Georgia Stoy says her chickens, such as Bullwinkle, have  an affinity for perching on her shoulder.

Georgia Stoy says her chickens, such as Bullwinkle, have an affinity for perching on her shoulder.

Photo by Mike Koury


Huntington Woods girl who championed backyard chickens gets her hens

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 22, 2019

 From left, Bullwinkle, Rocky and Natasha make their way to a  slice of watermelon in their coop.

From left, Bullwinkle, Rocky and Natasha make their way to a slice of watermelon in their coop.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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HUNTINGTON WOODS — One year ago, a then-12-year-old Huntington Woods girl decided she wanted to get her city to change its code to allow chickens as backyard pets.

After pleading her case to the City Commission at a meeting last October, and following months of research, Georgia Stoy’s wish came true when the commission passed an ordinance amendment at its May 7 meeting.

At the beginning of June, the now-13-year-old Stoy was able to greet her three chickens for the first time: Rocky, Bullwinkle and Natasha.

Stoy said that getting her chickens was even better than she had imagined.

“I didn’t think the chickens would perch on your shoulder like a parrot, but they do,” she said. “I wouldn’t think that I’d have so much fun taking care of them.”

Stoy’s mother, Bridget McKinley, said they got the chickens when they were a day old.

“We had to keep them basically in a dog crate under a heat lamp for the first few weeks of their lives, as they were developing feathers and starting to grow up,” she said.

Once the size of the eggs they hatched from, the chickens have grown up quickly in the last several weeks. While the family was able to identify the chickens a bit easier when they were smaller, they now use tiny bands to identify each hen. Natasha has a red band, Bullwinkle has a blue band and Rocky has a green band.

McKinley said they’ve been handling the chickens since their births to make sure they would be friendly and not too skittish.

“Rocky’s the only one who’s still pretty skittish,” she said. “The rest will just come and jump on you.”

“They come outside (of their coop) and they’re kind of shy,” Stoy added. “So sometimes you’ll have to pick them up, but other times they’ll just get onto your shoulder.”

The family began preparing for the arrival of the chickens around the time it became clear that the commission would make the ordinance change to allow backyard chickens. The first step was building the coop for the chickens and getting it approved by the Huntington Woods code enforcement officer, Hank Berry.

“We started (building the coop) before we ordered (the chickens),” McKinley said. “We’ve been planning out the design of it and checking in with others, doing a lot of research to make sure that it was proper, also going over the codes with Hank because they’re kind of complicated. It’s not easy. It took a long time to build to code.”

Andy Stoy, Georgia’s father, said they invested $350 into the coop itself, as they had some contributions from friends that decreased their costs, such as free shingles from a neighbor for the coop’s roof.

The coop has a rear door that can be used to retrieve eggs when the chickens are able to produce them. Because the chickens are still so young, they won’t be laying eggs for another two months.

Andy Stoy also complimented his daughter’s efforts in taking care of the chickens, saying she’s been very proactive in cleaning the coop, changing their water and providing them with their food.

Georgia Stoy said she studied up on chickens before and after the ordinance passed, but focused on how to care for them more once she knew she was going to get them.

As for something she wasn’t expecting when she first got her chickens?

“They’re cuter than I thought they’d be,” she said.

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