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Backyard Chickens: New Mobile App Helps You Choose The Best Breed

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief

Tags: poultry, farms, mobile devices,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.ChicknPickn appGRIT blogger Michelle Hernandez is so passionate about backyard chickens that she and a team of really smart folks have created a breed selection iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad app in conjunction the folks at Mother Earth News. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this backyard chicken breed picking app and found it so engaging that I've spent way too much time playing with it on my iPhone -- and I already have a large laying flock! The new Pickin' Chicken app was put together with expert breed advice from the American Livestock Breeds Association and the APA, so you know the information is eggscelent.

The new Pickin Chickens iPhone/iPad app from Mother Earth News describes 75 chicken breeds with pictures and helps you select the breeds that are just right for you.  

Would you like brown egg layers that are also good for meat production? Pickin' Chicken offers 25 choices to select from. If you’re looking for an excellent layer in that group, the selector can narrow the field to seven choices. After you’ve seen the options, you can select either “heritage” or “endangered” breeds from the list by tapping a button.  

One touch of your screen will take you to a more detailed description of each breed or hybrid. Descriptions include free-range foraging ability, purpose (eggs, meat or both), egg size, growth rate, mothering ability, place of origin, conservation status and more.  Chicken Picking app 

In “eggspert” mode, the Pickin' Chicken app can help you select chicken breeds by even more specific traits, so if you want calm birds that are good foragers but can thrive in smaller spaces, too, the app will guide you to the right breeds. Select purpose, group (standard or bantam), egg size, egg color, lay rate, growth rate, temperament, climate and other traits that you want, and the app will show you which breeds are the best match. If you’re not looking for specific characteristics, you can simply browse pictures of the 75 breeds in the alphabetical listing.  

After you’ve selected the chickens you want each year, the app provides information on caring for them, a glossary of poultry terms and links to other useful resources. Pickin' Chicken features 250 photos of 75 breeds and hybrids. Breed descriptions include information on bantams when available. 

Whether you’re planning to buy chicks for the first time or just want to try new breeds of this fascinating bird, the new Mother Earth News Pickin' Chicken app can help make breed selection a breeze. Go to for more information and to download the app for your iPad or iPhone. The app is designed for iPhones, so it’s small format, but you can increase the size for an iPad. 

Don't have an iPhone or an iPad? Check out similar information in our Perfect Chickens article here on or at the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .

9/3/2011 11:18:59 AM

Just downloaded the app and have been checkin' in out. A wealth of information and easy to navigate - great job.

hank will_2
12/21/2010 1:33:49 PM

Yes, Michelle. My understanding is that it will work with the iPod touch also. I've only used it on an iPhone (mine) and iPad (not mine).

12/21/2010 1:04:28 PM

Can you tell me if this app will work on the iPod touch as well as the iPhone?

k.c. compton
11/27/2010 8:29:51 AM

Ha! When I read the headline on the homepage for this I thought it said "Helps you choose the best BREAD." Which would also be a cool app. "Hmmmm... should I have dill bread with the salmon tonight, or ..." So THIS was your big Friday announcement, eh? Nobody believed me when I told them I didn't know what you were planning. :=] I'm so excited we got this app. Now to go download it to my iPad and plot my someday, one-day future, with chickens. --KC

11/26/2010 10:19:48 PM

Android App please!!!!

11/26/2010 5:40:24 PM

Please make an app like this for the Droid :)

nebraska dave
11/26/2010 9:31:09 AM

@Hank, after working in the telecommunication industry for 40 years starting way back in 1967 under the old Ma Bell system, I have a hard time believing that Alexander (supposed inventor of the phone) had a chicken pickin’ app for the I- phone in mind when he invented the phone. Isn’t it a wonderful technological world in which we live? The cell phone is quickly becoming the communication device of the century. Beam me up Scotty is becoming so true. Ever think about how close the cell phone looks like the communicator of the original Star Trek. I’m thinking an old Trekie fan after watching those leading edge sci-fi shows decided to build a communicator and now we have one. Have a great chicken pickin’ I-Phone day.