Do we interfere/worry too much these days?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HollyWoozle, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Short answer...Yes.
    Some good answers already, hit the points I would have made
    Romance trumps Reality...and it's a damn shame.
  2. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Oh yes, I worry about the chickens here. They shouldn’t be here.

    I often read in response to questions about chicken keeping something along the lines of ‘we all do things differently’ and ‘you do what you feel is right for you and your chickens’; it seems to be some sort of trend emulating those politicians that can’t answer a direct question and don’t have any convictions other than do what’s necessary to get re elected.
    I have convictions…..It doesn’t make me right.
    How about we do what’s right for the chicken?
    Of course, everyone will have different ideas about what is right for the chicken.
    I’ll start with a basic conviction:

    1) what’s best for the chicken is we leave them alone.

    Of course one counter argument will be, but we’ve bred all the survival traits out of them and they need our protection and care now.
    See 1)!

    I’m a realist though and keeping chickens isn’t going to stop so it then becomes a question of how we keep them.
    There are roughly two views, free range and captive; there are of course all the grey area in between.
    Which is better for the chicken?

    I cannot convince myself that captivity is best for any creature. Maybe it’s because I think in terms of what I would or wouldn’t want, but when I look at the chickens here free ranging and then try to think about what they would look like in cages any doubts I might have had fade away.
    So, here’s my simple answers to very complex issues.

    Did you buy your chickens?
    If yes, then damn right you should worry about them. They are your responsibility. Worry yourself sick and next time you see some cute little fluffy ball at some store or other, or think it would be great idea to have fresh eggs, or meat you know the provenance of, keep the ‘responsibility’ word in mind.

    Did you get given your chickens?
    Yep still worry. If you accepted them then once again they are your responsibility.
    Did some chickens just turn up at your place and take up residence?
    Don’t worry, not your problem.

    2) Once you’ve got the above sorted then you can think about what kind of environment and care is best for them.

    If you don’t already have chickens and are thinking of getting some then worry about 2) before you ‘get’ anything.:)
  3. steve232

    steve232 Songster

    Jan 25, 2015
    North Carolina
    I've been sitting here reading these responses and there are some great responses but not one of them addresses my pet peeve about chickens. Throw away those &%^*&% incubators. Chickens are perfectly capable of breeding and raising their own babies. Guess I'm just old fashioned but chickens were meant to be hatched under a hen and raised by a mother hen. I don't know of anything more enjoyable in chicken keeping than watching a mother hen out with her babies and teaching them to forage. Its my belief that a chicken hatched under a mother hen and raised by her is much healthier and happier than a chicken hatched in an incubator and kept under lights with heat. Mother hens provide all the heat a baby needs and makes your job of raising baby chicken much easier. Mama knows best of how to care for her babies and if their cold. Also integrating into the flock is no problem. I keep a broody hen on eggs in a separate coop while she is sitting on eggs. Once the babies hatch I keep her and the babies in that coop the first week while the babies get stronger. Then at free range time I let the hen and her babies out to mingle with the flock and mama takes care of the integration. Sure those chickens hatched in hatcheries may lay more eggs but do they lay as long as a "natural raised" hen. I started with some Rhode Island Red Heritage chickens and have added a few chickens of other breeds including a couple of barred rocks. I have some black sex links as a result and according to those hatcheries they don't go broody. Well the ones I raise do go broody and in fact I'm gonna throw in a picture of one of mine with her babies and then I'm gonna make myself stop typing. I could go on a lot longer on this subject but by now if your still with me you are probably getting sleepy.
  4. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Oh don't worry, that's been covered in many other threads. I happen to agree with you.
  5. AudieWarren

    AudieWarren Songster

    May 17, 2018
    Free ranging in Ga
    I agree!!!! This past spring I intentionally bought breeds that go broody. I'm hoping to have a self sustainable flock. Just change out roosters every so often. I tried the incubator this year mainly for my turkeys, but I've decided to let them do what they do as well. Mother nature knows what she's doing.
  6. roosterhavoc

    roosterhavoc Free Ranging

    Jan 5, 2012
    Incubators aren’t as bad as chicken clothing, shoes and aprons. If you need these your doing something wrong. No crow collars should be illegal. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.
  7. SeramaMamma

    SeramaMamma Songster

    Jul 12, 2017
    Yeah. We do. But we expect chickens to live longer, as pets. Used to be they were culled after they quit laying well or if they got sick. I personally try to have a balance. I don't medicate a healthy bird. I breed a rare breed, so the health and long lives of my breeding birds is important and it may not be in a production or hobby flock. If I lose a superb sire early to something preventable that's bad for my breed.
  8. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

    Aug 1, 2015
    My Coop
    I incubate for a few different reasons. First, for me it's easier than setting up a place where the hens can safely go broody. If they do it in the nest box, then I'm down to three for the rest of the flock, and even less than that if I have more than one batch of eggs going, which is often. Also, I then have to make sure the chicks get down safely after hatch without free-falling. Some let them do that, but that seems unwise. If you wouldn't drop a chick on the carpet, why make hours-old chicks jump onto hard wood? If I separate them in a safe location, then that's one more pen I have to feed and water and one less pen for other uses. I generally have to have them away from the flock until they're a week old, too, because my broodies are bantams and can't adequately protect their chicks from being ganged up on by LF. They try, oh, they try; but they're so tiny themselves. Maybe once I have more broody full size hens that I trust with eggs this won't be an issue. The steps up to my coop are too high for chicks, so the hens end up going UNDER the coop to sleep with their babies, which is prime weasel territory. Then I end up half under the coop at 9 PM with a rake and some choice words. Not fun. Incubating is already sounding easier and easier. Under my setup, it is. I move them from incubator to a downstairs brooder with a heat pad and deep litter bedding, which I change twice or so per season, and then I move them outside once it's warm, which it usually is by a few weeks of age on the first batch. Integration is easy, because I free range. One extra bird doesn't get noticed much and the little ones have enough space to hide from bullies. By that age, they're big enough that one peck doesn't flip them over and make them scream like the day olds under broodies.

    The big reason, though? When it's freezing cold out, which is when I have to hatch in order to make sure they're grown enough for the extras to make fall processing day, and to keep them from getting severe frostbite, broodies are few and far between. They're all busy keeping their own toes warm. The only ones available are the super dedicated bantams, but they can't really keep the eggs warm. Also, I enjoy the incubating process. Can't watch them hatch under a broody, eh?
    If my situation was different, though, I'd likely do more broody hatches. I agree that foraging and social skills are accelerated, but I haven't noticed any difference once they reach adulthood.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  9. Grits&Eggs

    Grits&Eggs Songster

    Apr 16, 2018
    My Coop
    Backyard Chickens in the city are becoming more popular, I am one of those jumping on this band wagon, it is a small flock, but with different stresses (I imagine) from those raising free range larger flocks about what the neighbors think, code enforcement that rides by to check the neighborhood etc. I enjoy the eggs and try to do the best for my girls!
    janiedoe, HollyWoozle, imneva and 2 others like this.
  10. townchicks

    townchicks Free Ranging

    Dec 1, 2016
    Contra Costa county, Ca.
    My 2 cents worth (maybe 1 1/2 cents worth). Yes, our grandparents and maybe even our parents did things differently. Some points to remember: 1) Most people back then, raised chickens for food. No old chickens around, and young chickens tend to be healthier.
    2) Most people raised their own chicks, so those chickens were adapted to the area, and not fancy breeds, either. Only the healthiest chicks made it to adulthood, also. So we had a bit of natural selection going on there. Because people raised their own chicks, most flocks were closed flocks, so less disease.3) There WERE losses, just nobody made a big deal out of them. If it was a predator, they were hunted down and killed. If it was disease, it was tossed to the pigs, or dogs. Or the compost pile. It happens, people were more pragmatic about it. 4) Worms and mites were probably less of a concern, because the chickens didn't live long enough for a lethal number to build up.
    Times have changed. The way we live has changed, it used to be, city or country. Now the burbs are exploding. So people can have a few chickens, but not the way our ancestors did. It is not just the chickens care that has changed, however, it used to be dogs got fed table scraps, and had fleas, and roamed loose, (and got shot by the farmer down the way for chasing his sheep, or run over by a car), and 10 was a ripe old age for the few that survived. Cats lived in barns, survived on mice and a sip of milk in the morning, and excess kittens were drowned. Should we go back to that?
    I don't let my dog or cat have fleas, and I don't let my chickens have mites. None of my animals run loose, it keeps them safe, and they don't bother my neighbors.They still have a very good quality of life. Including the chickens. When we know better, we do better.
    Nardo, janiedoe, HollyWoozle and 7 others like this.

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