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Pickin' Chicken By Mother Earth News: The Story Behind the App

By Michelle Hernandez 


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Pickin' Chicken Screen Shot 

A photo of Michelle HernadezI am so very pleased and honored to have MOTHER EARTH NEWS and GRIT Magazine involved the Pickin’ Chicken iPhone app for chicken breed selection. I have shown this app to chicken lovers and novices alike. Once they've played with it, they inevitably ask, “Why a chicken app?” The answer: chickens changed my life.

Nearly three years ago, I started thinking about raising chickens – not knowing what I didn’t know. I read, researched, and figured I would get some chickens so they could eat the bugs in my garden, I could use their poop in the compost pile, and we'd have super-fresh eggs. Past that, however, I did not have too high of expectations from the chickens themselves as smart or interactive animals. How little did I know…

My 2nd batch of chicks, left to right: Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel (hatched at home), Australorp and Ideal 236 pullets. 

Life changed from the moment I brought chicks home. Watching chickens as they forage, interact with each other (and me) and explore the garden is tremendous fun. Chick TV was the best entertainment out there! I joined other chicken-keepers in online chicken forums, swapping stories about our joy in raising chickens. Within a few months, I became a founder of Austin’s Funky Chicken Coop Tour. Shortly after the success of the tour, I became the Organizer for the Austin Backyard Poultry Meetup, a very active meetup with over 750 members. I was well on the road to Crazy Chicken Lady-dom.

Right away, I met a wide variety of people interested in raising chickens. By far the most common question I encountered was, “What chicken is right for me?” I knew from my personal experience there were many reputable online sources on chicken breeds. Different breeds have different characteristics, including their general personalities, tolerance for heat or cold, and the quantity (and color!) of eggs they lay; picking the right breed helps create a successful flock. I like being able to quickly and effectively tailor information and loved the idea of having a portable, paperless, customizable chicken reference with me at all times. The idea of Pickin’ Chicken hatched in the fall of 2009.

Pickin’ Chicken is an iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad compatible) app for selecting the perfect chicken breed(s) for your needs. The app allows a novice to find suitable breeds by answering a few simple questions.

The “Pickin'” intro screen displaying the 1st of 3 egg questions 

For the more advanced or inquisitive chickenist, there is a built-in “Eggspert” search to choose selectively exact combinations from 14 different characteristics, including temperament, climate and housing suitability, growth rate, and broodiness.

The Eggspert screen, showing some of the 14 different options on which to Power Search. 

 The app also allows the ability to filter matches to only heritage or endangered breeds as identified by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy, while still offering hybrids in the list of available options.

See all matching breeds or filter to Heritage or Endangered breeds by clicking on the appropriate tab. 

In addition, each breed has a profile page with the option for one or more full body photos. With over 250 photos currently, I’m always looking for another fine-looking bird to add to the collection. If you have a photogenic chicken, the app gives you a way to share your photo under the “More” section.

Pickin' Chicken Catalana details 

Pickin' Chicken more Catalana details 

Catalana rooster.  Thank you, Karen Keb, for sharing a photo of your handsome roo! 

Pickin’ Chicken also offers an editable Favorites library, a Browser function, a Glossary of terms, educational Resources, Tips on chicken care, an integrated Twitter link, and an opportunity to subscribe to a free newsletter. Mother Earth News is also giving you the chance to win your own free chicken coop through the app. How’s that for a complete starter kit?

So what chicken breed is best for you? May you find your perfect chickens with Pickin’ Chicken by Mother Earth News, from a friends’ experience, by falling in love with the cute (feathered) chick in the feedstore, or whatever way works best for your needs. Wishing you well on your chicken adventures!

Additional Information:
Pickin’ Chicken by Mother Earth News is available now through the App Store in the Reference category. Get Pickin’ Chicken by Mother Earth News now!

Find out the latest with Funny Farm Industries at: http://funnyfarmind.com.

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