Sunday, December 14, 2014

Keeping Chickens IS NOT for Sissies

This morning's fox shooting had me thinking all day about responsible chicken keeping. Predators are a threat to any free-range flock (and plenty of penned ones, too!) but a loaded gun isn't the hard part about keeping chickens. The hard part is choosing to take that step into the realm of livestock, a different relationship than pets. Livestock are animals we keep for food, or, have historically been raised for food even if the animals in your care are considered pets. It's a harsh line, but a real one. You may love your trio of hens but if you are leaving your rental in Brooklyn and can't take them to a new home, don't expect an animal shelter to take them in. But this is happening all over, and sadly proves that some people don't have what it takes to take up raising backyard chickens.


Blogger Kira said...

Well said, Jenna. I have to say, though, that I have made the choice (at least for now) to see all my hens through to their natural end of life. I recently lost my hen, Harriet, after 9 years. She hadn't been laying for awhile, but I felt the responsibility to see her through to the end as a way to saying thanks for all the eggs she provided in the earlier years. If I was trying to make a living off my hens I certainly would/could not have afforded to keep a non-laying hen. But as I only have 6-8 hens at any one time (and I carefully calculate out how many chicks to get to replace those who are lost to age, nature, or illness), I feel responsible to provide a certain quality of live for those animals. And that means, if I’m not able or willing to swing the axe, then I have to take care of them until mother nature calls. For me, it is no different for any animal. If you cannot afford to take care of the animal, or are unwilling to do so, livestock or pet, you should not have the animal. Why did you get the animal in the first place? RESPONSIBILITY is the first requirement for any sort of animal “ownership.” Be responsible, folks!

December 14, 2014 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Jenna, my husband and I are about ready to acquire a logo for our little farm.I told him I read a blog by a young woman keeping a farm that I thought would be a good choice to design it. He told me to look into it. How do I get in touch with you? I have lots of questions.

December 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just this A.M. I shared the not-so-pretty side of chicken keeping. You have to be willing to cull/harvest/process them or find someone who will. There is so much shit. Hens are not the quiet little birds one reads about on the house beautiful chicken blogs. I was promptly attacked by the "my birds are allowed to live here forever and I always find good homes for my excess roos" crowd.

I also recommended "Chick Days" to the potential new chicken owner.

December 15, 2014 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Su Ba said...

Karen, I've gotten hate mail from the "I love animals" crowd, too. I don't know all the names that they call me nor all the hatred they spew towards me because as soon as I detect attack I simply hit the delete button. Since I write about real life events on my homestead blog, some of my entries naturally include topics about livestock death, accidents, slaughter and butchering, etc. Each one of those generates at least one outraged email, which I never read and just move to the trash.

Real life on a small farm isn't what people living in the suburbs or cities think it is. They read those glossy "farm magazines" and think all farms are mown green grass lawns & pastures, gardens of weed free veggies in straight clean rows without a brown leaf among them, freshly bathed and groomed livestock, farmers working in colorful unwrinkled new clothing without a smudge of dirt, smiling people with clean hands and well groomed hair, and all the farm equipment dirt free, scratch free, and polished. That's not real life but it sells magazines. And those non-farm people think that we farmers all have to live up to that false image, otherwise we get termed good for nothing monsters. Personally I will not let them bother me.

I would never abuse my animals. They live a more comfortable stress free life than I do. They have good lives except for the last seconds. And they get a far better death than I expect to have. They have far more rights to comfort, food, and medical care than I do.

December 15, 2014 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Westfarm Goat Mom said...

Thank you for posting this video! I get requests about once a week to take someones pet rooster. I always say, yes, but I'll eat him. I have all the roosters I need for my flock.

December 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM  

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