Tag Archives: birds

The Art of Raising Chickens


-Emily Fraysse

I’ve had chickens since I was about ten years old. I’d spend my mornings letting them out and collecting the fresh eggs nestled in the straw of the nesting boxes.

It all started when my older sister, Anne, was found constantly sketching ideas of chicken coops and practically begging our father to build one so that she could pretend like she was Amy from the film Fly Away Home. A year later and the beautiful coop was built with a flock of ten stunning Barred Rock, Sex-Link, Buff Orpingtons, and one Indian Runner duck. Over time, the ivy grew up and over the sides of the coop, hiding it in the field.

My parents, sisters, and I had little knowledge of how to take care of chickens when starting out. We learned as we went. The baby chicks, unable to be in the giant coop just yet, spent the first few weeks in a galvanized tub with shavings, wood, water, and a heat lamp. When they began to get their feathers and gain strength, we let them roam in the coop and the outside “pen” area. They spent another week there before we finally let them roam the one-acre property.


The first batch of chickens that we had, we had to manually put them into the coop at night because they would not go on their own. Although this was a bit tricky and a hassle, they eventually they got the hang of it. Now, they go inside independently when the sun begins to set and the predators roam about. Living in the suburbs of San Francisco, there are owls, foxes, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, and other animals that are around.

The only up-keeping that I find necessary with the chickens is to clean the coop every month (take out old straw and replace it with fresh straw), close them in at night, let them out in the morning, and make sure they have food and water. Also make sure that, especially after you’ve introduced a new flock of chicks to the older chickens, none of the chickens get picked on. Chickens can be pretty mean to each other and will single out one or a few chickens that look “different” to them. Once chickens get the taste of blood in their beaks, they go crazy for it in a very cannibalistic way.


I have found that I can no longer eat regular eggs from chickens that have not had the ability to roam free and have been cooped up their entire lives. The ones allowed to roam free have different sized eggs and the yoke is a deeper yellow. I have yet to buy the jumbo white eggs that are found at the local grocery store. I love my chickens and could never, ever imagine growing up without them.

Flying High


– Laura Lundberg

Nestled in the lush forested area of East Spencer Butte Park lies a small refuge for those that have had one of the things that they rely on the most, flight, taken from them.  The Cascades Raptor Center is this refuge, taking in any bird that has been injured and providing a home for them until they can care for themselves once again. It is a non-profit center that was started in 1987 by Louise Shimmel, who believes that all birds deserve a second chance.

Each year, the Cascade Raptor Center takes in about 200 birds. The staff devotes hours of hard work in order to rehabilitate them, eventually releasing about half the birds back into the wild. Currently there around 60 different birds at the center, and about 30 different types of species. “We have both Bald and Golden Eagles, Osprey, Turkey Vultures, eight kinds of hawks, five species of falcons, and eleven types of owls,” said Shimmel, who currently serves as Executive Director of the center.

The Cascade Raptor Center also works to educate the Eugene community about these magnificent birds of prey. Their mission, written on their website, states:

“Through wildlife rehabilitation and public education, Cascades Raptor Center fosters a connection between people and birds of prey. Our goal is to help the human part of the natural community learn to value, understand, and honor the role of wildlife in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.”

The facility works to raise awareness by allowing people from different schools to volunteer at their facility so that they can learn about how birds and how important they are to our ecosystem. Their purpose for public education is that the program is, “Designed to enhance the awareness, respect, appreciation, and care of the earth and all its inhabitants so critical for a balanced and healthy planet.”

Recently, the Cascade Raptor Center celebrated its 20th anniversary. They worked to raise $20,000 dollars in order to help their facility, and to match a $10,000 grant that they were given by longtime supporters of the center. They raised an amazing total of $36,000 dollars in contributions. Louise was pleased with this, stating that those funds raised will be a key tool in continuing operating the center. However, the Cascade Raptor Center does hope to extend their facilities in the near future. “We would like to move our education side – our education birds and all their aviaries – and build a visitor center with classroom, office, and a much larger clinic,” Shimmel explained.

Shimmel hopes to continue doing what she is passionate about, which is taking care of the birds that find compassion at her facility. When asked what she loves most about working at the Cascade Raptor Center, she said, “The birds; working with them is like a meditation.”