Chickens have taken up residence in many Buckhead backyards and their owners have formed a club. Over the past decade, having backyard chickens has become very popular. Chickens provide fresh eggs and endless entertainment. A group named “Fowl Friends” has banded together organically for regular get-togethers to talk chickens over plenty of wine.
“I currently have about 30 to 40 chickens, three quail, two ducks, two goats and two horses (among other things),” Robin Conklin, founder of the social club Fowl Friends, proudly admits. “Over the years, when people find out that I have chickens, they want to introduce me to their friends who have chickens. I have collected an eclectic group of chicken and duck friends over the years and love them,” she says of inspiration to form the group. Originally the group was called “Fowl Ladies” but with strong interest from men, the name was soon changed to be more inclusive.
Founded in 2014, the club, which includes a mix of men, women and children, was created so that fellow chicken enthusiasts could congregate and chat about all things poultry. “Robin called me about creating this group and [we] meant to do it and meant to do it… then she set a date and we both invited a few folks,” says English Norman of Fowl Friend’s inaugural meeting. The gatherings quickly transitioned from quarterly get-togethers to monthly Sunday potlucks during which members convened at alternating homes to tour chicken coops, discuss varying topics, and enjoy dinner and drinks among like-minded friends.
“Sometimes we have speakers and that is so informative,” says Norman of the meetings. “But it is the camaraderie of having a group of friends who share such a unique interest that makes it worthwhile.”
Speakers have included experts on everything from chicken health to predator safety (“Everything is a predator to a chicken,” explains Andrea Shelton, longtime member and owner of 16 hens). Most memorable: a rooster rescue at an abandoned Marietta elementary school in early 2015 and a visit to the Georgia Poultry Diagnostic Lab in Gainesville. Of course, decorating signs (shown below) is the most popular activity for the kids.
“Fowl Friends is a great source of advice, friendship, humor (lots of humor) and empathy when you’re struggling with the occasional sick chicken,” says Shelton of the group members’ bond. Meetings are casual and held among friends, with typically around 20 at each meeting, and membership is by invitation to ensure the close-knit nature of the club remains. “It’s the people that make the group so great,” Shelton adds.
“I’ve found chicken people to be some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. There’s a certain ‘pioneer spirit’ you feel when you own chickens in the city.”
What’s next for Fowl Friends? “We are looking forward to talking about gardening, composting and beekeeping to name a few,” says Conklin of upcoming meetings.
Fowl Friends has aspirations to become a nonprofit and raise money to build coops for the less fortunate via coop tours.
Have we convinced you to consider chickens? This ACJ Article offers great advice for planning & maintaining a coop. If you have chickens, tell us in the comments about your experience!