David & Mitzi BissetteCatawba ConvertiCoops is born of the fine longstanding tradition of being able to make chicken salad from chicken poop.

My dad was a cobbler. No he didn't make shoes. He cobbled together projects from whatever materials he had sitting around. And while he might tell you I wasn't paying attention to his efforts when I was a child, I was.

After a trip to Mother Earth News' EcoVillage in Hendersonville, NC, dad came back and promptly cobbled together a greenhouse attached to the back of our house, making our non-air-conditioned home even more unbearable during the hot North Carolina summers. Unlit candles melted on the mantlepiece in the living room. Thanks dad! (Just picking with ya if you're reading this, pop.)

Dad bought my first chickens in September 1979. I remember that day very well. He brought the Ameraucana chickens home the very day that Hurricane David hit North Carolina. He put some chicken wire around an old swingset and put the birds in it. David swung up through South Carolina and into North Carolina's foothills. We had 6 very wet, very ruffled chickens after the storm passed. Dad then built a sturdier coop for them, but for several weeks the birds tended to congregate at the end of the run closest to the old swingset.

13 years later, I met Mitzi the first day of my freshman year in college. After cramming 4 years of university education into 5, we married in 1996. By 2002 we had relocated to the family house in Wake Forest, NC with our three daughters. It was built by my great-grandfather and passed down through several generations.

I wanted my children to have the same great experience with chickens that I had as a child, so Mitzi and I set about researching the laws on the keeping of livestock inside the town limits. That experience prompted me to write my free eBook, "Keeping the Letter of the Law" or "How Two City Slickers Got Chickens Inside the Town Limits". You can sign up for it on the home page of this site.

In order to get my neighbors to sign off on my idea, I thought it was important to show them that chickens aren't a neighborhood nuisance. So utilizing my deep roots of cobbledom, I built my first chicken coop that met my criteria for both functionality and design. This prototype Catawba ConvertiCoop addressed all the factors that I thought would turn people off from chickens. I then built another one that addressed what I thought were key design flaws. I continue to use this coop as my show coop.

I started Catawba ConvertiCoops when I received many requests for coops and plans by people walking or driving past my house. It was just like in that Golden Feeding Trough commercial, where the little flying chef goes around bonking people with a cast iron frying pan. God can only smack you over the head so many times before an idea starts to sink in. *BONG!*

In addition to wanting to travel in Europe with the kids, we are in the planning stages for an organic farm. Pop has a 30 acre piece of property northwest of Charlotte near Lake Norman that he said we could homestead. We're calling it Jasperhof Farm in honor of my grandfather, the original farmer on the land. We also feel led to create an outreach ministry to churches, showing them how to make better use of their property holdings by growing and canning food for the laity and for people in need; along a similar vein to Food, Not Lawns, but with a focus on loving your neighbor.

 
In the U.S., approximately 46% of the chicken that is eaten by people comes from restaurants or other food outlets.
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