Adopt, don't shop.
We bought our first chickens. We selected Ameraucanas based on their breed traits: docile, not broody, bears confinement well, and the fact that they were good layers. We bought them as young hens who just started laying. Ginger, Cayenne, and Pepper taught us how awesome chickens are, and how they can be wonderful companion animals.
When Cayenne died, we bought two more hens. But this time, we wanted to experience raising baby chicks. We were secretly hoping they would have a deeper bond with us. We got Poppy and Sage, two 1-week old fuzzy balls of cuteness. We setup a brooder, and sat back to watch them grow. Actually there wasn’t a lot of sitting and watching, baby chicks require constant care and monitoring. We had to take turns working from home and install a webcam in the brooder. Our babies were very messy, and the more they grew the bigger the mess. We were quite happy when they graduated to live outdoor.
Around the time we lost Pepper, a friend bought a dog instead of getting one from a shelter. This made us realize that we were doing the same with our chickens! We adopted our dog and cats, why not adopting a chicken? So we adopted Thyme and Lavender, two hens rescued from an egg factory. They were quite amazing individuals. Despite the terrible conditions they came from, they were full of life, enjoying each moment at its maximum. We developed a very special bond with them.
Like dogs and cats, many chickens are waiting for their forever home. There are many reasons why they become rescue chickens, and none is their fault. Their people may have moved, or realized that keeping chickens costs more than expected or takes too much time. They may have been dumped because they are roosters, or produce fewer eggs. They may have been confiscated by animal control, or rescued from an egg factory (see last month newsletter about ex-commercial hens).
Adoption not only saves a life, but also makes yours easier.
By adopting an adult chicken, you are skipping the time consuming and messy job of raising a chick. With an adult chicken, you also know the gender. No surprise rooster, nor the agony of deciding what to do with him!
You can find adoptable chickens in most dog & cat shelters, bird and farmed animal rescue organizations. Websites like Adopt A Bird Network, petfinder, and Adopt a Pet connect you with rescue organizations that have chickens in your area.
You can even find some chickens to rescue on craiglist or online chicken groups. Just make sure you are not buying chickens from a backyard breeder or someone hatching eggs and raising chicks for profit.
Did you know?
99% of all eggs and chicks come from hatcheries, and they are no better than puppy mills.
The parents and grandparents are bred and the less desirable offspring are killed in order to control the bloodlines. They are de-beaked and kept in sheds until their time is up.
The fertilized eggs are artificially incubated, the chicks never meet their mothers, and they are inhumanely shipped via mail (not all make it alive to destination).
In fact hatcheries are even worse than puppy mills because they kill the boys just after hatching (because not enough people want or can keep roosters).