Orpington/Wyandotte Cross is the Winner of USDA Cutest Bird Photo Contest

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A beautiful domestic cross hen peeking out at Charlottesville, VA photographer Jessica Gibson won the USDA sponsored Cutest Bird Photo Contest for February

Charlottesville, VA photographer, Jessica Gibson, wins the USDA Cutest Bird Contest for February 2016

A beautiful domestic cross hen peeking out at photographer Jessica Gibson won the USDA sponsored Cutest Bird Photo Contest for February. Gibson, who lives on Charlottesville, VA, won in the category of “Cutest Bird,” for her shot of the Buff Orpington crossed with a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen.

“I bred this hen myself and she has a wonderful rich color,” said Gibson, for whom photography is a major hobby. “I was pleased with the way the shot turned out.” Gibson, an X-ray technician and her husband, Justin, a corrections officer, are both in their 20s and are avid farmers. They currently raise about 50 chickens and are expecting a human baby to add to the family shortly. “I guess you could say I’m breeding in all senses of the word,” said Gibson with a smile.

The chickens are raised for meat and eggs, she explained. “We like to know where our food comes from. We are also planning a vegetable garden in the spring.”

The growing young family is also considering adding pigs, goats and cows to their multi-acre property at some point. They will shortly be getting their flock tested for National Poultry Improvement Plan certification, which will establish disease-free credentials for selling their birds nationally. “We’re serious about this farming thing,” said Gibson

“We try to keep up with the latest improvements for raising healthy backyard flocks,” Gibson continued, “and online sites are very helpful.” The photo contest caught her eye on the USDA Biosecurity for Birds’ site.

The Cutest Bird Photo Contest began in December. At the end of each month, the winning photos will be posted on the Biosecurity For Birds website. The winners will be considered for inclusion on the 2016 Biosecurity For Birds Calendar.

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.

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

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Pam Goldstein
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