When there are obstacles standing before passions, the Carhartt woman does what it takes to break them down. Laura Mikulski moved to Ferndale, MI in 2006. As an organic gardener, the draw of keeping chickens seemed very alluring. They eat bugs and provide fertilizers. You can also rest assured that the flock is well cared for and their eggs are healthy to eat.
Laura’s planning and preparation led to the realization that there were municipal ordinances against keeping backyard chickens. (i.e. residents were not authorized to keep fowl within a distance of 150 ft from any building) That was outrageous to Laura. In hopes that it would be an educational experience for the city, she looked for a way to amend these restrictions. Laura researched the plat maps and contacted the city’s assessor to find out how many properties would be eligible to keep fowl under the current ordinance. The results were shocking; there were so few properties eligible, that the regulation may as well have outlawed anyone from keeping chickens in city limits.
Laura reached out to Ferndale’s city council members and city workers to start the conversation. Several officials responded favorably, and the ball started rolling. Her fight for backyard chickens gained even more momentum when her work began winning over the locals. Ultimately, her appeals weren’t granted until 2012 when the ordinance was amended. She was the first to submit paperwork and have her coop inspected.
It was a long road to her ultimate goal, but now she and her hens can live happily ever after. If you’re in the Ferndale or metro Detroit area, keep up with Laura here.
For any of you that are looking into raising chickens of your own, Laura advises research and more research. Read as much as you can. Glean knowledge from online articles and blogs. Here’s a good starter kit of first aid care for your own little flock:
- Wazine: a wormer, for emergency purposes. Some people recommend worming twice per year, but chickens often develop a natural resistance to these pests- use this only if necessary after a fecal test.
- Tetracycline Hydrochloride: an general antibiotic for use primarily when you notice respiratory issues or ‘headcold-like’ symptoms
- Sav-a-chick Electrolytes: crucial for when weather gets very hot, or when dealing with an ill bird
- Flexible wrap: get the kind that sticks to itself, for use in holding bandages in place if a bird gets injured
- Gauze pads: for injuries
- Wound wash: be sure to get one without pain relievers, as those are toxic to birds
- Activated charcoal: for symptoms of poisoning
- Providone Iodine ointment: a substitute for things like neosporin, for injuries–great antibacterial ointment
- Blu-Kote: germicidal fungicidal wound dressing. Crucial for a chicken kit- when chickens see red or blood associated with an injury, they will peck at it, and can turn cannibalistic if they’re not stopped. BluKote turns the wound area dark blue-purple, which immediately stops the other hens from picking at an injury.
- Rubbing alcohol: sterlizing
- Hydrogen peroxide: wound cleaning/debriding
- Styptic powder with no pain relievers: for staunching blood flow, but be sure it does not have pain relievers in there, as most that are used with dogs do
- NuStock: ointment used for burns and skin disorders
- Medical scissors: for cutting dressings and feathers around a wound site
- Epsom salts: for soaking when the hen is egg bound or needs a site cleaned
- Superglue: for repairing a broken beak (it does happen)
- Tweezers: for pulling splinters
- Nutrient drench: for sick hens to revitalize and regain energy
- Probiotics: for use after antibiotics
- Gloves: for when things get messy
- Book: The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow, contains tons of information on disease, illness, and malnutrition including symptoms and treatment
The proper workwear is also essential when tending to your flock. Take a look at Laura’s look: Carhartt Women’s Kenmare Henley, Women’s Huron Shirt, Relaxed-Fit Denim Jasper Jean, El Paso Utility Jacket, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove.