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I've had it with "pet chickens"  RSS feed

 
Will Holland
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Disclaimer- just some e-venting, please feel free to ignore.


I joined a "poultry swap and chat" group for my state on Facebook hoping to find breeding stock, knowledge, and possibly new acquaintances. What I found instead was pet chicken owners- it really couldn't be more "Connecticut" they're in diapers, on leashes, on people's kitchen counters, and someone even raised Cornish cross birds and tried to keep them as pets. It seems totally nutty to me. Don't even mention eating a spare cockerel.

I must admit that my rant is somewhat hypocritical- I have "pet" ducks. We don't have any plans to eat them, but they live sort of regular duck lives, outside. They're decent layers too. The only distinction is that we won't eat them, and my wife or I might occasionally pick one up for a squeeze. I fully accept that people eat ducks.

I suppose I could leave the poultry group and that would sort of solve my problem. But I might be interested in someone's "swap" or "sell" listing.
 
Ann Torrence
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To quote that great philosopher, Mr. Bigweld in the movie Robots, "see a need, fill a need." Sounds like there's a perfect FB niche for you to fill in your area.
 
Tyler Ludens
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One of my extra roosters, destined for dinner, became a friend's beloved house rooster, Francois:



I can see how it would bug some people.
 
John Polk
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...in diapers, on leashes, on people's kitchen counter...

Sounds like the same group of owners who ask "I have a 5' by 12' run. Is that enough space for 6 hens?"

I have seen some of those mud pits a few months after they get their birds.

 
Alfrun Unndis
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This is stuff you already know:

Everyone does nutty stuff.

Nutty stuff that involves love or kindness is to be admired or at least ignored.

Nutty stuff that harms or injures is something to be upset about and do something about.

Don't blame the group because they're weird and you're disappointed that they didn't meet your needs. Find or start a group that suits you. Shake your head and walk away.
 
Will Holland
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Alfrun Unndis wrote:This is stuff you already know:

Everyone does nutty stuff.

Nutty stuff that involves love or kindness is to be admired or at least ignored.

Nutty stuff that harms or injures is something to be upset about and do something about.

Don't blame the group because they're weird and you're disappointed that they didn't meet your needs. Find or start a group that suits you. Shake your head and walk away.


I agree. That's why I posted it here rather than in the aforementioned group.
 
Alfrun Unndis
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Ah, good.

Been dealing with the country club, suburbanites here too. Sometimes they will have me doubting my own state of mind.
 
Dan Boone
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John Polk wrote:
...in diapers, on leashes, on people's kitchen counter...

Sounds like the same group of owners who ask "I have a 5' by 12' run. Is that enough space for 6 hens?"

I have seen some of those mud pits a few months after they get their birds.


That's 10 square feet per chicken. The "Getting Started With Chickens" free ebook by "Dusty Roads" (aka Dustin Rhodes) that got given away in Paul's daily-ish email a couple of weeks ago suggested "at least three square feet outside area" per chicken. I think that's insane and cruel, but that's the kind of info that's out there for people who don't know any better.
 
john mcginnis
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Friend sent me an article the other day about chickens. I read it three times and could not believe it --

"Rent a chicken for sustainability"

Now the article on its face is absurd. But what crazier than putting hoodies on chickens is renting chickens for anywhere from $20-40/month! Now for that you get a coop and two chickens. More chickens cost extra. And people are gong for it.

Go figure.
 
Em Kellner
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This is so funny - I am on that SAME Facebook group (hello neighbor) and I was just venting about this SAME thing to my husband last night. One lady was basically insinuating that anyone who let their chickens out of a covered run without "supervision" was an awful irresponsible person. I had to take the bait on that one and get into it a little bit. Drives me NUTS. And the huge number of people trying to *sell* their old hens and roosters to "good homes" where they will be pets, give me a break. If I mentioned that I don't even "feed" my chickens I might be literally crucified haha. I would totally join a permaculture chickens group.
 
Will Holland
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Em Kellner wrote:This is so funny - I am on that SAME Facebook group (hello neighbor) and I was just venting about this SAME thing to my husband last night. One lady was basically insinuating that anyone who let their chickens out of a covered run without "supervision" was an awful irresponsible person. I had to take the bait on that one and get into it a little bit. Drives me NUTS. And the huge number of people trying to *sell* their old hens and roosters to "good homes" where they will be pets, give me a break. If I mentioned that I don't even "feed" my chickens I might be literally crucified haha. I would totally join a permaculture chickens group.


Hi Em, let's start one! Where are you located?
 
Em Kellner
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I am in Barkhamsted! Northwest region of the state. What about you?
 
Will Holland
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Harwinton. Nice to "meet" you. Say, Em, my wife and I are planning a read-along/ dicussion group of Mollison's designer's manual over winter. Would you be interested in joining us?
 
elle sagenev
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I'm more annoyed when people let their feelers prevent them from being smart. Pinterest is a cesspool of people doing stupid things (leaving yarn out for wild birds to use in their nests is popular but I just had a bird in one of my trees die after getting stuck in some it used, that I did not leave out for it) but nothing annoys me more than all of the "cures" for animals. I just saw one this morning for mean roosters and the comments are what gets me. "I just can't eat my chickens and I can't give them away and it's like a war outside all of the time between all of the roosters I've been hatching." I'm just like................................ that is horrible. That is abusive. That is just....how can you sleep at night knowing your animals are stressed out like that? I don't get that "can't kill my animals so I let them kill each other to keep my conscience clean" thing. Really gets me. But I just killed 3 perfectly nice roosters because I didn't like how they were stressing out my hens. I'm also going to kill a ton of my hens because I don't want to pass on their genes. All will be humane and all will be eaten but that would probably make most of those "feelers" people's heads explode.
 
Em Kellner
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Will, I would be in theory, absolutely - I do have 3 small children though and a lot of projects going on at home, so I'm not sure how available I will be! I would love the info so that I can at least attempt to participate . I am actually in Harwinton every Thursday evening already.

Elle, along the same lines I got to hear about "crow collars" for roosters a few weeks ago, so people can keep their roosters in places where they aren't supposed to have roosters. Oh my word.
 
elle sagenev
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Em Kellner wrote:Will, I would be in theory, absolutely - I do have 3 small children though and a lot of projects going on at home, so I'm not sure how available I will be! I would love the info so that I can at least attempt to participate . I am actually in Harwinton every Thursday evening already.

Elle, along the same lines I got to hear about "crow collars" for roosters a few weeks ago, so people can keep their roosters in places where they aren't supposed to have roosters. Oh my word.


I haven't heard of this. Afraid to google. I imagine it's like "de-barking" a dog. Cruel.
 
Tobias Joseph
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Personally, I've been seriously considering catering to most of these yahoos... or even opening up to the trophy (hunting) market. (which, for the most part, are just as deplorable.)

It seems as if I might make a better living breeding for them than getting caught up in the sociopolitical pissing matches between backyard and other small farmers.

or say, the logical gymnastics of dealing with people with barely a fourth of an acre calling their game 'free range' vs those with an acre or more fenced in... that after a while, all the 'terms' tend to lose their meaning. And don't get me wrong here, just as much is coming from the haughty small farm side (be it the hippy dippy crowds, the hipster conservatives or the children of legacy farmers that failed to escape or just couldn't make it in the big city, and stuck with running their great grandpappy's farm into the ground) as it does from the suburban cul-de-sac. Let alone, dealing with the various customers or markets of both...

So, much so, I'm left wondering why I'm working my duff off trying to get my mum's land up to code and to market... when I still seem to be screwed on either side of the aisle for wearing the wrong brand of jeans.
 
Niele da Kine
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As long as the pet chicken people don't try to pass laws on the rest of us, I'm good with their craziness.

I've let it be known that I will take in unwanted roosters and some of those crazy folks have been bringing me boxes of roosters. I let them know nicely that their roosters are going to go to freezer camp, but generally, they are just glad to get rid of them and bring me roosters anyway. Works for me! These are some of the fattest roosters I've ever seen.
 
Charli Wilson
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I keep chickens- just a few, for eggs, and every year I get some hatching eggs and they raise a few more chickens. When the roosters start making a noise- the intention was always to eat them (urban area).

My Mom considers my chickens to be 'pets'- she follows them round the garden trying to stroke (which is hilarious). She got unbelievably upset when I said we were going to eat him (there was crying and everything! Amusingly, whilst she was eating a beef burger). She did, however, do the work to find him a new home. So I didn't get to eat him, but it was no effort on my part to be rid of him.

My neighbours are glad that he has gone. He was a beautiful rooster.
 
Eric Hammond
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Where do you draw the line on pet crazy? I'm sitting here petting my 3 dogs on the couch and could never hurt them.....but in some parts of the world eating dog, cat, horse etc is not taboo.

I love beef, but I couldn't get any Indian friends to eat that
 
Deb Rebel
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My retired doctor (96 and going, he retired at 95) had a house hen in the 1950's. I guess she didn't lay and thought of herself as something other than a hen. For them it worked. Recently youngest son brought home wife, and she wanted a house chicken too (thought it would be neat) and bawled for three days because town enacted a bunch of urban fowl laws because a few ruined it for everyone. However I think she would have been like the people you mention on that group.

I'll admit I've had several things not normally eaten in western society. The first time I'd been invited to supper by school friend, an honor. A very good stir fry. Halfways through the meal I asked what it was and one of the kids told me. Dead silence as I contemplated my meal for a short bit. In a minute I decided that it had been delicious, there was nothing I could do about it at all, half the meal was inside me, and making the scene was the worst thing. So I picked up my chopsticks and continued eating. The second half of that meal tasted the same but was much worse to get down. I eventually learned to quit asking what I was eating there. I won't say what any of it was as this doesn't need to be deleted or go to cider press. I can say it eats.

People need companionship. There are these robotic cats you can get. They are curled up as if they are asleep and they can make purring noises and 'breathe'. They are actually getting acceptance as therapy devices for retired elderly especially in nursing homes. So uber spoiled chicken pets don't surprise me at all.
 
Marcus Billings
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I feel your pain Will.  I get people asking me questions about chickens that blow my mind (in person, not on the internet-permies is the only place I feel comfortable discussing topics).  What cracks me up with the whole pet chicken thing is that these are basically small dinosaurs.  I honestly believe that if I died near the coop, they would pick me clean within five days. I once set out the carcass of the turkey we ate for Thanksgiving and within half an hour it looked like a museum specimen, nothing but bone!  

I would argue that chickens are not sentimental at all.  A good dog will at least mourn you a couple of days before it eats you (if it's in a starvation situation).  I like chickens and have lot a fun with them, but they just don't seem pet material. 
 
Deb Rebel
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They have figured out which genes to mess with to switch off feathers and get scales, turn off beaks and get teeth, and turn on a tail. They did not let these embryos mature. If they switched all three the other way you'd get a dinosaur...

That said, some people think you can make a pet out of almost anything... Sorry, I do think any poultry I own will be living outside my domicile. Unless I was raising those all black ones (Ayam Cemani) (even the meat and bones have black coloration) which can go for $2000 each. Those would rate their own room in the house at night.
 
William Bronson
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I run a chicken retirement home😏.
I'm not planning on eating them, they are all over two years old,and egg production is just a (small) bonus.
I had 4, had to kill one, have fought the city and my neibors to keep them, and I want more.

Right now I like them better than my dog😂, who is bug freaking nuts . The chickens are no problem at all.
 
I will suppress my every urge. But not this shameless plug:
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