Farm Fresh and Fabulous Photography
For more than a decade, Deborah Vivona has raised chickens at her home in Deer Creek. Although she had never raised livestock before, she was motivated by the fear of the ticks at her five-acre farm. After some research, chickens seemed like the solution for preventing tick-borne diseases, so Deborah bought a dozen chicks and simply followed the store’s recommendations. Safe to say, it worked.
“Within six months, I had a nice little egg business going,” Deborah said. “I get enough eggs to sell to my neighbors and friends, and I keep my family well supplied. If I have a surplus, I sell them at the Conscious Co-op in Edmond.”
Deborah named her company Land Run Chickens, in honor of her pioneer ancestors who settled in Enid during the Oklahoma Land Run. Consequently, Deborah was delighted when she learned that her great-great-grandmother from Sweden had hens and was called Grandma Chicken. “I like to think she’s smiling down on me from heaven,” Deborah said.
Although Deborah’s eggs provide her with a steady food source, the chickens are more of a hobby than a business. “My chickens are pets with names. My ten grandchildren come over to help me gather the eggs, so it’s become a family hobby.”
Because Deborah’s chickens are allowed to roam naturally, eating grass and bugs and drinking at her pond, they are considered free-range chickens. “I never use chemicals on my yard, so they are healthier than mass-produced chickens, and they have a deep-yellow yolk.” She now raises various breeds, which produce colored eggs ranging from blue to brown to white. Deborah finds it interesting that hens lay eggs six days a week and rest on the seventh day. “But that doesn’t necessarily fall on Sunday,” Deborah said with a laugh.
The biggest challenge in raising chickens is keeping predators away. Deborah has lost chickens to raccoons, possums, hawks, owls, and neighborhood dogs that got loose. Her husband, Ross, who is a builder, has upgraded the hen house and fencing over the years to the point that it is very secure. Every night Deborah does a head count, and she even has them trained to go inside the coop if a storm is coming. “I use a ‘chick-chick-chick’ call and they come running and follow me inside. It’s like I’m their shepherd.”
Deborah’s talents extend far beyond the coop, with gardening, construction, and a serious eye for photography to her credit. An acclaimed Getty Image Photographer, her work can be seen in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Europe, Budget Travel, and the cover of an Edmond phone book. Most notably, she has sold photographs to Target. “Target’s holiday ad on TV was my most exciting accomplishment, and the craziest, as it was my Pinterest pictures of Elf on the Shelf!” she laughs.
Amid her chickening, gardening, and photography, Deborah says, “I like to think I inherited my ancestors’ interests and strengths. I love supporting our local farmers and tradespeople and I enjoy living the good life outdoors in Edmond, OK.”