Selina Richards has been an animal whisperer for as long as she can remember. Whether it’s horses or any another farm animal she loves animals. Her most recent endeavor is becoming a chicken whisperer.
Name a chicken and she most likely has it on her farm. Orpington, Brahma, Polish, Marans, Cochin, Silkie-Cochin, Ameraucana, Blue Laced Red Whyandotte, and Silver Laced Wyandottes are all free-range chickens on her Valley Head farm. Her chickens are all free-range.
Anyone striking up a conversation with this farm girl will get an ear-full of what chickens are all about. She is fascinated with the array of colors both the chickens and the eggs come in. “I have Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, and True Blue Eggers,” said Richards. “Easter Eggers can lay blue, green, olive, and even pink eggs. I find all of it very interesting. I like having chickens of different breeds and colors as well.”
Richards has had as many as 700 chickens incubated at one time on her farm. She only keeps a few roosters among her large flock of chickens. She names many of her brood. “I call one rooster Cluck Norris,” said Richards. “I named another one Rambo because he is protective over the chicks. He will actually help scratch up worms and feed the chicks.” Her son names some of the chickens after video-game characters.
Richards said chickens each have distinct personality traits and some of them are named accordingly. She said certain breeds are more personable than other breeds. Some breeds will bring their babies over to meet her and other breeds are more talkative. “Some of my chickens wander over to the porch and hangout and just talk to me,” said Richards. “I love watching them.”
Any chicken farmer knows raising chickens is a lot of work, especially when they are young. “The first part of their life it is especially crucial to give them vaccines, antibiotics, and probiotics,” said Richards. “Chickens can dehydrate easily, so just like humans it is important to keep their electrolytes levels stable. There is a lot to know about raising healthy chickens.”
While everyone knows chickens cluck, Richards said they are not only “cluck-ish,” they are also “click-ish.” Richards said, “They definitely have their own little clicks they hang out with, much the same way humans have a group of friends. And I’ve learned it’s not the rooster who picks the hen, but the hens who pick the rooster they like.”
In addition to chickens, the Richards currently have a horse, mule, and donkey on their 20-acre farm. They plan on adding other farm animals in the years to come such as goats and cattle. Anyone wanting to ask questions about chickens can reach Selina at 256-202-0690.
Selina’s Motto: “Fluffy feather butts and chicken clucks drive me nuts.”
— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday and weekend editions.