Very cool use for less Han desired chickens! Never heard of a rodent allergy before. Interesting.
I was just talking about this today. My best layers are hens I got for free from others that were not hatchery chicks. Lesson learned! Still love my original girls, but there is a huge difference for sure. So that means when I get my dream property, I will be bugging all of you go fill my coop. That shouldn't be hard.
Rodents, especially mass produced and therefore crowded, produce a lot of dusty residue. Chicks do too, but just like some people are allergic to cats but not dogs, not all dust and dander are equal for people with allergies.
While I hate the idea of mass killing male chicks because they are not wanted, raising millions of mice and rats for the express purpose of killing them as snake food seems worse to me. Am I just rationalizing this in my mind to feel better?
Until I turn them over for snake food, they have a happy life, sleeping in uncrowded brooders and making the little trilling noises that chicks do.
I am not opposed to the large hatcheries, the hobby would not be where it is today without them. I prefer to get stock from smaller operations, and I like to sell to people just starting out with chickens. Those people (probably covers a lot of this audience) provide the ultimate life experience for their birds, caring for them and keeping them far longer than a business-type operation ever would. The pullets, when I sell them, have a much better chance of a good life ahead of them than anything else I can think of doing with them.