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Meet Mel in our chicken keeper spotlight!

At CityChick, we love to shine a spotlight on different chicken keepers that are making a difference in the chicken keeping community. 

I'm so excited to introduce to you our first ever "out of Georgia" chicken keeper. Mel is the brilliant mind behind the "Wilma the wonder hen" social media accounts. She's got over 30 thousand followers on Instagram and almost 15 thousand followers on TikTok. Mel has a colorful cast of characters in her flock including everyone's favorite Lavender Orpington, Wilma. She's a huge advocate for backyard chicken education. Do you love podcasts? Mel hosts a great podcast that centers around backyard chicken keeping. I was lucky to be invited on a recent episode. If you'd like to listen to this episode, click here!

Keep reading to learn a little more about Mel and her passion for chicken keeping!

Mel from Wilma the wonder hen

                                Mel from Wilma the Wonder hen. You need to be following her!

Who is Mel in a tweet?

Mel is a wife, mother to three grown girls, grandmother, and a young at heart personal trainer. I’m passionate about spreading the care and education of keeping backyard chickens through funny videos, printable materials, and our Wilma The Wonder Hen podcast, which is made and dedicated to all thing’s poultry! We want to encourage you and help you build a stronger healthier flock.

Mel from Wilma the wonder hen                                             Mel hanging out with "Pumpkin" in the 'holler.

How long have you been keeping chickens?

My adventures into chicken keeping began around 10 years ago. I started with 4 rescue hens my friend was getting rid of. She was reducing her flock and asked me to help her out. I never wanted chickens. My Aunts gigantic Rhodes Island Red rooster chased me as a kid. It was traumatizing and stuck with me for a long time. I can’t tell you why I agreed to my friend's request.

@wilmathewonderhen When the world is crazy, they’re my happy place. #chickens #chickenkeepers #backyardflocks #bantamschicken #roosters ♬ (Everything I Do) I Do It for You - Brandy


I didn’t have a coop and knew nothing about caring for them besides some basic information I researched online. They took up residence in my She Shed until I built their coop and run. It was hilarious and terrifying at the same time. I would just look at them and ask what they needed from me. We’re still working on that.

 

Mel's chickens                                                    Mel takes the BEST chicken photos!!

Soon after that, I was hooked! I brought home 4 more laying hens, and it spiraled into 75+ chickens. We’ve hatched out more chicks than I can count. I would’ve never imagined we’d be where we are today. We now have 5 coops and a maternity ward. Over the years, we’ve suffered heartache from the death of a beloved chicken and tears of joy as we looked on as a new chick hatched. All our chicks are hatched right here on the Heifer Farm. If I want to add a special breed to our flock, we use a broody mama and hatching eggs. There’s something magical about watching a Mama Hen and her chicks. A good Mama Hen will teach her baby chicks way more than we ever could.

                                  Wilma
                                                 The famous "Wilma!" Isn't she beautiful?

Where did the name Wilma The Wonder Hen come from?

Wilma is my 4-year-old Lavender Orpington. I had always wanted to add Lavenders into my flock and when I found hatching eggs from a local breeder, I jumped on the chance. Not only that, but I purchased a mix of hatching eggs, a variety of breeds. I was on a name kick from the “Flintstones.” We chicken keepers try to have themes. Well, at least I do. We had Pebbles, Barney, Fred, and Wilma! Wilma was runty as a chick and spent a little time inside with me. The name Wilma The Wonder Hen didn’t originate until April 19th, 2017. The day we set up our Instagram account. Wilma was a rare find, and I thought adding “wonder hen” was fitting.

Wilma the wonder hen  and gang
                                                 Wilma and the gang down in the 'holler!
What’s your favorite breed of chicken and why?
My obvious answer should be a Lavender Orpington. Now, don’t get me wrong, Wilma and I are tight. She’s my best girl. We’ve been through a lot together. She is the beautiful face behind all that we do. But Mr. Jangles is my special boy. He’s a 3-year-old Crele Orpington. Mr. Jangles is a gentle giant. He’s the one who helped me overcome my frantic fear of roosters. He comes when I call his name, protects his girls with no human aggression. Mr. Jangles treats his girls like the queens that they are.. 
More from Mels flock                                                   Look at those adorable baby chicks!
What advice would you give to new chicken keepers?
Please don’t do what I did. Research before you even think about bringing those cute little chicks or chickens’ home. Chickens require, at minimum, a safe environment and proper nutrition. Don’t automatically believe what you read on the Internet or what someone else tells you. Being proactive is key. There’s so much misinformation online, and new chicken keepers can be overwhelmed at first. There’s a basic standard of care for keeping chickens and there’s reliable information out there. You just need to know where to locate it. I rely on veterinarian backed websites and books that have been proven to follow the latest scientific research. Also, locate a local veterinarian who’s willing to see chickens even if you think you’ll never use their services.
Mel and Pumkin                                                           Mel and Pumpkin!

Having that contact to ask questions and, if needed, medical care for your chickens. Try reaching out to someone at your local agricultural extension office and look within your community that already has chickens! Please read up on biosecurity for your flock and have a basic plan in place to protect your flock and your neighbor's flock. Spend lots of time with them. This will help you spot any abnormal behavior. Chickens are prey animals and will hide illness for as long as possible. Noticing simple cues that something is off can mean the difference between life and death. Oops, almost forgot, do yourself a favor and learn what basic chicken math is and how to prevent it, if that’s even possible. I think Chicken math should be taught to all new chicken keepers!

A great big thank you to Mel for sharing your chicken keeping experiences with the community! Keep up the amazing work with your beautiful flock!

Be sure to Follow Mel over at Instagram by clicking here or follow her over on TikTok by clicking here. 
Love podcasts? Check out The Wilma the WonderHen podcast by clicking here.


Check out CityChick's chicken keeper of the month for September by clicking here.
Check out CityChick's chicken keeper of the month for August by clicking here
Check out CityChick's chicken keeper of the month for July by clicking here. 
Check out CityChick's chicken keeper of the month for June by clicking here.
Check out CityChick's chicken keeper of the month for May by clicking here. 

Have you ever been called a crazy chicken person? Contact us at email@CityChickAtl.com and you could be our next chicken keeper of the month!