Eula Richardson of Walnut Grove, Missouri and her husband Jerry built a chicken coop, complete with a swing, and they have added to their flock and coop. Submitted Photo.
Submitted Photo

Hometown: Walnut Grove, Mo. 

Family: Father, Cleo Jasper; mother, Sharron Jasper; significant other, Jerry Leadford; children, Tyler Brown, Lauren Brown and Gavin Stidham; two grandchildren; bonus children, Addie, Lucas, Emily, Makayla, Breanna, Jason; and six bonus grandchildren and another on the way

In Town: Eula began her career in nursing in 1996. She is currently the director of nursing at the Manor at Elfindale in Springfield, Mo. 

“Probably 20-plus years has been in long-term care,” Eula, who is working towards a bachelor’s in nursing, said. “I like taking care of the geriatric population. What I enjoy most is hearing their stories and how life was for them, things we don’t even realize. To hear them talk about it is amazing.” 

In the Country: Growing up, Eula enjoyed going to her grandpa’s and playing with the young chicks and ducklings. After she purchased her home and property in Walnut Grove three years ago, she wanted to fill her empty nest. 

Jerry contented there were too many predators for chickens, but one day he texted Eula a video of a trampoline used as a makeshift chicken coop.

“Pretty soon, I see my little dog running around the trampoline in the video,” Eula said. “I go to the back door, and he had gotten me six hens.”

The couple built a chicken coop, complete with a swing, and Eula has added to her flock and the coop. She has take suggestions from fellow backyard chicken owners to make the coop a happy place, including a miror and a Christmas lights around the holidays. She now has 16 chickens, including Silkies, Barred Rocks and Cinnamon Queens.

“I like the variety,” she said. “Jerry keeps saying the more chickens I get, the bigger the feed bill. I can afford the feed bill right now, and they give us eggs. I would like to add a couple of Bantams because they are so cute and tiny, like the Silkies.”

Eula said she and Jerry do not eat many eggs, so she gives her excess eggs away.

“As long as I can afford to feed my chickens, I’m going to share,” she said. 

Being a new poultry producer, Eula has been researching ways to better care for her birds. In addition to regular chicken feed, she bakes eggshells, grinds them up, and feeds the powered shells back to her hens for extra calcium, and she has begun spouting lentils. 

“Lentils are a good source of protein, and it takes three to four days for a cup of dried lentil beans to produce 8 cups of spouts,” Eula explained, adding that the sprout starts to develop in less than 24 hours. “You don’t want the sprouts to get over 2 inches because it loses the nutritional value. It will be like a treat for them, so I’m expected to give it to them.”

Eula keeps a rooster and has attempted to incubate eggs but was unsuccessful. She plans to allow a couple of hens to sit and raise chicks. 

“Most people think chickens are just chickens, but they are very smart,” Eula said. “They are fabulous, and I love them. They all have their own personalities; they are like my kids.”


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