Wow...I am admittedly a "newbie" on here, but lurked for awhile before joining. I must say that I am a little taken aback by all the fierce arguments. I am from an area very close to Poultry Hollow. Two years ago, after successfully raising and releasing a set of turkeys, I decided I'd get some chickens, something I'd thought and studied about for awhile. Since I didn't need 15 or 25 chicks, and didn't want them to have to be shipped across the country (my dad retired from the post office), I found Poultry Hollow, gave them a call and rode out here.
At the end of a long country road (they had warned me ahead of time that it would seem like I was headed to the ends of the earth) I arrived at a large farm. There was a large barn where the brooders were located in a central alleyway, and a couple of pens (as in large, chain-link dog kennels) containing small numbers of birds, and a variety of poultry and animals happily wandering about. It is a farm, and being FROM a farm, the smell was not unpleasant at all, despite the fact that it was a warm day. While waiting on Ms. Judy to finish with other customers, I entertained myself enjoying the beautiful turkeys and other poultry strutting their stuff about the property. After discussing the breeds available I finally decided on two Dominique and two Buff Orpington pullets. I went with her to retrieve them from the brooders. The brooders were clean (someone was actually beginning to clean at the opposite end working towards us at the time). I saw no dead/dying/sick animals anywhere. She was knowledgeable about the breeds/their availability/ages and was quite helpful in discussing the merits of different breeds.
Here are my chicks about a week(?) after getting them home:
Here they are growing/grown up: Daisy
Peep & BigBird
I still have all of them but one (Daisy), who fell prey to a possum. They are egg-laying machines, friendly and happy birds that have been a joy to watch grow up. I do not show my chickens or plan on eating any of them. They are pets that are useful only in providing us with breakfast and plenty of entertainment. Despite "being from the country" I am intolerant of animals being treated poorly (I have reported neighbors in the past for their treatment of their livestock). That said, not everyone's standards are the same, what might be "filthy" to one person is "okay" with another. After spending the day in my city office/courtroom, I am maybe a little more cognizant when I arrive home and smell horse manure, dirt, hay, the grass and the creek--to me these are all welcoming smells. I didn't go out there expecting some medicinal, sterile factory...just a farm....and that is what it was. The animals all appeared happy and healthy and their upkeep seemed fine to me. I even sent some friends out and they got several chicks, ducks, and a pair of geese which they have been very pleased with. My babies were healthy and perky and in good condition and have remained so.
I plan on adding to my little flock this year, and if they have the breeds I am interested in, I may very well go back. I like being able to pick out my birds in person, not have them delivered. As far as the comments made by the owners on here, let me say this: my husband is self-employed and takes his business performance VERY personally...if people were talking bad, he would be confrontational as well...same as I would be if you were talking about my child/pets/home--the things that are important to me. All I am saying is for everyone to appreciate the others opinions without being harsh or overly critical or getting way too personal. I respect everyone's opinion, but it is mine that I have to live with.