a moral dilemma

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by elaineinspain, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. elaineinspain

    elaineinspain Songster

    Am looking for help because I need some outside opinion here. I have cochin hens, a cochin cockbird, buff orpington hens, a buff orpington cockbird, and a selection of pedresa hens and pita pinta hens. They are all in the same run together. I keep them for their gardening skills (earth tilling, and compost making) beauty and as a bonus for the eggs. They do sometimes go broody and sometimes hatch out their eggs. I am not a breeder, and let them inter breed amongst themselves. From last years hatch this has resulted in four pure breed buff orpington hens and what looks like two cochin x pedresa hens.
    My dilemma is this. My neighbour, who works the land next to mine but doesn't actually live here, has asked my husband for fertilised eggs. I am loath to give them to him as he already has some hybrid hens which he lets forage in his fields without any sort of fencing, enclosure or coop. He also has ducks which he treats in the same fashion. The ducks hatch out clutches of 12 - 15 babies every year, but we are not over run by ducks as they are sometimes killed by foxes and dogs (in the most vicious manner, as I'm sure you already know) and occasionally by my neighbour himself.
    Exactly this is the reason I am loath to give him my hens' fertilised eggs - he doesn't look after his birds, He lets them run free without any sort of protection. His fields are completely open, no fences or anything. I feel it would be irresponsible of me to give him fertilised eggs knowing that there is a good chance of the chickens that are hatched coming to an early and grizzly death.
    Am I being over sensitive?
    My husband is of the opinion that we eat the eggs, so what am I making a fuss about? He also pointed out that our neighbour regularly gives us produce that he has grown in the fields, and we should reciprocate, although I do pay him for the veggies he gives us, when he accepts payment which he sometimes doesn't.
    I just don't feel comfortable giving him the eggs to be incubated (by one of his broody ducks) and then, when hatched, the birds will be left to fend for themselves...
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Songster

    Oct 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    If you know he won't take proper care of them, don't give him any animals. It would be different if he was requesting apples or something else inanimate, and not animals that you know are going to suffer because of it. He might get hatching eggs elsewhere, but, no, you aren't obligated to give him fertile eggs.
    You can tell him point-blank that you disagree with his animal care, if you like, though that might sour relations somewhat. If you do, I'd do it politely. It might not have occurred to him to keep them another way. You could politely point out how often his birds are killed, and point out that healthy, happy birds with a coop to come home to at night lay more eggs and do so in the same place.
    If the birds are noticeably unhealthy as a result of their care, you might even be able to anonymously call the local cruelty prevention organization to come have a talk with him. That's hit-or-miss, though, some places probably won't care so much about birds. You could look up the local laws in your area and see if there's anything about poultry having to be given proper shelter and food.
  3. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    I mean, if the only problem is he free ranges in an area with heavy predation I would give them to him. Wild animals eat too. Lots of people believe that keeping some animals in enclosed spaces is cruel because even if they die early from roaming they get to really LIVE. It's not like we take all wild animals and put them into enclosures to keep them safe from being eaten by one another.
    You haven't mentioned whether these animals have a coop, food, water, basic healthcare etc. I think these factors make or break someones husbandry more than their personal opinions on the death of animals in the natural world.
    You said he sometimes culls his birds, but why? For target practice? That'd be terrible. For food? Are you vegan? Vegetarian? That's where food comes from for a lot of people...

    Ultimately you're not obligated to give him your eggs. You're not obligated to do anything for anyone. But I'd review the situation more closely and try to be logically consistent with my reasons for not wanting to give them before I passed judgement.
  4. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Crowing

    May 20, 2015
    Simple. Don't give your neighbor any eggs. Let your husband do it.
  5. Henry&Friends

    Henry&Friends Chirping

    May 6, 2018
    I would personally give him the eggs because they wouldn’t be my chickens- therefore not my problem. Maybe you could talk to him about building a coop or something? I had most of my flock killed by neighbors dogs, but the life they had seemed pretty good, which is all that matters in the long run. Like I always say, we’re here for a good time, not a long time. But not my eggs, not my decision
    biophiliac and WannaBeHillBilly like this.
  6. elaineinspain

    elaineinspain Songster

    His birds free range for all their food. He keeps the ducks to eat the snails in the fields and he keeps the chickens to control bugs. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact he told my husband that he'd like eggs from my hens because the hens at the tractor and supply have had their beaks cut and that hinders their ability to forage and that's why he wants to hatch eggs himself. He said he wants birds to eat the bugs, and I believe that's fine.
    I know he doesn't take his cats to the vet for neutering, and once I found one of his cats in my garden, unable to walk, with an injury on its back and I took it to the vet as the neighbour wasn't there. The vet said the injury had been made by air rifle pellets and the injury was quite old, so that tells me he doesn't take his animals to a vet for health care. The vet said the cat was malnourished and riddled with fleas. I'm not saying that HE shot at the cat. I don't believe he'd do that, but he either hadn't noticed the cat's injuries, or had noticed them and not done anything about them.
    Yes, he culls his birds sometimes, fine, but what I find distressing is that the birds are without a coop,and the fields here where the birds roam are all totally open farmland - no fences at all - pathways between the fields are the boundary lines.
    In the past my neighbour has complained to me about stray dogs attacking and killing his birds. I told him a secure coop would help, but he just smiled.
    I agree with you that free ranging is an optimal life for birds, if the free ranging area is protected from predators.
    Put it this way - if I had kittens, or puppies I wouldn't give him one if he asked for one that's for sure.
  7. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    I don't give fertile eggs to people who are bound to doom them.
    I'd just say no, they're your eggs so you can do that.:)
    elaineinspain likes this.
  8. Henry&Friends

    Henry&Friends Chirping

    May 6, 2018
    If you two could come to an agreement- say he builds a coop or does something to protect his animals- would you give him the eggs? It seems it would benefit him and the birds in the long run, perhaps you just need to explain to him?
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  9. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    Yeah, that's fair. No housing, no basic addressing of injuries, no food, no chickens. Pretty simple.
    I'd be willing to give benefit of the doubt on a lot of it. Like maybe if he had a barn for them to sleep in or the cat was a stray someone dropped off and I wouldn't be distressed leaving chickens open to free range in the fields since there's no way to actually predator proof such a large space without sinking a massive amount of money in fencing and even then there's hawks...

    But if the birds don't have housing, if their injuries go untreated even if it's basic at-home care/culling instead of a vet visit, if they're not fed a minimum in the evenings to make sure they're not malnourished at the end of the day, I would probably not give this person eggs. The animals might as well be wild under his care and that's not fair to domestic animals who aren't adapted to a completely wild environment.
  10. Biddybot

    Biddybot Chirping

    Aug 4, 2018
    HRM, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Just tell him sorry, no, I'd rather my chickens-to-be went to owners who value them as pets, not livestock, and leave it at that. I wouldn't give a pet cricket to a person like your neighbour. There's no point to it since you already have ample proof that he views the animals he owns differently than you do. Which is his right. Just as it's your right not to let him get his hands on any of YOUR animals if you don't like the way you know he'll treat them.
    elaineinspain likes this.

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