Sunday, March 30, 2014

Field trip to Cluck the Chicken

On Saturday morning, Jay, Matt, Marissa and I drove south of Madison to Paoli, where we visited the specialty shop Cluck the Chicken Store. We were immediately greeted by the owner, Susan Troller.  I felt immediately at home, and Susan's enthusiasm for our project was contagious.

When she learned that the four of us were doing a next door neighbor chicken co-parenting thing, she got particularly jazzed up about our project. "I think one of the best things to build community in a neighborhood is people sharing chickens like you are," she said to us.

The front half of the store is a wonderful collection of all things chicken – if you can think it, she's got it with a chicken printed on it. Plates, napkins, stuffed animals, candles, silly magnets – you get the picture. She also had some wonderful books, Jay and I bought two, and Matt and Marissa bought one. I imagine there will be a lot of sharing across our driveway :-) I'll write more about the books as I read them.
Jay, Marissa and Matt at Cluck the Chicken Store
The back half of the store is where it gets a bit more practical – large and small bags of feed, watering systems, vet supplies, etc. But one of our big reasons to take this field trip, was to see their chicken coops outside next to the store. Susan was very happy to show us around, and was particularly excited because today was the first day the outdoor  displays were open to visit.

Almost immediately after she started showing us around, she was needed in the store, and her husband (whose name I simply cannot remember, I'm sorry about that) stepped outside to show us his latest coop designs. In the 20 minutes we spent talking with him, I learned a great deal about what to do, and what not to do as we design our chicken coop.

 This coop has it all. Easy access to remove eggs and manure, very safe and predator proof, lots of ventilation and even a cubby for electrical connections so they're protected from the weather and curious chickens.

Finally, Paoli itself is a real treat.  In the span of two blocks, there is a lovely antique store and an art gallery in an old grist mill, which in itself is a spectacular sight. There's a teeny cheese shop and the smallest café with a chef with the biggest heart. You really have to check out the Paoli Bread and Brat Haus.

It's true, I'm turning into a "crazy chicken person." To that I can only reply, "Why haven't I known about how fun chickens are before?"

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