Why do we need another chicken blog or forum?

Many chicken forums are moderated to sell commercial feed, chemicals and ideology.
I prefer to find my own balance between nature, welfare and cost in raising happy chickens.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We're not meat, we're chickens! (Unless we're being nasty...)

I often feel the term 'meat hybrid' is slightly cruel. It isn't of course, but I can see why mass scale farmers might be tempted to view them as meat even while they're alive. They do some silly things sometimes (like nearly flattening one another in their race for food).
 But I still think they're sentient in some way. They have personalities, even if they don't carry those differences to an extreme (in a prey animal that flocks together, individuality is a curse). And who's to say this fellow isn't thinking?

Stepping into the tractor is always an adventure. Firstly they crowd at the front so much it's hard to find a clear spot to tread — I have to carefully nudge them away with my feet. Secondly they like to try to eat anything that presents itself — fingers, bucket, toes — and if it's not edible, some of them will square up to the stray object (such as the feed scoop) and try to start a boxing match. Yet they're quite nice creatures, and I haven't seen any of them squaring up to one another.

The layers are a slightly different story when it comes to both temperament and making pets. Since these are to be breeders I've had to be a bit firmer when it comes to aggression between the birds (they're not aggressive at all toward me). One of the leghorn x (the white birds) was really making life hell for the others, so I've removed him. It doesn't make sense to raise cockerels to adulthood before dispatching if they're going to harm each other. Fortunately now that he's gone the remaining cockerels are getting along quite well.

The removed bird was processed into healthy dinner for my beloved flock protector. Although only 7 weeks old and a layer, he still provided my dog with her complete daily meal, and nothing was wasted (except the feathers, head, feet and intestines). I feel it was a fairly good result from a non-ideal situation.

So that's today's round-up, with ups and downs (and probably some contradictions)...

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