Community Chicken Coop

IMG_4438Sometime in May 2015, we purchased 18 baby chicks. No one really knew what we were doing, but we found some plastic bins in the Give and Take Room and made these baby chicks a warm little spot so they could grow. Different adults and kids took care of feeding and watering these chickens every day. Many were held and loved. We waited for them to grow and anticipated moving them to their coop.

As you can read about HERE, community men spent time after work building the coop to prepare for the chicks to have a place to call home.

During the waiting, one baby chick died. Everyone was sad. No one knew why. What do you do to keep these chicks alive except food, water and prayer?

When we moved them to their coop, they were all thriving. Then one day, a chicken died and the next two days two more chickens died. We prayed that God would stop whatever sickness that was spreading among them. He heard our cries and no more chickens died.

14 chickens and no eggs yet. Chicken feed at $16 a bag. Please God, send the eggs. And He did. For a few weeks the chickens have been laying and now, we are collecting an average of 10 eggs a day. How cool is that?

We are now able to give out dozens of eggs to many families in Grace Klein Community. Some have shared with neighbors, co-workers and friends. Pray the eggs keep coming and grow to a dozen eggs per day.

When our chicks grew up, we realized that we had two rowdy roosters. They were loud and they pecked the back ends of all the other chickens. We couldn’t have all our chickens being tormented all day. The stress might stop their egg production and the quality of their lives. We decided we better eat the roosters.

One Sunday afternoon, we made a plan to kill the roosters. Again, we really didn’t know what we were doing. Thankfully, our resident African, Natalie Spronk, had killed and cleaned a few chickens in Zambia, so she brought her expertise.
First we went to catch the roosters.

IMG_3691Several people chased one all over the pen and finally caught it. Then, Vincent Thrasher came in and dive tackled the second one (like he catches roosters every day.) We held them upside down to try to keep them calm and to relax them.

All was well until one of them shook and tried to escape from Scott and it got away. Then, we had a runaway rooster in the backyard of our office with ten people chasing it. Can you hear the laughter?? We finally trapped it under a net. As we prepared to leave the office, one of the roosters decided to “poo” and shake it all over Jenny. Nice.

IMG_3686Then, Evan drove Natalie and Jenny to the Deerwood house as they held live chickens upside down in the back of a pick up truck. Imagine the stares of people as they realized two women were sitting in the back of a truck, holding two live chickens upside down. Many were on their cellphones anyway, so you could see the conversations change as they told whoever they were talking to what they were seeing.

We hung the roosters upside down in a tree while we prepared the fire. The Elliott’s loaned a huge pot, as we needed to boil water, so that we could dip the chicken in the water to help the feathers loosen once the chickens were expired. As we waited for the water to boil, we waited for more friends to arrive.

Rooster deaths turned homeschool lesson. Ashleigh came from Samford University as she’s not going to learn how to kill a chicken in Pharmacy School. The Ferguson and the Varvoutis families came for their zoology lesson. The rest of the folks probably came for the entertainment and fellowship.

IMG_3680Eventually, necks were wrung, heads removed, bodies dunked, and feathers plucked. Then, Andrew led the lesson on all the internal body parts as they were removed from the chicken. The boys kept saying, “this is so fun,” “I love this night,” and “this is awesome,” pretty much on repeat. We finally cleaned all the chicken, cut into pieces to cook for Monday Prayer Night, and Jason covered each piece of chicken with a garlic spread so it could marinade over night.

The next night came, we baked the roosters, and around thirty of us ate them for dinner. The feedback was…. they tasted good. And now they aren’t badgering our other chickens.

Back at the chicken coop, we introduced five more chicks to their permanent home. A friend of Grace Klein Community, Cindy Davis, donated a bunch of furniture and stuff a few months back, and realized some of our chickens had died. So, she offered to replace them with baby chicks and she raised them for a little while for us. These chicks were a generous gift to Grace Klein Community and we were so thankful for Cindy’s contribution. But, in sad news, we lost four of them sometime late Sunday night. A stealth raccoon made it into our chicken coop, ate three of our youngest chickens, killed a fourth one, and was probably coming back for the last one.

IMG_8266Her name is Aveline and she survived the night of the raccoon. Ryan Hopson, our newest Grace Klein Community employee, has a special friendship with Aveline so she was so thankful Aveline survived. She fed the littles out of her hand and became especially fond of Aveline. Ryan has taught her to jump on her shoulder and stay there. No joke.

At prayer night, Ryan shared how God is teaching her through her “friendship” with Aveline the importance of relationships. People are going to need her to love them as much as she loves Aveline, people will suffer great hardships and difficulties, and her path will cross with hundreds of people as she works at Grace Klein Community. She has great purpose to love, to plant seeds for Jesus and to love like Jesus.

We trapped the raccoon and Scooter the Exterminator handled the rest. For now, Aveline and the rest of the chickens remain safe from harm and we have a total of 13 chickens.

We invite you to come join in the fun of the Grace Klein Community chicken farm. Help feed and water the chickens, gather the eggs or contribute some money to help with their chicken feed. Maybe you can even make a few Love Does delivers of fresh chicken eggs. You can also save your compost for us, as some of it we can feed to the chickens, and the rest we will let the worms turn into dirt for the community garden.

A few ways you can help:

  • donate around $16 a week for chicken feed
  • donate clean egg cartons that can be reused
  • volunteer to feed and water the chickens daily
  • volunteer to gather eggs daily
  • save and deliver your compost to our office … such as egg shells, fruit skins and peels, corn cobs, coffee grinds, bean hulls, rinds, old newspaper, magazines, leaves in black garbage bags, etc. (NO oils, meats or bread) *Compost tip: keep in your freezer until ready to transport to prevent fruit flies in your home
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Grace Klein Community, 1678 Montgomery Highway. #104, Birmingham, AL 35216

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