I was raised in Kentucky and Tennessee. Then I moved to Wyoming to pursue a career as a mining engineer. I met my husband, while working at the coal mine. After our family grew, we left our jobs to pursue a lifestyle more suited for our family. This meant relocated to the cattle ranch operated by my husband’s family. This also allowed me stay home with our children. There, I was introduced to chickens through my mother-in-law and I acquired the fine palate for pasture raised eggs. We eventually had a 12’ by 24’ building built, and I took a third of the space to make a coop of my own. I’m pretty sure my husband would have never agreed to that if he had known it was going to lead to my severe passion for chickens.
My first flock was a variety from the local farm store, and as I have previously mentioned, my main focus was egg production. While researching for the best feed and coop designs, I discovered the world of rare breed poultry. I got the bug quick and before the year was up, I was finding my original flock new homes so I could bring in a flock of rare breeds. It took me about 3 years of bringing chickens in and out, to find the breeds that possessed the physical qualities I preferred and the grit needed to survive the harsh conditions of Wyoming. From there, things only snowballed and now it seems I constantly have an incubator full of eggs for whatever reason.
I would have never thought the decision to raise chickens would change my life. But then again, I doubt many folks do. Chickens are constantly bringing people, conversations and experiences into my life. Positive or negative, I am thankful for them and for the lessons I have learned along the way. And if you’re wondering, yes, the entire building is now my coop.
Monique Mankin <wyardbird [at] gmail.com>