Chicken Tenders cluck about the joys of backyard hens
WILTON — Who knew that chickens are easy pets? Bil Mikulewicz and Justin Fusaro, aka Pluck and Cluck, the The Chicken Tenders, sure do.
As their name implies, the pair tend and raise chickens, a hobby they love and heartily support.
As members of Wilton’s Cannon Grange, the self-named Chicken Tenders share bits of wisdom and humor in a video (vlog) on YouTube called “Grange Fair Chicken Tenders.”
The video is the first in a series, and was created in conjunction with the 2020 Cannon Grange Agricultural Fair which was held virtually this year due to the pandemic, on Aug. 30.
The video begins on a light note with an ersatz “chickenized” version of the Elvis Presley classic “Love Me Tender” featuring photos of the Chicken Tenders and their chicks. The song’s lyrics were redone by Dennis O’Neill, a grange member from Ridgefield, who also did the vocals.
“We sure do dig chickens, they’re great and we are super happy Chicken Tenders,” Fusaro says in the video’s opening.
Fusaro raises egg-laying chickens in his backyard in Wilton, while Mikulewicz raises his chickens in Ridgefield.
The pair hopes to inspire others to raise chickens as well.
“So many people think keeping chickens is hard or costly, or takes a tremendous amount of time. We want to get the knowledge out, that it is really easy, simple and fun,” Mikulewicz said.
Fusaro called chickens “wonderful pets.”
“They’re super funny, they actually recognize you and want to be around you, and they each have a different personality, which is kind of cool too,” he said.
Another advantage of chickens is they are low maintenance pets, according to Fusaro.
“Practically speaking, there is no litter box to change. You don’t have to walk a hen, it takes care of that itself. And there’s no bills. There’s no vet bills, no grooming fees,” he said.
“And you have eggs,” Mikulewicz said.
“You get healthier eggs than you would ever get from a factory-farmed chicken. I don’t care what the carton says about love or free range, they are treated horribly,” he said.
He said keeping a flock of three or more chickens may lower the number of chickens that are being treated cruelly at factory farms.
Backyard chicken hobbyists can make more friends with the eggs, according to Mikulewicz. “Some chickens can lay as many as six eggs a week. You can’t use them all, you have to share the wealth, and you become such a good friend to people,” he said.
“And the eggs are cheaper,” Fusaro added. “They’re cheaper than getting the same quality eggs at the store,” he said.
Raising chickens doesn’t take a lot of time each day. Fusaro said he spends less than five minutes a day on his chickens. “You have to check their water and food and gather up the eggs. It doesn’t require a lot of time,” he said.
Mikulewicz concurred and said he spends about three minutes a day checking on his flock and gathering eggs.
There are some upfront costs, though, with raising backyard chicks. They require a chicken coop to sleep in, and a chicken run (enclosed outdoor space). But ultimately it costs only about one dollar a day to raise backyard chickens, the pair estimates.
Fusaro built his own chicken coop, a solid, white wooden house-like structure with paned windows. “It’s a super coop,” Mikulewicz marveled.
He responded by showing Fusaro a picture of a chicken coop from his “cousin Charlie in Texas,” which depicts a comical and creative use of a vintage automobile now occupied by chicken “passengers.”
While the coop wasn’t really his cousin’s, Mikulewicz said it really doesn’t take much to make chickens happy.
“Those are happy birds, because all they need or want is a roof over their heads to keep out the rain, some walls to break the wind, some space to wander around in and safety from critters,” Mikulewicz said.
The costs ultimately aren’t very high to raise backyard chickens, the two agreed. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money, there’s no need, Mikulewicz said. “The birds will be so much better in your home rather than a factory farm.”
To learn more about raising backyard chickens send queries and questions to email@example.com.