the coast of Vancouver Island in 2000. We moved to an acreage in 2004 and I got my first chickens the following summer. I started with purebred heritage breeds, a few different kinds to add variety to my small flock of nine hens. Some people are content to have only one breed and to work on breeding them to meet their Standard of Perfection. Not me. I want to look out in my yard and see no two birds that look alike and when I look at my egg basket I want to see an array of colours.
My real interest is genetics and creating something new by crossing birds. I specialize in top hats – crested birds derived from Appenzeller Spitzhaubens, Polish, Cream Legbars, Silkies – and combining them with other interesting features like muffs, beards, frizzles, naked necks & the coveted blue egg gene – to create funky looking birds that lay a range of coloured eggs.
I currently have @25 hens, 1 rooster and a couple dozen chicks. I’ll be keeping some and re-homing others. I am a hobbyist, not someone who farms my birds for food. My birds are kept in large treed pens that are fully netted from aerial predators. They live long, happy lives and are free to do their thing. I don’t use artificial lights in winter to force them to lay more and I have many broody hens that I allow to hatch and raise chicks.
Each month, I write a newsletter that is included in my egg cartons called ‘Bitchin’ Chickens’ with information about the science of eggs. It’s a fun way of connecting with my customers and for them to connect with the food they eat.
I sell eating eggs ($5/dozen) and hatching eggs ($20/dozen) throughout the year. I also sell chicks and adult birds.
And finally, why have a blog? I think it combines lots of the things I love: writing, taking pictures, teaching (I’m a Health Promotion Educator by day), connecting with folks around common interests, and of course, chickens. I hope you get something out of visiting here, and feel free to leave something as well (post a like or a comment, send me some feedback).
Thanks for joining me!