Today we’d like to introduce you to Heath Ward.
Heath, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2013, I was living in midtown Atlanta when I received a small coop with two adorable hens named Thelma and Louise for a Christmas present. The hens were so much fun and the fresh eggs were incredible. I would go out of town on vacation and needed friends to ‘chicken sit.’ All of my friends fell in love with the hens and commented on how easy it was to take care of them. Some of my friends had mentioned how they thought about getting chickens but didn’t know where to start or if there was a way to try it out.
I designed a logo, designed our coop from scratch and started CityChick from my garage in midtown, Atlanta in 2015. Along with the backyard chicken rentals, I started to deliver backyard chicken supplies to people that already owned chickens. I started teaching classes on backyard chickens at a local nursery in Grant Park, Atlanta. I quit my full-time job as a General Manager of a college bookstore to take on CityChick full time.
In order to grow the business, I needed more space for more hens. Things were getting crowded with my little house in midtown with all of the chickens. I purchased 10 acres just South of the airport and now have over 100 hens and five roosters on the property, I have an online store for backyard chicken supplies at shop.citychickatl.com and ship all over the country.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been easy. I quickly learned that the scope of CityChick was too limited for the little house in midtown. When the business license was applied for I learned that I couldn’t build the coops out of our house (too much noise for the neighbors). I rented a small storage unit and started to build the coops that we would sell. At that time, I was working my full-time job, building coops, taking care of chickens – it was a lot!
Moving to our new location on 10 acres allowed me to have a workshop at home to build the cedar coops. I now have space to house our online store inventory of backyard chicken supplies. My hens now have lots of space to free range and enjoy being a chicken.
Also, I realized how little I knew about online advertising. In 2016 I made the expensive mistake of purchasing the google adword, “chicken.” Google charges every time when someone clicks on that word. Do you know how many people click on the word ‘chicken?’ I blew through my marketing budget for the year in one day.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with CityChick – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We rent and sell poultry and poultry related supplies. We offer a self-service and a full-service hen rental to homeowners, businesses, and schools. We deliver a coop and run, hens, organic feed and provide all the support during the rental period. We design high end, durable cedar chicken tractors for purchase. We have an online store that specializes in backyard chicken products like feeders, waterers, and organic treats.
We are an official retailer of New Country Organics chicken feed and deliver in the metro Atlanta area.
It is so rewarding when schools ask me to come and speak. My first question to the students is always, “where do your eggs come from?” I always get the response, “the grocery store!” As a whole, we are so removed about where our food comes from. It’s such a pleasure to be able to talk about the food supply.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m looking forward to partnerships with local urban farms and gardens. Atlanta has an amazing opportunity to become the leader in urban farming and we want to help and be a part of that. I’m working on expanding our custom cedar coop line in 2018.
- $65 per month for our three hen rental plus the cost of organic feed
- $99 per month for our five hen rental plus the cost of organic feed
- $1,300 CityChick cedar chicken tractor and run
- $500 full-service hen rental (deluxe coop, weekend cleanings, feed and treats included)
- $15 Chicken Crack – organic chicken treat