My dh came home the other day saying a friend knew a big local egg farmer who was getting rid of about 60 chickens. We could have as many as we want for free. He does this annually with the older, but still laying hens, to refresh his flock. We don't have room for many, but we said we'd take three. Friend arrived today with crates of birds when dh was at work. I just about puked. The birds were so pecked, most had no back or breast feathers, many were raw. The open bed of his truck smelled from them. I couldn't figure out what the smell was at first, but I think I have it down to a smell of blood. They are in terrible shape and smaller than our not-yet four month old Barred Rock chicks, even though they are about 18 months old. These friends have got chickens from this farmer before, and said that after a while of being in their new environment, their feathers grow back and they begin to look like healthy chickens. The whole thing is disgusting. I can't believe people would keep animals, "even chickens," in such a way to encourage pecking to this point. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. DH won't be home from work until late into the night, and I have no choice but to put these new birds in the coop with the others. I want to just leave them out in the run (they can get covered shelter under the coop), but am concerned the smell of blood will attract coyotes or other predators. So far they are the ones trying to dominate our existing flock, instead of our birds going after them because they've been pecked red. This was a real eye-opening experience for me. When I think about commercial eggs, whether in the store, or from a farmer selling them at the local market, and the treatment of these birds, it makes me really happy that we have our own source for eggs and will not be contributing/condoning the treatment of these animals by purchasing eggs. The whole thing is just really sad.