Chickens roost in luxurious abode
Bob Woolever admits he and his wife Jan spoil the mini flock of chickens in the backyard of their Orcutt home.
“We feed them spaghetti, popcorn, biscuits, watermelon, pomegranates, corn on the cob. We also give them oyster shells and eggshells which we throw in the oven and then break into tiny pieces. Most chickens live to about 7 years, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they lived to be twice that age,” said Mr. Woolever.
To say that Dixie, Butter Rum, Penny and Henrietta are spoiled is putting it mildly.
Their luxurious coop, which is 12 feet tall, has a fancy chandelier, a spiral staircase and a wallpapered interior, along with a Dutch door and two windows.
Shingles cover the seven angles on the pitched roof, and the slanted walls are 6 feet wide on the bottom and 8 feet wide on the top.
“It’s called a Kentucky Coop,” said Mr. Woolever.
On the roof is a copper weathervane in the shape of a rooster.
“The coop cost about $15,000 and took a year to build,” Mr. Woolever told the News-Press during working hours at his business, Bob Woolever’s Tire Shoppe on South Fairview Avenue in Goleta.
“I’m the third generation owner. My grandpa, Robert Harrison Archibald Woolever, started it in 1960, and then my father, who has the same name, ran it,” said Mr. Woolever, who was born at St. Francis Hospital in 1963 and graduated from San Marcos High School in 1981.
He and his wife, who will be married 29 years Oct. 24, were novices at raising chickens when the idea of building a coop came to Mr. Woolever at the start of the pandemic.
“We weren’t able to travel, and we had just lost our two labs, Bonnie, 11, and Sonny, 15. I was interested in chickens and thought it would be a fun little hobby. I drew up a design on paper for our friend, Richard Gushwa of Buellton, to build,” Mr. Woolever said. “It turned out to be an amazing coop.
It’s made of reclaimed redwood and pine. We bought the chandelier at a thrift store, and it lights at night. The wallpaper has a chicken theme, and the spiral staircase, which is outside, came from a friend who has a coop.”
There are signs that say “Fresh Eggs” and “Chicken Crossing.”
“We bought them at an antique store in Orcutt. My sister Kim Woolever made the one that says ‘Woolever Coop.’ It is also predator proof because there is a Cooper’s hawk lurking in a pine tree behind the house.”
When the coop was finished, the couple bought what they thought were four hens and named them Henrietta, a Rhode Island Red; Dixie, a Plymouth Rock, and Butter Rum and Penny, two Easter Eggers.
“But after a week, we discovered Henrietta was a rooster, and we decided not to change his name. Henrietta rules the roost. He mates 15 times a day,” said Mr. Woolever.
“He also crows at 4 a.m., and our neighbor’s house is about 6 feet away.
So Henrietta sleeps in a dog carrier in our garage. My wife lets him out about 8 a.m., and he walks through the house and then runs to the coop to be with his girls. It’s the funniest thing to watch the way he runs,” said Mr. Woolever, who received a special gift from his wife at Christmas.
“It’s a harness with a leash so I can walk Henrietta.”
When the chickens aren’t enjoying the comforts of their fancy abode, they are free to stroll around the backyard “destroying all our plants,” he said.