Michelle, a Marine Corps brat turned Air Force spouse, has lived around the world. When her husband separated from active duty military service in 2014 they, along with their 3 children, settled in Cache Valley, Utah for the educational opportunities and cost of living. With family and friends living hundreds to thousands of miles away and having acquired a distaste for store bought eggs after living in Germany for ten years, she turned to poultry as a way to make friends and connect with her community.
Michelle comes from a long line of farmers from Chenango County, New York. Having been restricted on what could really get involved in while move every 2-4 years, she was ready to settle down, get back to her roots, and relive those fond memories of brooders filled with chicks from her childhood.
As many who are new to chickens are, she was drawn to the blue eggs from what she thought were Ameraucanas at her local feed store. It did not take long for her and her daughter, Athena, to figure out the controversy behind these so-called “Ameraucanas”. After attending their first poultry show as spectators, they were encouraged to acquire some show quality Ameraucanas to bring to the next show. They shipped in their first large fowl blue, black, and splash Ameraucanas from Max Strawn in 2016 and have been breeding and exhibiting them since with her daughter, Athena, earning her Junior Master Exhibitor award for Ameraucanas in early 2019. They briefly raised bantam Ameraucanas, too, but since they also raise bearded silkies and modern game bantams, they decided to stick with large fowl.
While Michelle, an instructional designer who works with educational institutions around the world, tends to leave the exhibiting to her now college-age daughter and her elementary-age twins, she enjoys being able to serve the poultry community. She has served as the Director of Marketing and Social Media and Secretary of the Utah Fancy Poultry Association since 2017, served her local county fair as co-chair of the poultry show for a few years, founded the Cache Valley Chicken Rendezvous and Utah Poultry Palooza to encourage poultry keeping in Utah, and has served the American Silkie Bantam Club as the Utah state representative since 2018 and their District 5 representative since 2019. She is honored to have the chance to now serve the Ameraucana Alliance, too.
In her free time (wait, what’s that?), Michelle enjoys talking chicken with her poultry friends, working with her mustangs, and traveling to poultry shows with her kids.
<michelle.muldowneystevens [at] aggiemail.usu.edu>