Our CEO has chickens! Sorry, let me start at the beginning...
Small Pet Select got its start in 2012 when one of our three owners, Laurie, adopted a guinea pig, Lizzie. Lizzie refused to eat the hay Laurie bought; she tried every brand. Laurie was anxious about Lizzie having the correct diet, so her son Billy attempted to find a solution. Co-owner Billy and his parents live in the Kittitas Valley, the hay capital of the world. Billy found some lovely local hay that Lizzie immediately started chowing down. Billy, Laurie, and husband Bill knew other pawrents must have the same problem finding fresh, nutritious, and yummy hay. Billy sent samples to prospective customers with an exceptionally pawsitive response. Small Pet Select was born!
You know Small Pet Select's team truly cares about small mammals. Therefore, our CEO, Bill, decided to expand our product line to include chickens. Bill wanted to do some in-house chicken product research. So earlier in 2020, he adopted 11 fuzzy chicks. We were so egg-cited that we wanted to share the news with our valued customers.
Bill said the reasons he adopted the chickens for several reasons: improved health for him and his family, ecological sustainability, and of course, fresh eggs. In his research before choosing the chicks, he found it egg-ceptionally interesting that hoomans seemed to start with 1-2 chickens and then ended up with a flock. People love having chickens so much, they kept doing it for the rest of their life.
The Cluck-a-Doodle Coop
Before getting the chicks, Bill decided to put the coop 50 feet/15 meters from his home. He purchased a walk-in coop online from Texas as he and Billy are quite tall. Before Bill became a hay connoisseur, he worked in construction. Assembling the coop upon arrival, he went a bit extravagant on the coop and made sure it was on a skid base. Therefore, he could move it if needed. Additionally, having a solid foundation on the coop ensured his flock was protected from predators.
📷:: Bill Gordon
Life with a Backyard Flock
Bill thrives on routines and says he loves having a fun reason to get up in the morning. Each day, he immediately goes out to the coop to see what his ladies are doing. He finds it very therapeutic to sit with them as they're exciting to watch. Their personalities are so vibrant and curious. Additionally, the clucking noises they make are calming, and taking care of the chickens benefits his physical health. He says it's tough to leave the coop. We think he needs to move his office there.
Chickens also make Bill's life more efficient. He and Laurie have a garden close to the coop, and the chickens roam freely in the garden. In his research, he discovered the many ways chickens improve your garden. The used pine bedding from the coop is moved to the garden area and becomes a compost bed in the garden. To keep the hens out of the plants, he put tunnel covers between the rows. As the chickens wander the garden, they “rototill,” fertilize, and get rid of weeds. Giving the chickens a “job” relieves their boredom. In our blog about Bullying in the Flock, we discuss why chickens need to be entertained, so they don't pick on each other.
As you know, Bill travels a lot to personally meet with each farmer and look at the hay we sell to our valued customers. Of course, he wants to be sure his chickens are taken care of while he is gone. He has their coop set up with an extensive feed and watering system, so if he is gone up to three days, they have everything they need.
He’s had so much fun researching and understanding chickens as the company sources products for our full chicken line. There are so many methods to raise chickens, including the types of coops. He is still trying to figure out the best system for his yard/situation.
📷:: Bill Gordon
📷:: Bill Gordon
As you can see, the Cluck-a-Doodle Coop residents consist of three breeds. He says the biggest hen is the bravest by far. He hasn’t named them yet, as many look alike. We’re going to need your help naming Bill’s hens; look for a naming contest very soon in your email! He says he might have to put name tags on them after the contest until he can remember all 11 names.
Their favorite Small Pet Select products are grub bugs and grit. They also love Lisa's Fresh Eggs Daily Pro-Biotics. He says they gobble every bit when he mixes those 3 items, and he's happy they're getting a nutritious diet.
Bill said if he had to do it again, he would get fewer chickens initially. He's found that people collect different varieties, and you can see the different personalities with different species. Additionally, as we have a warehouse in the UK, he researched chickens over there too. He was shocked to find out it’s illegal to feed scraps to your chickens in the UK. Chickens are omnivores. The reason it’s illegal is they can catch foot and mouth disease from eating meat. Finally, while his hens haven’t started laying eggs, as they’re not quite old enough (any day now), he said his research stated that if you don't remove the eggs from the nest, the chickens will eat them.
Look for more blogs on our CEO's chickens as he finally gets fresh eggs for breakfast, and their setup evolves. If you have anything you'd like to hear about in particular. Please email them to email@example.com or post them on our socials. Thank you 😊.