Meet Marykay! Our CityChick chicken keeper of the month!
If you keep chickens in Atlanta, you are part of an amazing community of people that care about the environment and where your food comes from. At CityChick, we want to highlight some of the amazing chicken keepers that make the community such a wonderful place.
And for our inaugural CityChick chicken keeper, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Marykay! She's the proud owner/ operator of the popular Airbnb at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage located in Decatur, Georgia. The Decatur Alpaca Cottage is home to some adorable rescue alpacas (and a llama) but you'll also find one of Atlanta's most beautiful chicken coops located on Marykay's amazing urban farm. If you aren't following along with her on Instagram, you really are missing out!
- Who is Marykay in a tweet?
- Marykay isn't afraid to try pretty much anything ... so in answer to the age old question; the chickens came first and then the egg of the Decatur Alpaca Cottage Airbnb!
(Marykay collecting eggs from her beautiful chicken ccop)
- How long have you been keeping chickens?
- I've had chickens for about 13 years now ~ it started with my then 8 year old son coming to me and informing me "Mama, we need chickens!" In response to my fatigued single-mom response of "Whyyy do we need chickens??" he went on to inform me "They're healthy because a backyard chicken egg has WAY less cholesterol than a grocery store egg!" Mind you, this is an 8 year old talking about cholesterol so he had my attention. He continued "They're green because they can eat our kitchen scraps and, Mama, they're EDUCATIONAL!" At that point, I clearly saw the manipulation at play, but appreciated his ingenuity in putting it together. My response: "Okay, but here's the deal - (1) they need to fit the budget I give you, (2) we're going to take excellent care of them because they'll be pets first and foremost, and (3) they have to lay pretty eggs." At this point, Charlie trots off to the computer and comes back with an 8 year old's version of a business plan! So, we got our first flock of 5 chickens and the rest is egg-story! :-)
(Is there anything more beautiful than fresh eggs?)
- What's your favorite thing about keeping chickens?
- Gosh, there are so many wonderful things about having chickens, so it's really tricky to narrow it down to one favorite thing, but if I had to say just one thing, I would say that they're highly entertaining, particularly when you consider our flock co-mingles with our herd of Alpacas and Llamas! Seeing their personalities emerge and figuring out which chickens are bonded with others is really a lot of fun! One other major upside to keeping chickens is that last Spring as we all went into lockdown and eggs were in short supply at the grocery, the Decatur Alpaca Cottage flock was able to supply our local community with more than 100 dozen eggs!
- How many chickens do you have?
- Would you believe I have no idea? If I had to guess, I'd say it's somewhere in the range of 20-25 chickens. That said, I know every single chicken's name! We have Woody, Rioja (I might have been drinking wine when I named her), Emily Chickenson, Peck-orino, Portia de Rotisserie, the Notorious RB Gi-Gi, Junie B Jones, Peppermint Patty and many more! Of course, there's also our rooster, Irma, named after Hurricane Irma that blew through and knocked out power when he was in the incubator two days before hatch! Of course, we didn't know he was a roo, but he doesn't mind his name one bit and is a terrific protector for our flock!
- What are your favorite product(s) from CityChick that help with your flock?
- Without a doubt, I'd have to say the hemp bedding has transformed our nesting boxes! Our eggs are so much cleaner, any poop dries up nicely so I can use a large cat litter scoop to clean the poop out! A close second is the Bedding Buddy you turned me onto! Not only do I use it to keep our coop and nesting boxes cleaner, but it does a great job with the area of the field the Alpacas have designated as their communal potty spot!
- What advice would you give to any new chicken keeper?
- The advice I would give is more of a semi-cautionary tale - plan to end up with way more chickens than you ever expected to have! Chicken math is a real thing and with so many colorful breeds and egg layers, there's always a new and interesting breed to be added to your flock! I also recommend ongoing education to help keep your flock healthy and happy! Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily is an incredible resource! She actually stayed in our Airbnb guest cottage just before the pandemic and I was totally fan-girling about it!
Oh. Did we mention that there's also rescue alpacas and a handsome llama named Beau at the Decatur Alpaca cottage? Please be sure to follow Marykay on Instagram by clicking here. And if you'd like to know more information about booking a stay at this beautiful air bnb, click here and tell Marykay that CityChick sent you!
Are you a chicken keeper that would like to be featured as one of our CityChick chicken keepers of the month? Contact us at email@CityChickAtl.com. We'd love to hear from you!