The Gonyeau family moved to the area when father Alfred retired from the U.S. Army because her parents had moved to East Texas and had found some property for them.
Al, his wife, Nancy, Kerry, and brother Ryan live in Wood County within the Harmony School District.
Last year, Kerry chose an Ag class as her elective. At first she thought she would not be raising anything, but her instructor, Cody Darby, convinced Kerry and her parents that she should raise broilers.
Early last September, Kerry’s father constructed a chicken coop out of plywood with two windows and a door. Next, Kerry got her shipment of 21 chicks.
Her first challenge was to get the “yellow fluff balls” to start eating.
As the chicks grew her next challenge was to keep the growing broilers cool enough during a heat wave.
As she described it in her article in the August-September issue of Farm & Ranch Living:
“We provided fans in the coop and opened the windows. We even put tarps up to provide shade. Our efforts may have helped lower the temperature a few degrees, but it was still close to 100. It did not help any that some of the kids raising chickens had air conditioners.”
The young Ag student was discouraged until the instructor came to cull the chicks. She learned that she was doing really well and her enthusiasm picked up.
In fact, she not only raised broilers worthy of entering the competition, but she finished ninth out of 75 entries.
After the success at raising her first brood, her grandmother noticed that Farm & Ranch Living would pay students for a story about their activities.
Now the coop rests in the carport where it is well shaded and cleaned in anticipation of the next batch of chicks.
As a published author, Kerry Gonyeau now eagerly looks forward to enrolling in her favorite class and preparing another broiler for the East Texas Yamboree.