Avian Influenza, Toy Chickens, and County Fairs

You may, or may not, be aware that Nebraska is among the many states that was affected by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Nationwide, around 47 million birds (chickens and turkeys) died or had to be euthanized because of this disease (late summer 2015).

One of the possible vectors (ways to spread a disease) is through wild birds, especially wild ducks and geese.

My sons’ small chicken flock (30-ish birds) has not been affected (knock on wood) but they have taken precautions. Food and water are exclusively inside the coop (they used to have some outside in the pen too, but that could attract wild birds). Visitors need to wear a pair of our boots instead of their own shoes. If we had visitors that had their own chickens, we probably would not let them go out to the coop (we have not encountered that yet).

One other side effect? Poultry shows, sales, and other events were cancelled throughout the state of Nebraska (and many other states). This included the county fair.

As a result, all poultry events at the fair required props instead of real birds. Therefore, about a month ahead of the fair, I did an Internet search for stuffed chicken. I quickly amended the search to toy chicken.

We ended up with this…

toy chicken

She does not produce many eggs, but does not eat much feed either.

Her name has been the source of much debate. I will let you know the eventual winner but “bawk bawk” seems to be in the lead.

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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One Response to Avian Influenza, Toy Chickens, and County Fairs

  1. Leslie says:

    Looks pretty similar to what our county used. I actually happened to have it at home and just loaned it to the county for it’s use. It now lives in my office in case it is needed again. My boys rarely played with it before, but now can play with it at my office. Ours is a different breed though…

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