This Fort Worth fan (and her chickens) are living their best Whataburger life
Trisha Ruiz has been a Whataburger fan as long as she can remember. And, well, she’s also always liked chickens.
When her husband asked her to move to some land out in the country, Trisha made her conditions clear: “I’m not moving unless I can drive to Whataburger in 10 minutes or less.”
Also, she told him, I want some chickens.
She got her wish.
Trisha calls herself the Krazy Funky Chicken Lady, and she’s made sure she lives up to the name. As self-professed “mom” to more than a dozen chickens, she keeps them happy, keeps them safe, and keeps them stylish in custom-made orange “saddles” and bibs.
She also names them: Mashed Potato. Meatloaf. Moo. Tater Tot. Greasy Grizz. Bluebell. Frankie. Fiona. Chewbacca. Snoop. The Boss. Kirby. Petunia. Daisy. Daffodil.
She has her very own Whatacoop, inspired by (what else?) her favorite restaurant. It came about when she pointed out to her husband that while she could still drive to Whataburger, she couldn’t walk there anymore. “Fine,” he told her. “I’ll build you your own.”
Her husband worked from an A-Frame plan and customized it to their needs, creating cozy spots below for them to perch, hide away, or socialize with one another, as well as unique areas up top for the chickens to lay eggs.
“I'm not even a huge egg eater,” Trisha says. “I just think that the chickens are so freakin' cute. They waddle. They're fluffy. They're sweet. They poop. But they're great fertilizer. Our grass is so green.”
Like Trisha, her “Whatachick’ns” have grown to love life in the country. They eat all the bugs they can find, play in the sandbox Trisha built just for them, peck the orange flowers around their coop, and come inside whenever it gets too cold. “Our chickens are pets,” she says. “We love our chickens. We don’t eat them. We just play with them”
Most of her flock are Sillkie chickens, fluffy chicks who are soft to the touch. “They’re big, fluffy balls that look like teddy bears” Trisha says. “They don’t have regular feathers like other chickens do. They have a big giant cottontail, like a bunny.”
And, yes, she says: They definitely have their own personalities. “You come home, they come running,” she says. “Just like a dog.” It might have something to do with the cantaloupe and grapes Trisha offers them up as a treat, she concedes. “If you have food, they’re your best friend. That’s pretty much the way it works.”
For Trisha, her chickens are just plain fun. “I work 55-60 hours a week in a corporate job. So when I come home, I just want to play,” she says. “I’m not your average chicken lady … I’m your Krazy Funky Chicken Lady. We like to keep it fun.”
Her flock is 15 strong right now, with possible plans to expand. “I just like them 'cause they're cute,” Trisha says. “I think that I'll probably wind up with … I don’t know -- maybe 20. Maybe 25. I’ve got enough room, and we’ll just build another Whataburger coop. Or maybe we can put in a drive-thru.”
The coop as it is has been a hit in her rural neighborhood. “You can see it from the street, and everyone stops, gets out, and takes pictures,” she says. “Everyone says, ‘We love your Whatacoop!’ “
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.