The CDC Says It’s Okay to Buy Costumes for Chickens
Chickens in Halloween costumes were never banned after all!
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Are costumes for chickens safe for you and them?
It’s that time of year! Leaves are turning those lovely warm colors, pumpkin spice is everywhere, and we’re beginning to ponder our holiday decorations. People with kids and dogs are thinking of Halloween costumes and making preparations. In my case, I’m also deciding on a costume to wear because aging has not yet put a damper on my absolute love for Halloween.
I may or may not (ahem) have been contemplating buying a toddler chicken costume this year, so I could dress up as a thematic mama hen. It was while browsing online with this possibility in mind that I came upon the most delightful headline: The CDC warning people not to dress their chickens up for Halloween.
This suggestion turned out to be an erroneous statement that circulated this time last year. The CDC reportedly never said this, but the possibility of it got my mind rolling.
Costumes for chickens! Sounded like a magnificent idea! I immediately wanted to buy a small pirate hat for my one-legged pet rooster, Captain. Obviously he would love it.
Before diving headfirst into the chicken costume world, I sought out some knowledge on this project from seasoned chicken dresser-uppers. I had a couple of questions about safety, where to get costumes, and how best to convince a chicken that dressing up was a great idea.
A quick Google search yielded hundreds of adorable photos of poultry wearing costumes, but getting into contact with their owners for my inquiries proved challenging. These costume-clad birds were cute and a big hit, and had been circulated a lot. I got to test out another Halloween idea: Private Investigator!
Fortunately, some leads were easier to follow than others, and a few people were more than happy to share everything they knew, as well as provide a sneak peek of their bird’s costumes for 2019.
For beginner chicken dresser-uppers, it’s important to pick the right bird for the event. Calm birds will do far better than flighty or feisty ones. You’ll get bonus costume points if your chicken is used to being handled and is mellow instead of streaking across the yard in a panic while wearing a witch hat.
Know that some birds will sit for it and some will not. I can think of a dozen of my chickens right now that wouldn’t stand the thought of wearing a costume. Don’t get discouraged if your chicken doesn’t cooperate. One of the things I learned is the bird has to be of a specific personality type.
Less is more when it comes to poultry costumes. Birds can quickly become overheated, so for their safety, make sure the costume is not heavy fabric or overly cumbersome. Accessorize your critters instead of doing a full costume, and frequently assess how they are reacting to it. If your bird is scared or showing signs of being overheated, immediately remove the costume.
Don’t leave your chicken alone while it’s dressed up! They could quickly become tangled up on something or get the costume dirty. Costumes for chickens are something that is best done with adult supervision.
My last word of warning is this: Your bird is going to be cuteness overload status. People will flock to your bird, including children. Ensure that anyone handling your bird is doing so safely so that it doesn’t accidentally get hurt.
So where to find these charming costumes? One person, Margo, makes them herself from scratch for her goose Sniper. “My costumes are all custom made!” She told me. “I usually get my supplies from Wal-Mart and modify them as I need.” Other people buy ready-made bows and props, and I’ve seen still more use toy-sized dog costumes on chickens and ducks. There are even a few Etsy shops directed towards chicken owners.
Backyard Chicken forum user Fur-N-Fowl uses a combination of costumes and props to take adorable photos of their chickens and dresses them up in bows for everyday cuteness. Fur-N-Fowl raises Silkie chickens in the UK, and this is the first time they are dressing up their birds up in chicken clothes for Halloween because they’re relatively new to chickens.
I was curious about what inspired owners to dress their birds up for the holidays. Fur-N-Fowl stated, “An idea that popped into mind when I saw some bows for sale in my local shop! I bought them and realized I wasn’t the only one that had done it when I stumbled across photos of others’ costumes for chickens, so that’s when other like-minded people became my inspiration.”
For Margo, she said she was working on a project for Christmas in 2018 when she had some scrap fabric leftover. She decided to make a Christmas bandana for Sniper, her Toulouse goose. In Margo’s words, a lot of people enjoyed seeing Sniper in costumes, as did she, and Sniper didn’t mind at all. She plans on dressing Sniper up for Valentines Day, Easter, Independence Day, and Christmas in addition to Halloween in the following years.
After speaking to a couple of people, I’ve decided it’s official: Halloween costumes for our birds are in. I’ll be finding a pirate hat for Captain, and I’m sure he will find the humor in it as much as I do. As for my son, he can be the T-rex that he’s been asking about. What about you? What are your plans for your birds this upcoming Halloween? Send us your pictures and stories of costumes for chickens!