Buff Orpington Hen and Baby Win USDA Photo Contest

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A loving Buff Orpington mother hen cuddling her new baby chick won the USDA sponsored Cutest Bird Photo Contest for December 2013. Shelley Pringle of Chesapeake, VA, submitted the winning photo.

Shelly Pringle's Winning Photo

“I’m a novice at photography,” says Pringle, “but when I saw Peep and her baby, it was just a perfect picture.”

A loving Buff Orpington mother hen cuddling her new baby chick won the USDA sponsored Cutest Bird Photo Contest for December 2013. Shelley Pringle of Chesapeake, VA, submitted the winning photo.

“I’m a novice at photography,” says Pringle, “but when I saw Peep and her baby, it was just a perfect picture.” Her nine laying hens are all Buff Orphingtons, a breed that has surprised her with their warmth and personality. She also has four younger chickens of various breeds and a big Buff Brahma rooster named Pete.

The photo is featured on the Biosecurity for Birds website http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov until the middle of February when the January winners will go up.

Pringle and her husband Jim live on three acres in a rural area of Virginia. Her nearest neighbor inspired her to begin raising chickens. “They have a flock and I saw how much they enjoyed the experience. I said ‘if they can do it, so can I’,” she recalls.

She notes, with a smile, that the rooster Pete is her partner in protecting and monitoring the flock. She got Pete after a hawk captured one of her free range hens, and an eagle began circling as well. She was advised by Facebook friends who have backyard chickens to buy a big rooster to help out.

“Pete scares off the predators with noise and alerts the hens to take cover,” Pringle says. “He also signals the other chickens to gather when I bring out feed.”

Pringle heard about the four month long Cutest Bird Photo Contest from Andy Schneider, the “Chicken Whisperer” who is one of her Facebook friends. She now plans to friend the USDA “spokesbird” Healthy Harry, who has a new Facebook page for back yard poultry owners at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healthy-Harrys-Biosecurity-For-Birds/537623279666178.

The contest began in December. At the end of each month, the winning photos will be posted on the Biosecurity For Birds web site. The winners will be considered for inclusion on the 2015 Biosecurity For Birds Calendar. For an entry form, contest rules and more information visit https://web01.aphis.usda.gov/biobird_contest.nsf/contest_entry?OpenForm.

The Biosecurity For Birds program, begun in 2004, is designed to educate backyard poultry owners and bird enthusiasts about highly contagious poultry diseases and other threats to birds. The program helps inform bird lovers how to prevent disease and tells them what to do if they suspect their birds might be ill.

Media representatives may contact Joelle Hayden at joelle.r.hayden(at)aphis(dot)usda.gov (301) 851-4040 or Pam Goldstein at pgoldstein(at)diversitymc(dot)com 973-377-0300, Ext. 14.

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