The things people do to their chickens. It makes Kathy Shea Mormino, aka “The Chicken Chick,” crazy.

Please, she pleads, do not knit little sweaters for your hens. They are “inappropriate.”

“Chickens have a core body temperature between 104 and 107 degrees,” she explained. “Even if they’re completely bald, they don’t need sweaters, and sweaters are actually counterproductive to them being able to regulate their own body temperature.”

Mormino blames the way people anthropomorphize their pets. Fido wears a winter coat, why not a sweater for Foghorn Leghorn?

“They’re making ladders and swings for chickens – ridiculous,” she added.

Backyard chicken farmers are also making their animals fat, Mormino said. Chickens lay eggs every day, so their dietary needs are very specific. There’s a reason commercial poultry farmers hire PhDs to figure all this out. So use quality commercial chicken feed, Mormino suggests, not some recipe from the Internet.


“Chicken keepers are spending exorbitant amounts of money on designer mealworms and organic kale,” she said. “They’re over treating their chickens like crazy.”

Chickens need about 2/3 cup of chicken feed per day to be maximally productive, optimally healthy and live a long life, Mormino said. They can handle 2 tablespoons of treat per chicken twice a week, but any more than that and you run the risk of making them obese.

But chicken lovers are like pet owners who feed their dog from the table: Food equals love.

While the average human has 10,000 taste buds, Mormino said, the average adult laying hen has 300, “so they’re not connoisseurs of subtle flavors. Whenever I hear someone suggesting that ‘Oh, my chickens just love a warm oatmeal in the morning with flax and blueberries on it,’ you know what? No, they don’t. They have superior color vision, so they are enjoying the diversity in the colors.”

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