Originally Posted by mainechicklet
Beekissed, I agree with you. But in the middle of winter, the local sanctuary was called to a local farm animal hoarder who had 60+ chickens (plus 20 sheep, goats, rabbits, horses).....every breed in the mags. I adopted them from the sanctuary. I didn't know what breeds they were until I got home and started researching. And it didn't really matter because they would've lived either with me or 20 miles down the road at the crowded sanctuary. They seem to be fine with the exception of my one who shouldn't be molting in Jan anyway. I really prefer not to kill her because she's very cold for one month and fine for 11 months. Btw: some of them are missing toes from their past hoarder life, including my NN who has no toes at all. Sad.
Sad, but you have the power to correct the wrongs. I'd cull all of those birds missing digits and that are unsuitable for your climate, giving them a quick end instead of a lingering, uncomfortable life. Two wrongs do not make a right and our "compassion" can get in the way of common sense and true compassion towards the animals in our care.
Whether in your home or the sanctuary down the road, the fact remains that keeping an animal alive that is going to continue to suffer in one way or another in their lives by living there or living without all their toes is rather cruel. It's an effort that makes one appear to be very kind and compassionate but it doesn't take the quality of life into consideration at all.
Birds that are crippled often suffer in social aspects within a flock, either from getting picked upon or being unable to adjust to their weakness. Their owners claim they "seem happy" and "are doing fine" but, in reality, they tend to be isolated quite a bit due to their deformity. They can either react to that in developing defensive, aggressive tendencies or they will self isolate so they won't be pecked upon so much. There's exceptions to every rule, it's true, but for the most part it's instinct on the flock's part to drive weak birds from the flock.
Blooie found that out when she kept her cockerel with the crippled feet....soon he was engaging in behavior that was decidedly unnatural, showing abnormal aggression towards his own hens and hurting them in ways that a rooster should never do to a hen.
As for those not suited for the environment, they may do just fine but as you've already noted, they aren't exactly comfortable. My hen that was bald during winter didn't show any signs whatsoever that she was any more cold than the others. I placed my hand on her as she roosted and the skin was very warm. If it had not been, if she had been noticeably shivering, I'd have taken mercy on her and culled her. It's not a kindness to let an animal suffer, nor is it a great solution to heat a coop and overheat all the other birds for a single bird's benefit.
Of course, that's just my opinion and another can take it or leave it, as they see fit. Everyone has to do what is right in their own world and minds and will answer for that and give their own accounting, so one cannot dictate to another how to proceed.