Are Your Chickens Livestock or Pets?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Morrigan, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Here most are livestock, most. All are known as individuals where relationships over multiple generations are tracked in a ledger. A percentage of the livestock birds have names as well, like one does with lead cows or horses A very small number are outright pets and suffer intense handling, especially by the public. Some in last group are selected shortly after hatch although a fair number are selected after demonstrating exceptional productivity during their productive lifetime. The livestock birds have culling start almost from hatch and it continues up until about 5 years post-hatch. Birds allowed to past the 5 year mark start getting the pet treatment and that can last an additional several years.
  2. BrindleFinch

    BrindleFinch Songster

    Mar 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    Definitely livestock, but I suppose that goes for any animal around here. Maybe it's a weird view to have, but my opinion has always been that every creature, from a spider to an elephant, serves a purpose on this earth and that their lives matter.

    In the spirit of this, I suppose our chickens get treated as though they were pets - but because I view each of them as valuable individuals and firmly believe that kindness and compassion is the way to raise any animal. I want to do what's best for them / healthiest / "the best," because I value their lives and the food/resources they give me to continue mine. No animal should ever be treated poorly. The line between livestock and pet, to me, is only that I don't generally think of eating one. They still all get love and appreciation and treats and anything I can think of to make their lives better.
  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    I'm still not quite sure what the differences are between pets and livestock.
    I can only think of one and that is in general, although in some cultures the line may not be so clear, is people don't eat their pets.
    I will eat one of the chickens, but my interest in them isn't primarily as a food source.
    Are they pets then?
    Given a choice I would like to look after rescue chickens and I doubt I would eat any of those. I'm not sure they would be my pets though.:confused:
  4. Frazzemrat1

    Frazzemrat1 Free Ranging

    May 8, 2017
    Eastern Connecticut
    I can honestly say that mine straddle the fence on that one. I've treated them equally as pets that give me food, and livestock that entertains. Pets live in the house, and the only time my chickens have ever lived in the house was when they were in the brooder. I would like to get a meat flock going, but I haven't done that yet. Yes, it will be hard for me, at least the first time, but I know I could do it because I'd rather eat food that I've raised than the store stuff.
    Mimi’s 13, RUNuts, muddy75 and 4 others like this.
  5. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    What’s become important to me isn’t why people keep chickens, it’s how they keep chickens.
    I look after chickens here for the people who own the property; i.e. they’re not my chickens.
    These people exhaled a lot of hot air about knowing the provenance of their food, self sufficiency, running a small holding, e.t.c. and went out and got animals. They’ve had lots of animals here and most of them died; rabbits, ducks, dogs, guinea fowl, donkeys, sheep and of course chickens.
    Not many of these animals died because the got killed for food, they died from ignorance and neglect.

    I’ve heard them talking about what they’ll ‘get’ next and what they want. I suppose if one didn’t know them better one might call them foodie types wanting a particular lifestyle. The problem is they want this imaginary lifestyle some of the time and anyone who comes from a farming back ground or had run a small holding knows it isn’t really a part time undertaking. Animals need care when they need it, nor when you haven’t got anything more interesting to do, or want to travel, or go up town for a show, or have guests for dinner.

    They get books and read a few chapters and don’t seem to even understand what the book is telling them. So just as an example a book they got on chickens stated not to put a mesh floor in a coop unless the coop was on the ground; common sense really, the wind blows under it and it’s easy access for predators. They build a coop very badly three feet off the ground! Mention these things to them and you get ‘oh it’s just a bit of fun’. But it isn’t much fun for the animals.
    Some days nobody remembered to let the chickens out until midday. Itget close to 40 degrees in the coops during the summer with the doors shut!

    So, it all starts off with the right intentions but later boredom, or disinterest, creep in and the animal welfare plummets. In short they’re irresponsible and arrogant.

    You can read on these forums others who have done much the same. It starts off with ‘oh lets get’ and ends up with some dubious explanation that the reason they don’t care for their chickens in an adequate fashion is due to some sort of ideological outlook based around non interference, when I suspect they just can’t be bothered any more; the financial and time commitment hadn’t been fully realised. Keeping any sort of animal is often likely to be inconvenient and outright hard work.

    Unfortunately chickens have acquired the reputation of being easy to keep; 'oh, you just throw them a bit of grain every now and then and they’re fine' type of attitude. I don’t call the care, I call that neglect.
    I’m going to use a couple of people who contribute to this forum of one extreme of chicken keeping
    EggSighted4Life and aart.

    Neither of these people keep chickens for reasons that I would. However, look at their coops. Read about why they keep chickens and how much effort they’ve put into learning about them. They’re a lot fussier about feed and flock condition than I am. I don’t think you could accuse either of these people of chicken neglect, or ignorance.
    There are others who keep chickens as pets who take equally good care of their chickens if you read their posts. I’m not going to mention them because they may not be as thick skinned as the two above.

    Unfortunately given the current craze there are many, many, more people who are going and ‘getting’ chickens like they are buying a product and you just know from reading the posts that the novelty is going to wear off, some are going to grow up and find other interests, others are going to be like the people I keep chickens for and others you wouldn’t let near a virtual reality doll.
    Very few of these people are going to suffer through their ‘lifestyle’ changes but the chickens, what happens to them?
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees with @Shadrach ....defining the meaning of 'pet' and 'livestock' is going to be seriously subjective... so, different for everyone. I won't even attempt to define that, even for myself....except to say I'd take a sick dog to the vet, but not a chicken. I'd never eat my dog, or any dog, unless maybe I was truly starving(I don't think anyone really knows what they'd do in that case). But my dogs cats parakeets cockatiels finches turtles frogs fish and even insect 'pets' that I have had are also not my 'children' and I am not their 'mother'. I've given birth twice, buried one of them....non human animals are not children or family members. Anthropomorphism is an unhealthy thing, IMO...animals can be an important and satisfying part of our lives, but they are not humans.

    I keep chickens for food, eggs and meat, where I provide and control the environment they grow in, because I believe animals should live in a decent environment even(maybe especially) if I am going to kill and eat them. It's not as much about 'purity' of food source as it is about taking personal and pragmatic responsibility for the food source. I like to eat chicken and should be able to kill one if I want to eat chicken...not that I personally slaughter every animal I eat, tho much of the meat I do eat is raised 'responsibly' by people I know. But if I am going to keep chickens for eggs and hatch out more replacement layers, I have to face the fact that half those chicks will be male and I can't keep them all, the older hens are not going to be productive enough to house and feed them, so I kill and eat them. It's a realistic and also economic decision, I can't afford to feed nonproductive birds, egg sales pay for their feed, and also a crowded environment is not a decent one.

    Although my chickens are food animals it doesn't mean (believe it or not) that I am coldly unfeeling about killing a bird or watching an animal suffer needlessly when ill or injured(they are euthanized), or that I don't feel some affection for(some of) the chickens in my care. I greatly care and astutely observe their antics and behaviors, because it fascinates(entertains?) me and I need to do that to make sure they have what they need to be healthy, comfortable.... and, yes, productive.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  7. Helloworld

    Helloworld Songster

    Jul 17, 2018
    Down on the Suwannee River
    We have chickens as pets and some for livestock.
    Criticalicious and townchicks like this.
  8. BirdsInParadise

    BirdsInParadise Songster

    May 9, 2016
    townchicks likes this.
  9. Shorty22366

    Shorty22366 Songster

    Jan 1, 2018
    Hobgood, North Carolina
    My chickens are pets..
    townchicks likes this.
  10. Tortoise

    Tortoise Songster

    Aug 19, 2018
    ALL animals when ill or injured needs to not suffer! It's animal neglect/abuse if you do nothing! No matter what way you try to justify it, it's still neglect/abuse!

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