Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween chickens

from Backyard Poultry magazine's Healthy Chickens Bulletin:

A dragon
Little House on the Prairie
Thanks to Brigid for these photos from her 4-H group.

We thought this piece would be relevant, as we know that many of you might be considering dressing up one of your chickens this Halloween or holiday season. This piece published as part of a previous edition of Backyard Poultry magazine, and gives you some safety tips to ensure your chicken won’t get injured during all the fun. Thanks to Wendy Thomas for writing it. Subscribe today by clicking here.

Whether it be for a competition, holiday, or just for pleasure, many people enjoy putting clothing and accessories on their chickens in order to dress them up. If you are going to costume your chickens, advises Brigid McCrea, PhD, associate professor at Delaware State University and extension poultry specialist, for the health and safety of your birds keep the following clothing guidelines in mind:
  • Watch the weight of the costume, as chickens will get flustered if an outfit weighs them down.
  • Along with fabric weight, be careful to not use fabrics that will overheat the bird. Polar fleece is a lightweight material but if worn for a long period, it may make your chicken too warm.
  • Chickens are naturally attracted to the color red and will peck at it; be careful of where red is used in the bird’s costume.
  • Make sure that the chicken can move her wings and that the outfits do not in any way restrict her wing movement.
  • If you are putting something around the chicken’s neck (necklace, bandana), make sure that it is lightweight and does not hang down so low that the chicken could potentially trip over it.
  • Try not to use hats or head coverings. Chickens are prey animals, meaning they are constantly on the lookout for predators who may be after them. A hat restricts vision and won’t be tolerated very long by any chicken.
  • Be careful of beads and hanging decorations that the chicken may be tempted to try to eat them. Likewise, inspect the construction of the outfit to make sure that it does not have loose, dangly threads or that it might fall apart while the chicken is wearing it.
  • Allow for waste to happen (because you know that with chickens it eventually will); either leave the back area open in a costume or prepare the chicken to wear a diaper.
  • Lastly, make sure that the costumes are made from washable fabrics, and for bio-security reasons, wash them after each wearing in order to avoid possible contamination among chickens.

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