Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast

Backyard Chickens and Community Outreach with Reec Swiney of Black Yard Chickenz

June 26, 2023 Melissa Season 3 Episode 48
Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast
Backyard Chickens and Community Outreach with Reec Swiney of Black Yard Chickenz
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What if we told you that raising backyard chickens could change lives and bring communities together? Join us as we have a heartfelt discussion with Reec Sweeney from Blackyard Chickenz, whose incredible journey from city life to urban farming has not only transformed his own life, but also made a positive impact on countless others.

Reec’s love for animals started with his grandparents, who instilled in him the importance of caring for creatures big and small. Reec’s passion doesn't end there - he's also dedicated to giving back to his community through his nonprofit organization, Positive America Youth.

In this inspiring conversation, we discuss the challenges and joys of raising backyard chickens and how simple acts of kindness can make a difference in our own communities, one chicken at a time. Tune in and be inspired to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others.
We did have some minor technical issues. But it didn’t matter to us. We had a great conversation. We hope y’all agree too!
Much love,
Mel & The Holler Gang
https://www.payusa.org/

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“Where education fuels compassion.”

Speaker 1:

Hey y'all. I'm Mel and you are listening to Wilma the Wonder Hen. Are you a chicken, math leaven mama or daddy? Together we'll dive into the latest poultry keeping adventures with a generous mix of some hilarious stories, bringing you fascinating interviews with poultry owners from all over. You'll find tips and basic advice from your local veterinarian, along with new chicken keeping gadgets and reviews. I'm gonna see what Mr Jengles and Wilma has to say about that. We're going to encourage and help you build a stronger, healthier flock. Who's gonna see what Mr Jengles and Wilma is up to? Let's go let these heifers out Back y'all. We are so excited I mean like really excited We have Reese Sweeney. Is it Sweeney? I don't want to say your name.

Speaker 2:

It is You got it perfect, So you got it perfect Okay and Reese is from Blackyard Chickens and he is quite popular.

Speaker 1:

but I'm gonna let him explain who he is a little bit. Just how Just give you give our listeners a little idea who he is. So if you could just let our listeners know, reese, a little bit more about you.

Speaker 2:

Hey, what's up? First of all, thank you for letting me come on your podcast. I'm a big fan and I'm ready to talk a little bit with you. Yeah, yeah, absolutely Definitely a fan of you and Wilma. Well, let me get to it So.

Speaker 2:

I do radio by trade. I'm on 107.5 in Atlanta. It's magic, It's the same radio station as Steve Harvey Morning Show. That's what I do. My other job is with the nonprofit organization called Positive America Youth. We do a lot of things like food, pantry, feed people and all that types of stuff Really fun work, Really really heartwarming work and, you know, appreciative work. But on the other side I have this small little homestead and it's turned into a project to get kids interested in the backyard lifestyle. And chickens and rabbits and goats oh my.

Speaker 1:

That was a lot. That was a lot at once. I was hoping that you would bring up your organization because I know, like I said, this reason is so humble though I mean he's just he's so humble But I know a lot of people know you from like TikTok and Instagram, but maybe they didn't know a lot of the organizations that you're part of that you give back to your own community And the reason why you started chicken keeping. You know a lot of people started in COVID because you know they wanted to. You know, add chickens. They were afraid of, you know, not being able to sustain their family with food and things like that, and that may be part of it, but you said that you're doing it to help the youth and to provide for other families.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

That is. you're definitely a very humble man, But thank you. We would like to hear maybe some reasons of why, other than you know. I know that you said that you wanted this is going to be to help your community, but did you always? were you on a farm when you were little? I mean, did you grow up in Atlanta, the city, or were you in the out, in the country? I mean, i know has some?

Speaker 2:

country parts to it. They do. Yeah, georgia definitely does, atlanta not so much. But I didn't. I wasn't ready for it, i didn't. I wasn't raised just here, so I was born in New Jersey. It's hardly no country parts there.

Speaker 1:

No, no, there's not.

Speaker 2:

Right, i was born in Montclair, new Jersey. I moved around quite a bit when I was young. Me and my mom moved around a lot, so I but I did. I did have a great opportunity to live with my grandparents. I live with my granddad and my grandma. It was like the best thing ever And they were living, living in a small town called Garry'sburg, north Carolina. That's one of my. My mom is from her eight, seven siblings right And I lived with my grandparents for a little while And it was. It was amazing.

Speaker 2:

My granddad owed some land. He owned some land. His next door neighbor had like some chickens and pigs And I just kind of fell in love with with animals. Then He let me get dogs. I caught snakes. I caught a jar full of bees one time when I was little. It was the scariest thing for my mother because she hates bugs, so like I was trapping the bees in between the screen door In the window right, my granddad say he ran out of honey, so I was. I put flowers in between the windows and the bees will come in there And I cut a little hole out and the only way they can get out was I put the jar up to the hole And they would come in the holes. I just catch one, catch one. At the end of the day I had like 20 bees and My granddad was like genius I.

Speaker 2:

Didn't know what I was doing. I had to be like six or seven years old and when, at the end of the day, i stole my granddad, he was like I was wondering what you over there doing? He's like you cut all the bees. I said yeah. He said well, how you do it. I showed him. He said he calls me bubble. He said bubble, i can't even get mad at you for tearing my window up. I said pops, i was trying to give you some some honey, so that's. I mean, i grew up like that. That was part of it.

Speaker 1:

So when did you get into radio? Was that something you always wanted to be is on the radio.

Speaker 2:

I think my dad saw before me. I played basketball in high school and through college And I thought you know, everybody that plays in tries to play that high level thinks they're going pro right. And then I started realizing everybody was much taller than me. So I was like let me figure this out.

Speaker 2:

So I thought I was gonna do like, uh, yeah, exactly. So I was gonna be like, maybe, coach, i still love the game, i still love the game, but, um, it was. It was I was coming, getting interested in different things. The long story short, my. When I say my dad saw before me, he used to say I think you're gonna be a broadcaster. He said, because every time you talk, people listen, so you got to pay attention to that right. So, um, that's kind of where the bug got planted. But it was a long story how I got into radio. But I ended up, uh, doing professional radio.

Speaker 2:

In 2013, i got my first uh opportunity to be at a large FM station. It was at a hip hop station And I was doing overnight and I was doing very well. Well enough for them to say, hey, let me try you out on the weekends and the daytime, and that did really well. Then the opportunity opened up and I got my first um, first contract gig in 2016 on hot 107 9 in Atlanta And that where it went. So so amazing for me up until the pandemic. It went really really good. I was number one in the market. They're really well got on some tv shows and stuff like that, sorry, we would tell me kick the thing. But uh it it went really well and I ended up doing radio, so that's how I got into it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, i did kind of. I was uh doing my FBI thing, you know, because women are really like being FBI agents, but I did see Yeah, we ain't playing either, okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I did see. Yeah, yeah, we can.

Speaker 1:

Don't even try to hide it, because we can find it. So it.

Speaker 2:

Just hiding.

Speaker 1:

It makes it more fun for us to figure it out, but I didn't see you. I didn't see you're on, uh, some all kinds of different uh tv shows and talk shows and things like that. Um, do you think that Growing up the way you did with your uh grandparents and that do you do you think that helped you now with your chickens and with your goats? Do you think you were more ready to get them? And also, do you live in the city or are you in the county?

Speaker 2:

I did. I lived in the City. I just moved to the county. Like I moved to the county in february, the city was tired of my shenanigans. They got sick of me.

Speaker 1:

I said you know what?

Speaker 2:

I've been put out of better places than this.

Speaker 1:

Because you know the city has a limit on how many chickens. It definitely limits anything that you want to do really. Yes, no goats, no goats. But it also limits how many chickens you can have. You know, it's like five or seven or something like that It's a really small, unrealistic number that I mean thank you, it is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i was in the city. They had too many rules, i couldn't do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, i don't know how anybody could live in the city, although I know some people who own chickens that live in the city, but we won't say How many chickens.

Speaker 2:

How many right. They only have five, if anybody. We don't know.

Speaker 1:

How many do you currently have? how many chickens do you have? how many did you start with and how many do you have now?

Speaker 2:

How many y'all is it? They get 17 right now in there. I may have I may or may not have just ordered 20. Chicken math is real chicken math is math and so, um, it is real. Uh, i started out with two. I started out with two chickens, two golden common.

Speaker 1:

And where did you get those?

Speaker 2:

It was from this farm not too far from here. He was in the county not too far from where I was living at the time And the chickens were in terrible condition. They were in bad shape. I didn't know anything about chickens at the time So I know you asked earlier. Did growing up with my grandparents kind of prepare me for this?

Speaker 2:

When I stayed with them. It didn't. It didn't. I didn't know any of the things to do, right, I was very young, but I did grow a love for them. So the love makes you want to find things out and makes you, you know, keep the interest and want to make things better, right And figure it out. So it did, it did help with that. But the actual what did you do and how to do it? No, not at all. Not at all. I got my granddad. If you want to do something, you'll figure it out. That's what I learned.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. And now, since that you have added more, i assume that you're trying to educate yourself more, like reading more, maybe reading books.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm trying to Where are you getting your information from Book, youtube, university, google, the College of Google Institute. Everybody I follow you. He's a soccer chicken, urban chicken farmer. The blogs on Purina Purina's website ask really good blogs.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, they do. They have a lot of good stuff.

Speaker 2:

So basically from those places. Well, the only reason I ask is the reason why I ask.

Speaker 1:

I'm not judging like where you get your information from. I just know our listeners. A lot of times they get confused on where to go.

Speaker 2:

You hear your mother's cousins.

Speaker 1:

Brother, tell you, you know, to put XYZ in their feed and it will fix everything they've ever had in their entire life. So I like that you are suggesting going to real places, You know, like Purina's website, you know there are different YouTube universities for like chickens, and there's lots of different books like Gail Damaro and things like that. There are actually out there that you can educate yourself. Like you said, if you want to, you will find a way to make it better for them. So yeah, that's a great answer.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate that, i really do.

Speaker 2:

Also, i also don't. I also will call the vet very fast, like I'll call the vet and ask him. I'll call some local farmers, ask them a question. If some will make the time of day, some won't. But it's like you know, it doesn't hurt to ask a question, especially because these animals basically have their lives in our hands, right? So I don't put my pride. I put my pride to the side when it comes to that And it's like I don't mind asking people a question. I do get books and I like to cross-reference And I just got that, i think, from an journalism background. It's like, okay, if I get this piece of information, I have to cross-check it, because if I don't, then I'm responsible for putting out bad information. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, especially with your account, so always.

Speaker 2:

I would say anybody. Yeah, definitely, That is a very that's a very good touch, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because you're, someone else is watching you And anytime I put out information. Yeah, Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And I always say that. I say I'm not an expert, I'm true, And if it's something I don't know, I say I'm trying this out.

Speaker 1:

Right And.

Speaker 2:

I'll let you know how it goes. So I always do that too. It's like don't do this, i'm doing this, we don't do this. Let me try this out and show how it goes. Like I've got right now. I got this water system right now And I said I was trying out to see how it goes. I've made like three mistakes with this thing already, but I think I got it under control now.

Speaker 1:

So what kind of chicken do you have? Oh, and I know you have goats, so can you tell our listeners what kind of goats you got too?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i got a goat And the reason I want to do this out here is actually take you guys around as we talk. So I have goats. I have four Nigerian pig be goats. Let me see if I can get them to make an appearance. The little ones are a little skittish. They weren't raised by people So I'm like every day trying to feed them by hand a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

There we go. Hey, maybe There they go. Oh, let me try the other way. Let me bring some treats and try the other way. But I have four Nigerian pig, be goats, All right. no camera time for them. They want no parts of it. No camera time for you.

Speaker 1:

You do when I come in here, she's probably like where's my food?

Speaker 2:

Right there, they go There, they are right there. Oh, they are so cute, they are, i got three smaller ones And I got Maisie like about three or four weeks ago.

Speaker 1:

So now you have to learn all about goats too.

Speaker 2:

She's probably the most people friendly. Yeah, I got a book that I'm reading right now. I'm following a couple cool people Come here, Maisie, you gonna let me pet you today I don't have any food. Hey, big girl, she's pretty. She is very cool, she's pretty cool to my rubs And I got what's up And I got three more little ones that just keep running around.

Speaker 1:

But we wanted to know if you had some tips for people. I know you have chickens and you also have goats, so maybe give some of our listeners some good, tangible tips that they can use. They can easily implement into their flock to create a healthier, better flock.

Speaker 2:

OK, so one of the hugest tips I've learned is my chicken feeder And I'll send you a picture of it. But my chicken feeder, it helps so much because it doesn't waste a lot of food. And then 10 chicken like 10 trash cans. 10 trash cans are the greatest because they can store the food in them and rats can't eat through. Rats eat through anything plastic. I learned that the hard way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we have some of those 10 trash cans too. They work very well Yeah. So, can you give us a few benefits of why people should own chickens?

Speaker 2:

Yeah one. it gets you outside, going outside and just being out in the sun and having fun with those chickens. whether you're camera-forming, it just brightens up your day. I hate to sound cheesy, but it really does. And if you're having a bad day and you watch a little fat chicken run across your yard, you immediately are having a good day. That is like the benefit nobody knows. And then being able to give your neighbors eggs and stuff like that, because chances are, if you have chickens and other animals, you have a dog and your dog is loud because he's probably watching everything in the yard.

Speaker 2:

So bribe your neighbors with eggs, like give them eggs, and now they don't care that your dog is keeping them up at night, because he sees things moving.

Speaker 1:

Do you have just hands, or do you have any roosters yet? Do you plan on getting?

Speaker 2:

a rooster. I do plan on getting a rooster.

Speaker 1:

I have What the heck? Alright, now you're just playing a game with it.

Speaker 2:

Okay, right, right. I'm sorry. I had a rooster in my neighborhood My old house and he almost got me put out of the HOA, so I had to. I had to re reassign and re-home my rooster, but I'm looking forward to getting a new rooster soon. I have. I have all hands right now, all day. I got a house full of ladies right now. So, I have some, some, some really, really, really cool birds. I love them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they are pretty amazing. We do have one more question at the end if there's anything else that you'd like to share, anything else you'd like our listeners to know, this you know you are feel free to tell us anything you'd like to, but if you don't have anything and I know you've been Very busy today and I appreciate, appreciate you being here But we just have one more simple question at the end, and also if there is Anything that our listeners could do to help benefit your organizations like if you have links or if you have, you know They donate online any of those things. We can get information at the. You can send me Through an email links and stuff and I'd be glad to put that in our show notes And then that would allow our followers, if they chose to, to help with donating to your organizations.

Speaker 2:

Oh.

Speaker 1:

We appreciate you so much for what you do for your community, and I think everyone could do something on a smaller scale. I understand you do a lot, a lot, a lot that makes a bigger impact, but what are a few things that people could do in their own communities that can make an impact?

Speaker 2:

If you can't do it all, do a little, and you can do a little by supporting Organizations that do it. So, like us, we do feed a lot of people every month with our, with our food pantry and some of the things we do. But the help can come from, you know, local sponsorships and people just saying, hey, i can't, i can only give five dollars for that. Five dollars to us because of our partnerships like Walmart and food banking, stuff like that, that can go a long way with the family and eat. You know what I mean. So, like you may not feel like twenty dollars is anything, but that twenty dollars could Possibly go towards feeding a family for like three or four days, you know, through the resources that we have.

Speaker 2:

So, find a good organization now, all of the big names are good. One honestly. Find a good organization is doing the work and try to support them and And shop locals. You got some local farmers having eggs or chickens or goat milk or cheese or or Lotion. Shop with them and support them so they can continue to thrive and take care of their, their, their farm and, as well, let's take care of their community as well, because chances are they're they're given a neighbor that doesn't have food. You know eggs or milk or something like that. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, i agree That's. That's very, very true. So our last and final question is if you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be and why?

Speaker 2:

Be nice today. That's what it would. It would say be nice today. You never know Who needs to see that. Somebody could be going going through a crazy experience. Somebody could be going through Just they may run into somebody that that's not having a great day and being nice to that person or being cordial that person Is being courteous that person can change the whole trajectory over that person is going through. You know, you never know what's gonna set somebody off and push them over the edge. But I just know it's really hard to be angry to a kind person and I do that in my comments. Somebody says something weird and I'm like I have a blessed day. They don't really like to argue with you after that.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean, that that is so true and we'll might get some of the weirdest comments and I'm gonna It started. Instead of just ignoring them, i'll just, you know, smile, give them a big smile, or something.

Speaker 2:

I don't come back to That's it.

Speaker 1:

I can't take much.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you give a little smiley face emoji and they'll keep doing comments and just tell them Hey, thank you for the algorithm. I appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Thank you for the engagement. Okay, well, we thank you so much and we appreciate you and we will see you around on. We'll see you around till next. Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and and next time, hopefully, i'll have more than just a Blue buff like you and this wine dot. in these Rhode Island red mixes I got like these crazy chicken mixes I don't know what they are, they lay pretty eggs. Hopefully I'll have more variety next time we speak.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, and be careful though, because Chicken mouth is a is a virus, and once you get it, you're infected.

Speaker 2:

It's oh, it's too late for me. It's too late for me. I have full-blown CM, have full-blown, see him. I started with two, two comments. Who's so to a golden comment. I have 17 chickens, four goats, five rabbits, two dogs I'm getting.

Speaker 1:

Hey, poor Racy, the animals just took him out again. Well, we appreciate you, reese. Thank you so much. I'm Mel and you are listening to Wilma the Wonderhand.

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Urban Farming
Roosters, Community Support, and Being Nice
Chicken Farming and Appreciation