Has the Avian Flu Outbreak Affected Your State? May 9, 2022 No Comments

A comprehensive guide to keeping yourself informed about the HPAI outbreak.

The avian flu outbreak in the United States has affected commercial and backyard flocks of over 40 million birds in 36 states. An additional 41 states have reported cases of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) that have also been found in wild bird species. Here is the up-to-date information you need to know about in order to protect your flock members.

Complete United States Avian Flu Outbreak Map

State by State HPAI Data Listed Below

Avian Flu Outbreak state-by-state

What is HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza)?

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also referred to as avian flu or bird flu, is a highly contagious disease caused by the avian influenza virus. It mainly affects birds and can be deadly among backyard flocks. The avian flu can strike suddenly and spread quickly, as we have seen across North America in 2022.

How does Avian Flu spread?

HPAI spreads by direct, bird-to-bird contact and can also spread indirectly when flock members come in contact with contaminated materials. Potential sources of introduction of avian flu into your backyard flock are; poultry products, the transfer of poultry from flock to flock, and migratory birds (including wild ducks and geese.) HPAI can also be spread and moved in manure, egg cartons, farming equipment, and by people who may have inadvertently transferred the virus onto their clothing, shoes, or hands.

What are the signs and symptoms of Avian Flu?

  1. coughing
  2. sneezing
  3. darkened comb/wattles
  4. swelling of the head/eyes
  5. nasal discharge
  6. lethargy
  7. loose droppings
  8. drop in egg-laying
A Barred Rock hen who is sick with the avian flu outbreak, lays on the ground.
A hen sick with the avian flu virus

What to do if you think a member of your flock is sick with avian flu.

If members of your flock show signs of illness, isolate and quarantine them from other members immediately. Then contact your local veterinarian or your appropriate state department right away. You can also call the USDA at 1-866-536-7593. Early detection is essential to help prevent the spread of the avian flu.

There is no treatment for HPAI, and if you have a confirmed case of HPAI in your flock, unfortunately, all members of your flock will need to be put down. Culling is the only way to prevent the spread of the disease to nearby farms and flocks. While it may seem cruel, culling birds with confirmed infection may save the lives of thousands or even millions of other birds and therefore is the only responsible course of action.

Infographic that lists biosecurity practices to help protect your flock from the avian flu outbreak.
Tips for keeping your backyard safe from the Avian Flu Outbreak

Tips for preventing Avian flu in your backyard flock – Biosecurity basics

  1. Keep germs away – Always wash your hands before and after coming into contact with your backyard flock. Also, be sure to disinfect any supplies or equipment that comes into contact with your flock.
  2. Avoid wild birds – Droppings and fluids from wild birds spread avian influenza. The first and most important rule for you is to practice good biosecurity. This means you can’t allow your flock to drink from or bathe in water sources that wild birds could access, and you can’t allow your flock outdoors unless your run is covered or has an impervious roof. Make sure to quarantine any birds showing signs of infection.
  3. Limit visitors to your coop and farm – Try to avoid any unnecessary visits to your coop or farm. If you have visitors, encourage them to wash their hands and boots or wear gloves and protective boot coverings.

If you think you have come into contact with an infected bird, follow the directions the CDC offers.

How to safely add to your flock during the HPAI outbreak

Don’t acquire birds from neighbors, friends, your local breeder, or listings on Facebook. You shouldn’t sell your birds to other people, either.

However, you can purchase from NPIP-approved flocks like My Pet Chicken. Why? Because the USDA and State Departments of Agriculture recognize that our breeder flocks are registered and regularly tested for all illnesses, including Avian Influenza. In fact, purchasing from a reputable hatchery or hatching from your own flock is the only safe way to acquire birds at the moment. 

Delaware hens in My Pet Chicken's breeder flock are shown in their barn.
Purchase new birds from a reputable hatchery such as My Pet Chicken

Click Your State Below for Up-to-Date News on the Avian Flu Outbreak

US States A-G

US States H-L

US States M-N

US States O-S

US States T-Z

Alabama Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. There have been no reported cases in any backyard or commercial chicken flocks in Alabama. Although a single case of the HPAI A(H5N1) virus was confirmed in February in a hunted duck known as the American wigeon from Limestone County. However, since then, the virus has not been detected in Alabama. For further information about HPAI, visit the Alabama Public Health Department.

Alaska Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 31st, 2022. There have been 30 birds in one backyard chicken flock that have been affected by avian flu. A new strain of bird flu has been detected in a red fox that has died in the Aleutian Islands. It was most likely feeding upon birds that had died from the H5N1 avian influenza. For more information about HPAI, visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Arizona Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 1st, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For further information, visit the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Arkansas Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 31st, 2022. There are no reported cases, but Arkansas has enacted an emergency rule through July 2022. The state is concerned about the bird flu threat to the commercial poultry industry in Arkansas. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service – Arkansas poultry farmers produced $3.9 Billion in broilers and another $443 Million in Turkeys. For more information about HPAI, visit the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

California Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 1st, 2022. No reported cases in commercial or domestic poultry flocks at this time. Dr. Janette Jones, the California State Veterinarian, encourages backyard poultry flock owners to be prepared and recognize the signs of disease. For further information, visit California Environmental Protection Agency.

Colorado Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 9th, 2022. Colorado has had over 3.5 million birds affected. These birds were from 4 commercial flocks and 3 backyard flocks. Although the risk of HPAI to humans remains very low, there has been one reported case of human infection in Colorado from a person working on a farm with infected poultry. For more information about HPAI, visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Connecticut Bird flu Outbreak Information

Updated: March 1st, 2022. So far, there have been 160 birds affected in 1 backyard flock. Connecticut is home to over five million poultry consisting of backyard and commercial flocks that could be affected by the disease outbreak. Bird owners must report any Avian Influenza symptoms to the State Veterinarian at 860-713-2505. For more information about HPAI, visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Delaware HPAI Outbreak Information

Updated: March 17th, 2022. There have been 3 commercial flocks with over 1.4 million birds affected. To prevent the spread of the avian flu outbreak, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the State Epidemiologist Office, has issued a directive for all live poultry competitions and exhibits at the 2022 Delaware State Fair to be canceled. For more information about HPAI, visit the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  

Florida Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. There are no reported cases in commercial or domestic flocks, although it has been found in wild bird species. Florida is committed to protecting poultry, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regularly monitors domestic poultry for evidence of avian influenza viruses. Samples are routinely collected from backyard flocks, show birds, commercial poultry, and live bird markets. Visit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for more information or to report bird mortalities online.

Georgia Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 1st, 2022. Georgia recently confirmed the bird flu virus in 1 backyard flock with 490 birds. Dozens of the birds on the farm died within a 24-hour period, officials were asked to investigate, and the presence of bird flu was confirmed. For more information about bird flu, visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Hawaii Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. There are no reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

Idaho Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 24th, 2022. There have been 988 birds affected in 25 backyard flocks. For more information about the bird flu outbreak, visit the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Idaho Fish and Game ask that if any sick wild birds are found, report them here to assist with surveillance records.

Illinois HPAI Outbreak Information

Updated: May 17th, 2022. There have been 150 birds affected in 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Indiana Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 9th, 2022. There have been over 189,000 birds affected in 9 commercial flocks and 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, where you can also sign up for email and text updates.

Iowa Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 4th, 2022. So far, Iowa has been one of the states hit hardest by the avian influenza outbreak. Over 13.3 million birds have been affected in 15 commercial and 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture and land Stewardship.

Kansas Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: April 27th, 2002. There have been over 7,500 birds affected in Kansas from 1 commercial flock and 5 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Kentucky Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: February 15th, 2022. There have been over 284,000 birds affected in Kentucky in 2 commercial flocks. For more information, visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Louisiana Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Maine Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: April 5th, 2022. There have been 893 birds affected in 12 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Maine Department of Agriculture.

Maryland Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: April 18th, 2022. Over 1.7 million birds have been affected in Maryland, affecting 4 commercial flocks. For more information, visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Massachusetts Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: March 29th, 2022. There have been 260 birds affected from 1 backyard flock. For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resouces.

Michigan HPAI Outbreak Information

Updated: May 10th, 2022. Over 35,000 birds have been affected in 1 commercial flock and 12 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Michigan Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minnesota Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 31st, 2022. Over 2.9 million birds have been affected in 59 commercial and 21 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Mississippi Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. There are no reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.

Missouri Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Update: April 6th, 2022. There are over 434,000 birds affected from 6 commercial flocks and 3 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Montana HPAI Outbreak Information

Updated: May 6th, 2022. There have been over 78,000 affected birds in 9 backyard flocks and wild turkey populations. For more information, visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Nebraska Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Update: April 29th, 2022. Over 4.8 million birds have been affected in 4 commercial and 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Nevada Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

New Hampshire Bird Flu OUtbreak Information

Update: March 16th, 2022. There have been 150 birds affected in New Hampshire from 1 backyard flock. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

New Jersey Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Update: May 17th, 2022. There have been 60 birds affected from 1 backyard flock. For more information, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

New Mexico Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Update: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the New Mexico Department of Health.

New York HPAI Outbreak Information

Update: April 6th, 2022. Over 9,500 birds have been affected in 1 commercial flock and 7 backyard flocks. New York is banning poultry shows and exhibitions to help safeguard against the avian flu outbreak. For more information, visit the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.

North Carolina Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Update: April 12th, 2022. There have been over 481,000 birds affected in 9 commercial flocks. For more information, visit the North Carolina Agriculture and Consumer Services.

North Dakota Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Update: May 17th, 2022. 167,000 birds have been affected in 4 commercial flocks and 11 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Ohio Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Update: March 29th, 2022. Just 8 birds have been affected in 1 backyard flock. For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Oklahoma Bird Flu Outbreak Information

Update: April 30th, 2022. There has been 1 commercial flock affected with 13,800 birds. For more information, visit the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Oregon Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 17th, 2022. There have been 540 birds affected in 12 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Pennsylvania Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 2nd, 2022. Over 4.2 million birds have been affected in 17 commercial flocks. For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Rhode Island HPAI Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

South Carolina Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

South Dakota Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 19th, 2022. Over 1.6 million birds have been affected in 36 commercial and 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Tennessee Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2002. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Texas Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: April 3rd, 2022. There have been 1,700 birds affected in 1 commercial flock. For more information, visit Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Utah Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 13th, 2022. Over 1.5 million birds have been affected in 1 commercial flock and 4 backyard flocks. For more information, visit the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Vermont Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: April 28th, 2022. Just 1 backyard flock with 30 birds has been affected. For more information, visit the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Virginia Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: February 12th, 2022. Just 1 backyard flock with 90 birds has been affected. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Washington Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: June 24th, 2022. There have been 24 backyard flocks with 1,508 birds affected. For more information, visit the Washington Department of Health.

West Virginia Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 25th, 2022. No reported cases at this time. For more information, visit the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Wisconsin Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 23rd, 2022. Over 3 million birds in 8 commercial and 14 backyard flocks have been affected as of May 2022. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

Wyoming Avian Flu Outbreak Information

Updated: May 20th, 2022. There have been 350 birds in 8 backyard flocks that have been affected. For more information, visit the Wyoming Fish and Game Department.

For additional information about the avian flu outbreak in all 50 US states, visit the USDA APHIS list of 2022 confirmations of HPAI in commercial and backyard flocks. Additionally, visit the Center for Disease Control for more information about HPAI infections.

Friendliest Chicken Breeds – Top 10 of 2022 April 19, 2022 1 Comment

Do you want a sweet, friendly pet chicken who can go with you to the feed store? Accompany you to the office? Who will love to see you every day and fall asleep in your lap? We put this list together of the friendliest chicken breeds of 2022 for those of you whose first priority is a sweet personality. They will be a great addition to your flock and family!

4 different friendly chicken breeds are shown including a Silkie, Blue Cochin, Buff Orpington, and Speckled Sussex
Friendliest Chicken Breeds – Top 10 of 2022

1. Silkie Bantam

Of all the friendliest chicken breeds, the Silkie Bantam is the most popular and most loved! Can’t you tell why? They’re the lapdog of the chicken world, complete with hair-like plumage and an incredibly sweet temperament. In addition, Silkie hens make wonderful mothers and are even known to adopt baby ducks if given the chance!

And, according to a poll we conducted, Silkies are a favorite choice as a pet for children! When stacked up against super popular breeds like Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, and Easter Eggers, they were a top choice. See the results, here.

A fluffy white Silkie stands on bright green grass and is looking towards the camera.
White Silkie Bantam – voted friendliest chicken breed!

2. Orpingtons

Orpingtons are big, friendly dual-purpose birds originally developed in the UK. For many small farms and homesteaders, Orpingtons are the only way to go! They’re cold-hardy due to their fluffy plumage. Wonderful mothers, they do go broody. There is not much more charming than seeing a mother Orpington and her fluffy new baby chicks peeking from beneath her wings in a field on a sunny day. Plus, they’re gentle and friendly on top of being good layers.

A Buff Orpington walks on green grass.
Buff Orpington – one of the friendliest chicken breeds!

3. Cochin

Cochins are known the world over for being big friendly balls of fluff and feathers. They don’t lay very well but are popular because of their sweet personality and fantastic mothering qualities. Cochins became famous in the 1800s when this Chinese breed was given as a gift to Queen Victoria of England, who absolutely adored them.

A fluffy Blue Cochin poses on green grass.
Blue Cochin

4. d’Uccle

Mille Fleur and Porcelain d’Uccles are simply adorable! The d’Uccle’s sweet disposition makes them a must for anyone who likes pet bantams; their calm beauty means they are also an indispensable breed for anyone who likes to show. These bantams are known for their mysterious, quirky expressions, and are quite friendly: a true favorite of adults and children alike. They are fair layers of tiny, creamy colored eggs.

A Mille Fleur d'Uccle hen stands on brown grass while facing the camera.
A sweet Mille Fleur d’Uccle

5. Speckled Sussex

The Speckled Sussex has everything: they are great layers of tinted or light brown eggs–and they lay right through the coldest weather. They are dual-purpose birds, though fat-bodied and not prone to flying when mature, so they are easily fenced.

They forage well and are economical eaters that are friendly and easily handled. Their curious nature means they will often follow you around the yard if they think they can beg a treat from you. Many tend to get more speckles after each successive molt, so they just get prettier with age. Seriously, what more could you ask for in a chicken?

A speckled Sussex hen walks toward the camera on bright green grass.
Speckled Sussex

6. Brahma

Brahmas are so gentle, and make great pets. They are quiet, cold tolerant, and absolutely huggable! While not a power layer, you can expect three or so medium-size brown eggs from this bird per week. Brahmas are gentle giants with feathered legs and feet—and profuse, fluffy feathering.

A friendly Buff Brahma hangs out with her flock mates.
A friendly Buff Brahama hangs out with her flock mates.

7. Easter Egger

Easter Eggers are our all-time best-selling breed! They are definetly one of the friendliest chicken breeds, who are great layers of large eggs in shades of blue and green. Their plumage can vary from stark white to dark brown and black, from buff tones to blue to splash–and anything in between. Their smaller body size gives them an advantage in the heat, and their small pea comb means they do well in cold, too, because they are not as susceptible to frostbite. We like to think that the pea comb is linked not only to the blue egg laying gene, but also to the “sweetness” gene, as well, because of their tendency toward friendly, social behavior.

A friendly Easter Egger hen looks at the camera as she stands on grass.
Easter Egger

8. Blue Splash Marans

Blue Splash Marans make wonderful pets – they are hardy, calm and quiet, and bear confinement well. We also find them to be good-natured and sweet and beautiful! These rare birds lay a medium-brown egg with extra-dark speckles. Most Marans have lightly feathered legs, too, making them very pretty! They are said to be good foragers without being TOO destructive to your garden.

A blue Splash Marans hen closely looks into the camera.
This friendly Blue Splash Marans loves to pose for the camera.

9. Blue Favaucana

We adore this designer breed for its many wonderful qualities: Extreme docility; sage-green, medium to large eggs; beautiful little muffs, beards, and lightly feathered feet, (some with five toes!). They have pea combs and profuse feathering for cold-hardiness. Their slender body size helps with heat-tolerance. Then, of course, their overall appearance, something like a blue hawk, simply turns heads.

A Blue Favaucana chicken stands in front of a rose bush while sweetly looking at the camera.
This friendly Blue Favaucana has the cutest beard!

10. Silked White Easter Egger

Hello, gorgeous! This cross is exclusive to MPC. It is the result of years of selective breeding across multiple generations. As the name suggests, we’ve bred a Silked Easter Egger! Get all the benefits of an Easter Egger in a special Silkie package. This breed will also tend to be broody, if you’re looking for a great mama!

A Silked White Easter Egger shows off her fluffy butt feathers.
This Silked White Easter Egger has so much fluff!

What is the friendliest chicken breed in your flock? Share with us in the comments below.

Jute Bunny Egg Easter Craft April 1, 2022 No Comments

This DIY Jute Egg Bunny Easter Craft is fun and easy for kids and adults! Use them as a table decoration, display them in an egg carton, or hang them on an Easter Tree. Most of these common supplies can already be found in your home. Check out our other craft project blogs for more family fun!

A jute egg bunny is placed in a terra cotta planter with three colorful eggs placed in from of the planter.
DIY Jute Bunny Egg Craft

Supplies needed to make a Jute Bunny Egg:

  • Jute cord (any size, larger is easier/faster.) You can also use twine or yarn for this project
  • Plastic egg
  • Hot glue & hot glue gun
  • Scissors
Supplies needed to make a jute bunny egg including a roll of jute, a pair of scissors, and two plastic eggs.
Simple supplies needed to make a Jute Bunny Egg

Directions:

1. Starting the Jute Bunny Egg

Starting at either end of the egg, glue the tip of the jute cord to one point on the egg and let dry. Do not pre-cut your cord, it could end up too short and you won’t be able to finish the egg!

2. Begin Spiralling the Jute

Once the tip is glued in place and has dried, start to spiral the jute down towards the other end of the egg, adding glue periodically. It’s super easy for the cord to start slipping as you spiral it, so it’s best to add glue to every “spiral” or full circle you make.

3. Finishing the body

Continue the gluing and spiraling process until you reached the opposite end of the egg. Once you get it as tight of a circle as possible, cut the cord. Add a drop of glue to keep the end of the jute spring in place.

4. Making the Ears

The ears can be a little tricky! Cut a bit of the cord and glue each end to the back top of the egg, bending it in an upsidedown V shape, like the shape of a bunny ear. You can add a wire to shape the ear more precisely and keep it stiff. To do this, bend the wire in an upsidedown V shape, like the shape of a bunny ear. Glue the jute along the front of the wire and let dry. Next, slightly poke the wire in between the jute on the top of the head to tuck in the bottom of the ears. Add glue to keep in place and let dry. Repeat this process for the second ear.

A jute bunny egg rests on an egg carton that is filled with colorful eggs.
DIY Jute Bunny Egg

Get creative and use different color yarns for a fun and festive Easter display!

DIY Easter Craft – Felt Chicken March 25, 2022 No Comments

This felt chicken DIY Easter Craft is fun and easy for kids and adults! They will brighten any room and not just at Easter time. Most of these common supplies can already be found in your home. Check out our other blog craft projects for more family fun!

A DIY felt chicken with wire feet stands on a table in front of a white bowl filled with colorful eggs and fresh flowers.
Little Chicks are a fun project for both adults AND kids!

Supplies Needed for DIY Chick Easter Craft

  • Felt Squares in 2 colors (more if you are feeling extra crafty!)
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Thread
  • *(Glue gun/glue could be used as an alternate method for this project instead of sewing)
  • Poly-fill for stuffing
  • Scissors
  • Craft wire – at least 16 gauge
  • Wire Cutters
  • Pliers
  • Fabric Marker
  • Printed pattern

Directions:

1. Select Two Colors of Felt

The first color will be for the chick’s body and the second color is for the beak. You can stick with traditional yellow and orange but additionally, have fun with this and let your imagination run wild! You can make an entire flock of rainbow chicks with this pattern! OR try to recreate the breeds that you have in your flock.

2. Print the Pattern

Print off the pattern (shown below) and cut out the pieces from the paper. You can play with your printer settings to determine what size you want your chick to be…you can make egg-sized chicks or much larger baseball-sized chicks. While you can use normal printing paper, using a heavier cardstock type of paper will make transferring the pattern easier, especially if you plan to make more than one. And let’s face it…you can’t have just one lonely chick!

DIY pattern pieces for felt chick craft that you can print.
Pattern Pieces for DIY Easter Craft
3. Place the Pattern Pieces and Cut the Felt Body Pieces

Place your pattern pieces on the felt and trace around them with the fabric marker. Cut out 2 body pieces, 1 belly piece, 2 wings, and 1 beak. Also, make sure to cut just inside the fabric marker lines so that they do not show in your finished chick.

DIY chick craft pattern pieces cut out from felt and ready for assembly
Felt pieces cut out and ready to assemble.
4. Start Sewing!

Now place the body pieces on top of each other and sandwich the beak between them in the appropriate location. You will then begin sewing at the top of the beak, down toward the belly using a blanket stitch. You will stop at about 1/2 inch below the beak to add the belly piece. To add the belly piece you’ll need to line it up by separating the two body pieces. Continue sewing around the entire belly piece (both sides.) Finish sewing the body pieces together from the top of the beak up over the head to the tail.

DIY chick craft partially assembled with 2 sides, beak and belly pieces sewn together, ready to be stuffed.
Sew on the beak and belly…ready for stuffing!
5. Stuff the Felt Chick

Next, you are ready for the stuffing! Add small pieces of polyfill batting until your chick is nice and plump, being sure to push the stuffing all the way into the front of the chick. You will need to manipulate it to ensure the chick is filled out evenly. Once you’ve stuffed the chick, you can close the remaining part of the body pieces. Next, your chick needs a set of wings! Tack these on with a few simple stitches as shown below on the front of the wing. Repeat for the opposite side.

Felt wing pieces are sewn onto the DIY chick craft body at the appropriate wing positions.
Tack on the wings
6. Adding the Eyes

Adding an eye can be done in a few different ways. You can simply use a Sharpie or other marker, sew several stitches to create the eye, or glue on a small googly eye or contrasting felt piece.

7. Making the Chicken Legs

Let’s make this chick some legs! The length of wire needed will vary depending on the size of your chick. The chick shown in these photos used approximately 10 inches per leg. Start making the foot by manipulating the wire into 4 toes as shown below. Shape the back toe first, then the front 3, and then wrap the wire under the middle to ensure it bends straight up to form the leg. Next estimate the length of wire you used for the first foot and leg and cut from the roll. (both legs will be one continuous piece of wire) Now push the cut end of the wire through the lower body of the chick. The wire should also pop through on the opposite side as evenly as you can, compared to the first side.

Black craft wire is bent into the shape of a chicken foot, with 4 toes and a leg.
Manipulate the wire into toes for the feet!
8. Attaching the Chicken Legs

After that, shape the second foot the same way that you did the first. Trim any excess wire to find the length you want the legs to be. If you underestimated the amount of wire, well, now you have a bantam chick decoration! Adjust and center the wire legs so that your chick will stand. Have fun with different poses!

Time to Decorate using your DIY Felt Chick Easter Craft!

VOILA! You’re done! Now you can repeat the process to create an entire flock of these chicks! You can bend the legs in various positions to bring your new chicks to life. Use as fun easter décor, table decorations, or give as a gift to your favorite fellow Chicken-ista!

A DIY felt chicken with wire feet stands on a table in front of a woven basket filled with colorful eggs and fresh flowers.

Meet the Peeps from My Pet Chicken: Mimi March 1, 2022 No Comments

Welcome to My Pet Chicken’s “Meet the Peeps” blog series! We lovingly call our My Pet Chicken employees, “Peeps!” You’ve interacted with us by phone, chat, and email…now it’s time to “meet” us. My Pet Chicken is very unique in that ALL employees are poultry keepers ourselves so we offer a wealth of experience and wisdom. Here is your opportunity to see how we became “crazy chicken people.”

A woman with blonde curly hair, who is wearing glasses, holds her black Cochin bantam chicken while smiling and posing for the camera.
Mimi and her Cochin bantam rooster, Khan.

Mimi – Customer Service Phone Peep

1. How Long have you been part of the MPC family? What is your position?

4 years; I started in February 2018. I am a Customer Service Phone Peep.

2. What is your home state and your favorite part about living there?

While we are former Texans, we now live in Tennessee….it’s really beautiful here with all the waterfalls, hills, and trees.

3. How long have you been a chicken keeper?

5.5 years

4. What was your first breed(s) of chicken?

Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, and Jersey Giant

A large white chicken coop nestled in the woods with an assortment of chickens standing around on a sunny day.
Mimi’s main chicken coop – where her flock happily lives.

5. How many chickens do you have? (Real numbers…not what we tell our family members!)

10 hens and 2 roosters

6. Do you have any other animals besides chickens? If so what and how many do you have?

4 cats and 2 dogs (and one wonderful husband!)

A woman with curly blond hair snuggles with two cats. The cat on the right is white and gray. The cat on the right is orange striped.
Mimi snuggles with her adorable and fluffy cats!

7. What is your favorite chicken breed? Why?

Speckled Sussex. They are so friendly and their feather pattern is stunning.

8. What is your favorite part about chicken keeping?

Watching them interact because they are just so interesting, especially the roosters. They all know their names and come when called. Our 2 roosters are so gallant and unselfish with the hens. At night, after everyone is roosting, I make sure to give Khan and Kirk a treat just for them!

9. What is your least favorite part about chicken keeping?

The poop, be prepared! We do compost the poop along with yard clippings and household food waste. The yard and garden really appreciate it.

10. What is your best pro tip for a newbie chicken keeper?

Don’t overdo the treats and keep things clean, clean, clean.

11. What is your favorite chicken-keeping product and why?

Honestly, my poop scooper; best tool ever! I also love First Saturday Lime. I just can’t recommend it enough. Both the scooper and the Lime help keep things clean in and around the coop.

A headphone set sits on a desk next to a notepad and pen. A coffee cup with a chicken on it sits in the background.
Mimi’s desk with her favorite coffee mug!

12. What is your favorite chicken-themed quote, or joke?

“I may look calm but in my head, I’ve pecked you 3 times.” I’m drinking from my coffee mug with that saying at this very moment. Coffee is a peep favorite here at My Pet Chicken and the morning staff always has a full mug standing by!

Closing thoughts from Mimi

My adorable Cochin bantam roosters, Kirk and Khan, are named after Star Trek characters. Khan is very friendly and is happy to be cuddled. Kirk is a bit more standoffish but he’s not aggressive and is most amenable to accepting a treat. If you can possibly add a rooster or two to your flock, I highly recommend it. Also, make sure you explore the extensive and incredibly informative My Pet Chicken website. I fell in love with it years before I ever imagined I’d be working here!

March Backyard Chicken Checklist: 4 Pro Tips February 28, 2022 2 Comments

Spring has almost arrived! March 20th, 2022 is the spring equinox and we will all soon be enjoying more sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets. (Thank goodness….) Here’s my March backyard chicken checklist to help you prepare for spring with chickens.

1. Incorporate chickens into your garden plans

Gardening is the whole reason I got into chickens in the first place, so it ranks first on my March backyard chicken checklist. Keeping chickens can seriously contribute to gardening success: after all, chickens eat plant pests. Their droppings and litter make for some truly amazing compost. They can clean up your beds in fall and take care of those extra veggies when you have more than you can handle. But they can also cause destruction and eat your garden in the blink of an eye! Here are the top 5 ways to combine raising backyard chickens and gardening while saving your plants from being eaten.

Backyard chicken tip 1: plan for gardening with chickens
Backyard chicken tip 1: Plan for gardening with chickens

Don’t forget, though, when you’re planning your spring garden, that some plants are poisonous to your flock, and choose alternatives accordingly. Chickens are foraging birds by nature. They will take a small taste of most plants to determine what is good to eat and what is not. While they seem to have a pretty good ability to determine what to stay away from, it’s always better safe than sorry, right?

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Avian Influenza is here: 5 takeaways February 22, 2022 1 Comment

You’ve heard about highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the news unless you’ve been hiding under a rock! Wondering what this means for chicken keepers? Here are five key takeaways. 

Keep your flock safe from Avian Influenza with these tips

1. Your flock can’t contract Avian Influenza from My Pet Chicken’s chicks.

Let’s address the pink elephant in the room first. Our breeder flocks are kept in the most biosecure manner possible and are frequently tested for illness, both by our flock management team and by state NPIP officials. Furthermore, HPAI doesn’t quietly linger in infected flocks – it’ll make itself known within a matter of hours or days and causes utter devastation. In other words, there’s no wondering if our breeder birds could be infected: we’d know. And our flocks are healthy. (As are most other hatchery flocks, for that matter.)

In fact, several states have banned all poultry purchases except reputable sources like ours. See more on this in #5. 

2. Isolate your flock from wild birds, and practice good biosecurity

Droppings and fluids from wild birds are what spread avian influenza, so this is the first and most important rule for you to follow. This means you can’t allow your flock to drink from or bathe in water sources that wild birds could access, and you can’t allow your flock outdoors unless your run is covered or has an impervious roof. 

Why? Because HPAI is a death sentence for your flock. 

If that means you have to keep your flock indoors all the time, so be it. Within a period of just 10 days, the current strain of Eurasian H5 Avian Influenza spread to five states: Maine, New York, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and South Carolina. If you free-range your birds, or allow them out into uncovered runs, you’re taking a terrible chance. 

But don’t think you need an engineer to redesign your setup. Heck, isolation could be as easy as covering your existing poultry run with a brand new tarp.  

And don’t forget to follow the other key biosecurity practices, too. (We know, we know – you already know all about them, but it always bears repeating!)

3. Can I catch Avian Influenza from eating eggs or poultry?

No, you can’t. The USDA tells us that you cannot contract Avian Influenza from properly-cooked eggs and meat. Further, they state that “The chance of infected poultry or eggs entering the food chain is extremely low because of the rapid onset of symptoms in poultry as well as the safeguards USDA has in place, which include testing of flocks, and Federal inspection programs.”

If that weren’t enough, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture states that “Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly.” And Michigan State University states unequivocally: “Humans cannot get avian influenza from poultry and eggs.”

4. Prepare for an egg and meat shortage (and higher prices). 

Within just ten days, highly pathogenic avian influenza went from zero to being found in several commercial flocks in five different states, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of commercial turkeys, chickens, and layer hens. It’s unlikely to stop there: the 2015 bird flu outbreak resulted in the deaths of 50 million chickens across the USA, and this strain has already resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of birds in Europe. What this means, not just for poultry keepers like us but for every American, is that there won’t be enough eggs and poultry meat to satisfy demand. Of course, this will result in even higher prices at the grocery store than we’re already paying. 

So how can you prepare for that? By increasing your own flock. Unlike most people, you already have the facilities, equipment, and know-how to raise birds. Whether it’s because you might not be able to afford grocery store eggs once higher prices set in, because you may be able to help feed your neighborhood when there are shortages, or even because you could fetch record high prices for your extra eggs, we can’t think of a better time to grow your own flock than right now. 

A flock of white chickens is shown in an enclosed barn which keeps them safe from Avian Influenza and other illnesses.
Our breeder flocks at My Pet chicken are kept in biosecure housing and tested frequently for illnesses including Avian Flu.

5. Only purchase poultry from reputable sources, and stay away from other people’s flocks.

Who doesn’t love scoring some special or hard-to-find breeds online? Or scooping up a group of hens whose owner is moving? For now, you must resist the temptation. Don’t acquire birds from neighbors, friends, your local breeder, or some rando on Facebook. You shouldn’t sell your birds to other people, either. 

In fact, states are starting to ban such activities. The Georgia Department of Agriculture, for instance, just announced that the following activities are suspended until further notice: “exhibitions, shows, sales (flea markets, auction markets), swaps and meets pertaining to poultry and feathered fowl.” 

However, you can purchase from NPIP-approved flocks like ours. Why? Because the USDA and State Departments of Agriculture recognize that our breeder flocks are registered and regularly tested for all manner of illnesses, including Avian Influenza. In fact, purchasing from a reputable hatchery or hatching from your own flock is the only safe way to acquire birds at the moment. 

There you have it, friends. Just be smart, be safe, and go ahead and get yourself some more chickens and ducks. (Come to think of it, how’s that any different from what we do every day?)

Meet the Peeps from My Pet Chicken: Jordana February 8, 2022 No Comments

Welcome to My Pet Chicken’s “Meet the Peeps” blog series! We lovingly call our My Pet Chicken employees, “Peeps!” You’ve interacted with us by phone, chat, and email…now it’s time to “meet” us. My Pet Chicken is very unique in that ALL employees are poultry keepers ourselves so we offer a wealth of experience and wisdom. Here is your opportunity to see how we became “crazy chicken people”

A woman kneels in front of her back yard pond while holding an Isabel Orpington rooster on her lap
Jordana sits with her Isabel Orpington Rooster by her backyard pond (that she built herself!)

JordanaManager

1. How Long have you been part of the MPC family? What is your position?

I started working for My Pet Chicken in early 2016, so in chicken years I must be ancient! I manage our fulfillment and customer service departments, but my absolute favorite place to be is helping customers. There is something truly rewarding in helping people with similar interests be more successful with their flocks or finding the perfect coop.

2. What is your home state and your favorite part about living there?

I live in North Carolina, but I am originally from Michigan. I traded lake effect snow for hurricanes and still get stuck with tornados! Even though Michigan is lovely, I adore having a pretty much year-round garden here in eastern North Carolina – not to mention, I can visit everything from sea to soaring mountains in this state!

3. How long have you been a chicken keeper?

Golly, if you count childhood, practically my entire life. When I was a kid, my parents got us ducks for Easter. Only one survived our dog and we named her “Baby”. She was so adorable and would sit on my Dad’s lap under the maple trees, then every time she would leave him a “gift”, but he still kept letting her snuggle. Anyhow, chickens were a natural addition to my home as an adult, along with a lot of other poultry.

4. What was your first breed(s) of chicken?

As an adult, I wanted Dominiques and Black Australorps to start out. I had read some really neat things about the Dominique (this was back when the breed was endangered and hard to get). Anyway, with my knowledge today, I was actually sent Barred Plymouth Rocks, but I was still happy thinking they were this awesome breed I was helping save!

5. How many chickens do you have? (Real numbers…not what we tell our family members!)

Currently, I have three Isabel Orpingtons, one Blue Splash Marans, four bantam Calico Cochins, one Appenzeller Spitzhauben, and a pain in the behind Olive Egger rooster (nice enough, but he eats my garden!). I intend to hatch some Appenzeller Spitzhauben/Calico Cochin mixes this year – imagine how totally ADORABLE they are going to be! And, I am putting together my dream order for chicks for 2022; I need, not want, frizzled easter eggers and mottled cochin bantams, and totally more of the Blue Splash Marans and Appenzeller Spitz’s too. No, I have not told my husband yet!

6. Do you have any other animals besides chickens? If so what and how many do you have?

Why yes, glad you asked! While I have downsized (I used to have goats and pigs and guineas, rabbits, Guinea pigs…) I now have just a handful of geese (I love the heavy breeds, so Large Dewlap Toulouse, Buff Toulouse, and then a Tufted Roman and plain Roman) and 5 ducks (including Silver Appleyard, Cayuga, and Swedish). Oh, and we have a pet snake that is 13 years old, a corn snake that we really should submit for a size record of some sort! Oh, then there are the cats, and I do milk a neighbors cow; does that count?

Jordana’s goslings arrive home and settle into their new brooder.

7. What is your favorite chicken breed? Why?

I can’t pick just one, but by far Cochins have my heart along with Blue Splash Marans. I like the personality of these breeds, the heavy bodies of the Cochins, and the feathered pants they wear. Over the years, I have had almost every breed My Pet Chicken carries at some point, and if I could have a coop large enough I still would.

8. What is your favorite part about chicken keeping?

Photos! And sitting with them. I love to listen to and watch them. They keep me company as I garden and I can hear them from the pool as I relax. I would miss them terribly if I had to give them up. They are also a primary part of my photography hobby. I like to do fine art portraits and incorporate chickens into them. Did you know chickens were royal pets at various times throughout history? I was particularly struck by a painting I saw once of Queen Victoria of England with her large cochin seated on her lap at court, so struck that I had to have one of these beautiful birds myself. Once they get used to the idea, chickens are a lot of fun in the studio – they strut around, accept treats for being pretty, and even dress up in tutus and bow ties for special events.

A woman lays on the grass, looking at the camera while holding a camera. A flock of chicken, ducks, and geese are in the background.
Some of Jordana’s chicken photography is featured on the My Pet Chicken website and social media accounts!

9. What is your least favorite part about chicken keeping?

I hate that feathers regrow and I keep having to clip feathers to keep the flock out of my garden. They have a penchant for taking a bit of this and a nibble of that and leaving me with nothing if they get a chance. I admit that is rather funny to watch them jumping for blueberries or blackberries, but I do really prefer eating those myself!

10. What is your best pro tip for a newbie chicken keeper?

The best thing for success is to spend time with your flock. When you actually sit and watch and listen to them, they tell you what they need, if they are sick, or if they are frightened. Caring for an animal “by the book” isn’t always what is needed and dealing with problems after they start is a lesson in frustration and heartbreak. So, spend the time when they are healthy and you will catch the problems early and be better prepared to deal with them. Also, take the time to do a little reading of quality books, not just social media. I have seen some crazy wives-tales, so it pays to use common sense and question things.

11. What is your favorite chicken-keeping product and why?

A perfect Bucket Heater – that thing is a lifesaver in cold weather and one of the best purchases I ever made for my flock. Now, for myself, my favorite product is the Cozy Coop Heater. It sits under my work desk and I snuggle up beside it with my cold feet and feel warm and toasty while at work.

12. What is your favorite chicken-themed quote, or joke?

“When arguing with a chicken a grain of corn is always wrong.” – African Proverb

“The cows shorten the grass, and the chickens eat the fly larvae and sanitize the pastures. This is a symbiotic relation.” – Joel Salatin

Closing thoughts from Jordana

Chickens are often the gateway animal to bringing our food closer to home. They offer pleasure, peace, and beauty in addition to their natural functional nature. They are part of an efficient ecosystem we can create in our backyards and help restore balance. With all this, they can be kept in the most urban location to the most rustic – everyone should have chickens!

Meet the Peeps from My Pet Chicken: Shannon February 1, 2022 No Comments

Welcome to My Pet Chicken’s “Meet the Peeps” blog series! We lovingly call our My Pet Chicken employees, “Peeps!” You’ve interacted with us by phone, chat, and email…now it’s time to “meet” us. My Pet Chicken is very unique in that ALL employees are poultry keepers ourselves so we offer a wealth of experience and wisdom. Here is your opportunity to see how we became “crazy chicken people”

Shannon, a blonde haired woman holds a ceramic black chicken while smiling.
Shannon – our Phone Supervisor loves to chat about chickens with customers!

Shannon – Phone Supervisor

1. How Long have you been part of the MPC family? What is your position?

I started at My Pet Chicken in 2011, so that puts me at 11 years of chicken chat! Currently, I’m a Phone Supervisor, so I get to talk with my fabulous customers directly.

2. What is your home state and your favorite part about living there?

I call North Carolina home and have since 1994. We love being centrally located in the Triangle because from here we can take day trips to the beach or mountains. Our weather is very mild so I can garden year-round with my chickens and ducks.

A chicken and duck run has a luffa gourd plant growing over it to protect the chickens and ducks in the run from wind and the hot sun.
Shannon’s run has a luffa gourd plant growing over it in order provide a wind and shade block.

3. How long have you been a chicken keeper?

I’ve been tending to the fowl for 13 years. Some of my birds have been around that long too.

4. What was your first breed(s) of chicken?

Our very first chickens were Silkies. They are sweet and small and so very different looking so we had to have them! They were also perfect when we had a toddler.

5. How many chickens do you have? (Real numbers…not what we tell our family members!)

I currently have 18 chickens, 2 of which are roosters.

6. Do you have any other animals besides chickens? If so what and how many do you have?

We also raise ducks, currently, we only have 5. We have 1 bunny, 1 doggie, 2 cats, and since we also foster kittens for a rescue we could have any number of those at a time as well.

A black and white cat with  black collar looks at the camera. There is a multi-colored cat laying down in the background.
Shannon is also a foster mom for kittens!

7. What is your favorite chicken breed? Why?

I currently really love Cochins. Whether they are bantams or standards – doesn’t matter. The personality of the birds is so mild. Plus they make great moms when we decide to hatch.

8. What is your favorite part about chicken keeping?

The eggs are by far the best part of chicken keeping!

9. What is your least favorite part about chicken keeping?

Well, cleaning is not my favorite chore. However, I really do enjoy a clean fresh coop!

10. What is your best pro tip for a newbie chicken keeper?

When planning your flock I highly suggest researching your egg needs. If you need to feed a family of 4 who enjoys eggs daily, really look into the chicken breeds’ production rates. It can be disappointing if your breed choices lay 3 or less a week when you needed those eggs.

11. What is your favorite chicken-keeping product and why?

I’m a huge fan of First Saturday Lime. I use it for bug and smell control in my coop, but I also use it for my birds’ waterers to keep the water from turning green. It is also multipurpose so I use it in my garden as well for bug control.

12. What is your favorite chicken-themed quote, or joke?

Closing thoughts from Shannon

As a child, I was terrified of roosters. I was chased on more than one occasion by a rooster at my grandparents, and it wasn’t even their rooster! Happened later on in life in my twenties when I was chased to my car by one that showed up at my parent’s house. I was dead set on never having a rooster, ever! And here we have Pongo our splash Olive Egger rooster who lets me cuddle him and carries him around. He’s even protective of my daughter when she’s collecting eggs, chasing the hens out of the coop to leave her alone. Now, I can’t imagine life without a rooster to command my flock.

Meet the Peeps from My Pet Chicken: Catherine January 24, 2022 No Comments

Welcome to My Pet Chicken’s “Meet the Peeps” blog series! We lovingly call our My Pet Chicken employees, “Peeps!” You’ve interacted with us by phone, chat, and email…now it’s time to “meet” us. My Pet Chicken is very unique in that ALL employees are poultry keepers ourselves so we offer a wealth of experience and wisdom. Here is your opportunity to see how we became “crazy chicken people”.

Catherine, a white woman with brown hair, wearing black glasses, smiles at the camera. She is holding a baby chick in each hand near her cheeks. She is standing outside in front of a chicken coop.
Catherine from My Pet Chicken and her baby chick.

CatherineFulfillment, Email & Chat Departments

1. How Long have you been part of the MPC family? What is your position?

I have worked at MPC since early 2021 in the email, chat, and fulfillment departments.

2. What is your home state and your favorite part about living there?

North Carolina. The ease of homeschooling.

3. How long have you been a chicken keeper?

4 years

4. What was your first breed(s) of chicken?

1 Barnyard Mix Rooster

5. How many chickens do you have? (Real numbers…not what we tell our family members!)

Do we REALLY want to count them all??? 14 grown chickens and 28 baby chicks. *gasp*

6. Do you have any other animals besides chickens? If so what and how many do you have?

3 Dogs and 7 Ducks

7. What is your favorite chicken breed? Why?

All of ’em! Each one has traits or looks that I find fascinating. I don’t know that I could choose just one!

8. What is your favorite part about chicken keeping?

Watching the chickens do their chicken thing.

9. What is your least favorite part about chicken keeping?

Trying to figure out how I’m going to build a big enough coop/run to fit everyone because… chicken math.

A Black Copper Marans hen sits in her nesting box while two of her baby chicks sit on her back facing away from the camera.
Chicken math happens!

10. What is your best pro tip for a newbie chicken keeper?

Research everything that goes into keeping chickens. Try not to jump into it with no knowledge at all. Prepare yourself for losses, be it from unknown causes or predator attacks, because losses will happen and it is always upsetting.

11. What is your favorite chicken-keeping product and why?

My favorite chicken-keeping product is the Waste-Free Bucket feeder! It is a must-have so there is little to no food waste, which saves money!

12. What is your favorite chicken-themed quote, or joke?

What do you get if a chicken lays an egg on top of a barn?

An eggroll!

Closing thoughts from Catherine: No matter how long you’ve kept chickens, there is always something you will learn that is new!