2018-02-13 / News

Meet the Chicks - A Hobby Turned Passion

By Rosie Cunningham

Meet “the Chicks,” The Reporter Pets of the Week. 
Contributed Photo Meet “the Chicks,” The Reporter Pets of the Week. Contributed Photo HARPERSFIELD - Meet 35 Silkie chickens from Harpersfield and The Reporter Pets of the Week.

According to Shanda Whitbeck, the owner of the chickens, she initially acquired them as if on a mission.

“I wanted to do organic from the start, so that I knew what I was feeding my family,” she said about deciding what breed to get. “I had to have something that was cute and fluffy so I wasn’t afraid of them. That’s when I found the Silkies. Who wouldn’t be in love at first site? They are so mild tempered, great for kids - they can’t see much due to their big poofs - and to me that meant I wouldn’t be chased.”

Whitbeck described the flock as the “lap dog” of chickens.

Whitbeck was given 13 chicks and it comes as no surprise that she loved their fluffy “flops” - she is a hair stylist.

Whitbeck admitted that she has a couple favorites.

“One is a rooster - he is a paint, which is like the dalmatian of chickens,” she said. “His name is St. Pierre. He alerts the ladies when I am coming with a snack and he’s very sweet. I also have a hen named Felicia - she alerts the roosters that I’m here to ‘steal’ the ladies’ eggs.”

Whitbeck’s “chicken farm” is entirely organic. They have never had medicine or medicated feed. They get non-GMO feed, fresh veggies from Whitbeck’s garden which is also organic and a lot of corn. She plants sunflowers for them to snack on during the winter and they free range, weather permitting.

“Silkies only lay 120-140 eggs a year, so they are not for production, just pets,” added Whitbeck. “They are great at hatching, as they go broody often. Many people show them at the local fair and at poultry events. I currently sell fertilized hatching eggs and hope to sell chicks in the future.”

To submit a pet of the week, contact Rosie Cunningham at 607-386-8639 or e-mail

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