I don't know if it's because I've taken such a strong interest in preserving GOOD quality chickens or if it's because I'm losing my soul as one person accused me of, but my opinion regarding culling has changed. We had a Silkie born completely deformed yesterday. I mean, leg and wing are completely fubar - no chance of her leading a normal life at all. She was walking around fine still (or so I tried to justify that she was) but she was "walking" on one leg and either her chest or her beak for balance. How is that okay to let her live? I've seen others who let chickens live and tube feed them daily because the chicken is so severely cross-beaked that he or she cannot even eat by his or herself. How is that okay? I'm not saying this to influence others into killing anything that isn't "exactly perfect" but to me - if they are not able to be a chicken and live as chickens should it's not being very "humane" to allow them live this way. We decided to cull that Silkie and I feel 100% good about the decision...she's in a much better place now, even if there is no "place" per say, depending on your beliefs, for deceased animals. We have a GLB that has recently begun showing signs of developing vulture hocks - which are clearly a big no-no in the Brahma world. My immediate reaction was "cull it", he's not a good quality Brahma because of those hocks that are starting to appear. We don't keep roosters because we're not allowed to, we rehome them. Because of that I wanted to cull him - I don't want to provide someone with a rooster that is a) positively nasty in temper and b) he now is showing signs of hockies already and he's still very young. Because of me, someone may get that roo and breed the ever-lovin' crazies out of him and spread a bunch of chicks with vulture hocks all over flocks everywhere, and then those chicks create other chicks and those create more chicks - all with vulture hocks. No wonder people have a hard time getting varieties standardized! Pretty soon, years and years and years down the road, it's totally fine for a Brahma to NOT look like a Brahma even according to the "standard" which by that time may change due to the gradual change in all these birds that are now different than what they were intended to be due to too many people saying "have a heart, let it live". My husband doesn't like chickens...he doesn't hate them but he "tolerates" me having them. In any case, even he flipped a biscuit and said "that's a perfectly healthy bird we're not killing it, what's wrong with you?" There's nothing "wrong" with me, but there comes a certain point where I decided (I guess) to leave my heart out of it and think with my brain instead. If people just let everything live when it comes to chickens - we'd have absolutely no breeds at all. We'd have a mish-mash of all sorts of backyard mixes and be left with nothing that was initially created to be what it is. How is that right? When I first arrived here I was extremely naive in regard to chickens and breeds. I literally thought chickens were chickens...bawk bawk, plop an egg and some looked different than others but I had NO idea there were actual *breeds* of chickens, and an APA that has SOP in regard to what each of those breeds are supposed to be. In good conscience, whether I'm breeding them personally or not (which I'm not as of yet) - I still am starting to have some pretty serious "fits" if a chick I have isn't exactly what it is supposed to be in every single aspect. The ONLY exception I have to this is a purposeful mix such as an EE or OE or something similar, that was purposely bred to be different in which case there are no standards per say, regarding that bird. Chickens aren't people, they are chickens. I LOVE chickens and I still cuddle with mine every single day. Snickerdoodle fell asleep up my sweatshirt sleeve just last night, it was precious. BUT....I've gone from "Let them all live and be free and happy" and I was basically poopin Skittles rainbows and lollipops. It's been almost three months since I joined this site and in that time I have gone from that to - if it's not the way it's was made to be (by breed definition) it shouldn't be breathing. So what's wrong with me? I don't think anything is wrong with me and I don't think I've "lost my soul" (please, eyeroll). I just think that I'm more educated now than I was before (only slightly, I have a TON to learn still), but my priorities have changed and I no longer believe it's okay to let every chicken be a chicken. If by chance one of our chickens escapes and someone else homes it with their flock - and breeds it... that would be partially *my* responsibility for allowing a breed flaw into my flock in the first place. I'm not so drastic as to say "kill kill killl" and I'm not a psycho but...I'm still trying to figure out why my oh-so-strong feelings on this subject has changed so much in such a short time and why I have this obsession with having to have perfect chickens. I LOVE easter eggers (did I mention that already?) and those are exceptions as are any chickens that are purposely bred to be different. :ks from incoming tomatoes while hoping there is someone out there that hasn't "lost their soul" and agrees with me on this?:: [Edited to add] I had this discussion (briefly) at TSC with an older man and his grandson. They were there picking up 10 bags (holy crap that's a lot of feed) of layer feed. After saying my viewpoint his grandson said "well they are alive you can't just pick and choose what you think should live, that's not right." and his grandfather said "Yes she can, it's called good breeding ethics" (but I'm not a breeder). In any case, this man was about 70 I would guess, and he breeds nothing but New Hampshires. I said "you mean new hampshire reds right?" and he said no...he said he's not sure where the "new-fandangled red" comes from but that he "don't breed those dern things" lol - now I have to find out what the difference is between the two. In any case, to me it sounds like a pretty good example of people letting "whatever" live - it becomes something it wasn't before. Unless they are two different breeds in which case, disregard that last bit.