Are chickens today more 'delicate' than those our grandparents had?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CarolynF, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. CarolynF

    CarolynF Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    This is a question I've been pondering for a while. Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but I find it both mysterious and amusing. Please don't take it too seriously, it's just a fun thing to think about and kick around a little bit. Okay? [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It seems that people today go to much greater lengths to feed and care for chickens. For instance we freeze their water, set up multiple fans, regulate their feed and cook for them; we buy crushed granite grit rather than using whatever is in the area, etc., etc. Of course I understand that better care is a good thing, and I don't have anything negative to say about taking really good care of them!!!

    But I keep wondering, how did our grandparents and great-grandparents manage to keep healthy productive flocks before electricity and scientifically engineered everything else? How did the flock stay cool, find the grit they needed, and eat healthy? Are today's chickens less hardy? Wish my grandparents were still alive to ask, but they'd be 135 years old... literally! [​IMG]
  2. quibs

    quibs Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2011
    New Jersey
    Some breeds, the more fancy the breed the less hardy they are normally. Most breeds however, no. We just baby them much more than they got back then
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    For instance we freeze their water - I don't

    set up multiple fans - I don't

    regulate their feed and cook for them - I don't

    we buy crushed granite grit rather than using whatever is in the area - I don't

    But I have mutts derived from dual purpose breeds. We all have different goals and set-ups. We treat them differently.
  4. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    i think people's mentality towards chickens has changed moreso than the animals themselves. many of our grandparents used to let their flocks free range over large properties, knowing that there would be losses, but with a survival of the fittest mentality. today, a lot of people treat them more like pets, and tend to keep much smaller numbers, so any losses are more strongly felt and therefore more heavily protected against.
  5. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd absolutely believe it, in general, for the points that you mentioned. I will admit I baby my birds. Not very often but my fancier breeds do require some maintaining and a bit more attention than the others.

    And also, alot of the hatchery birds we order are the offspring of birds that have been overbred and inbred over time.
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Quote:Same here.
    I will also add that I have very little Hatchery Stock most (90%) of my birds are dual purpose breeds or American Gamefowl both are from breeders.
    Hatchery stock fowl are more prone to health problems and seem to not take the "extremes" too well.

    Soot, half my bird free range (truly free range not running loose in a fenced in yard) 24/7 365 day a year even in the snow and the cold.

  7. harveyhorses

    harveyhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2010
    Well my grandparents raised all sorts of birds and they were not coddeled, but my grandmother did make them stuff. Sort of a mash with veggies and stuff and then bake it. She ran a kennel and made real honest to goodness Hush Puppies for dog treats. My brother and I got in trouble for snitching some, but boy they were good. My grandfather would put tarps up for shade and brease. Not pampered, but well taken care of.
    They cooked on a wood stove, and did not have electricity until about 1960, so I'd say they chickens were pretty lucky
  8. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2011
    Near Seattle
    I think when the city says you can only have X number of chickens, you have to take extra care of them to avoid a loss that really makes a difference in your numbers. Not that I give them ice water or fans or anything more than organic food and treats... and lots of protection. And sometimes I sing to them. But hey, who cares, they're just chickens, they seem to like it better than anyone else does [​IMG]
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I guess I go a little overboard helping my animals. It's usually weather related though. Right now where I live it's been super hot so I usually add ice to their water. I have to change the water anyway so its no biggie to add ice. I have a garden so I throw some veggies that I can't sell into the ice box's & feed to them. Poor birds can't take their down jackets off. I don't wanna loose a bird if I don't have too. Hot weather is hard on them .I go out & check on em & their panting like crazy. To answer the question about my grandparents they didn't raise chickens but they did raise cows & I'm sure they provided great care to their livestock.
  10. chickmashnoon

    chickmashnoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think they are weaker BECAUSE we baby them. back then they were just livestock, and if they couldn't take the heat, cold, or forage well, they just didn't get a chance to breed. Because we don't allow as much stress on them, the ones that can't handle the extremes never get weeded out. However, I like my chickens enough as pets rather than just livestock that I'm not willing to weed them out that way, so it will just have to continue.

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