Within a year of getting together with her now-husband Mike, Nicole Graham told him that she'd like to keep chickens. She was gifted chicks for Easter as a child and had a close bond with one she named Danielle, who turned to be a rooster named Danny. "That's going to be kind of a you thing," she remembers Mike telling her.
"I didn't even want to touch them," Mike recounts. Did we mention that he now goes by the moniker Chicken Mike?
Chicken Mike and Mrs. Nicole are now longtime owners of the Garden Hen, a company whose website boasts that it's "here for your chicken needs." That means everything from coop building, to a healthy food called Chicken Chew, to educational programs in schools and assisted living facilities (even Houstonia!). Chicken Mike estimates that their "self-proclaimed therapy chicken," a frizzle-feathered Japanese silkie named Pinecone, has helped to teach 15,000 people about a chicken's life cycle.
But she and the Grahams are looking for a bigger audience. Along with Chicken Mike's manager, Ryan M. Sloan, the couple is shopping a sizzle reel for a television show called "City Chickens."
"Welcome to Houston, Texas, the home of the finest arts, food, and the city's newest emerging secret, City Chickens," the clip begins. Footage of silkies pecking at the ground against a background of freeway footage gives a pretty darn accurate visual of exactly what it means to be the Grahams, traveling across the Houston area to install coops at clients' homes and visit schools, where fertilized eggs are hatched to create more city chickens.
The reel includes a visit to Recipe for Success's Hope Farms, where Chicken Mike built the chicken coop. There's a building session with master builder Bob "Boog" McIntosh, and a burger-making lesson from chef Ryan Hildebrand of FM Kitchen & Bar. The last is especially close to Pinecone's heart. She is such a regular at the ice house that she has an herb-covered coop on the front patio.
This isn't Pinecone's first foray into mass media. Two years ago, she predicted the winner of the Super Bowl on "The Late Late Show With James Corden."
So what is the goal for "City Chickens?" According to Sloan, "Our a plan is to get it on Discovery, get it on primetime, get it out there." Besides the Discovery Channel, he and the Grahams also have their sights set on streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime. The group is looking for investors to help fund a first season, and is trying to gain fans with a YouTube channel.
But if you want to meet a TV star before she lands her big break, Pinecone will be happy to sit on your shoulder and say hello at FM Kitchen.