Feeling A Bit Discouraged

Hihamburger

Songster
May 1, 2018
178
259
147
I apologize for the length of this post. I am fed up with this situation. Absolutely fed up with it. So, if this is a rant, I'm sorry.

I feel like when you purchase a chicken, no matter your intentions, you should be willing to give it the best life possible and to care for it as such. Now, with that in mind, sit down and hold on tight, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

We have 36 or so chickens. 3 or 4 of which I purchased with my own money and a couple of which my sister bought with hers. I no longer live at home and have tasked my sister with ensuring that my chickens would be well taken care of. (I moved to an apt, and cant take them with me, so sad!) And, my parents seem to have no care in the world about the chickens. They aren't preparing for winter (I'm in NC, and in my area, we usually get quite a bit of snow and plenty of cold wind and rain!). And, when one of our chickens doesn't lay every day (because she is a Chantecler), my mom gets angry and wants to kill her because that means she isn't worth anything since she can't lay an egg a day like a production layer. And, to top it all off, they don't seem to care about the well-being of the chickens!

Yes, they feed them and ensure that they have water. But, I feel doing the bare minimum is not acceptable in this case. These chickens free-range, and have since they were around 1 month old. After one of the chickens got killed by a hawk, I advocated that we no longer allow free ranging due to size and the lack of a full-grown rooster to protect them. My pleas fell on deaf ears. They didn't care, and instead simply responded with: Well, that's to be expected. Honestly, I'm surprised we haven't lost more to hawk attacks. Then, very recently (within the last hour or so), my sister texted me and said that one of our chickens got hit by a car. (These chickens show no fear and regularly cross the road to go into a large field across from our house-- they have been slowing traffic down on our small back road for about a week or two now). However, only now are they simply considering building them a run due to another death. But, even this they are simply considering and might do it - eventually. And, I know some people separate cockerels from hens (from what I've read, it is usually due to aggression issues?), and my parents did that with two of ours. They stuck a small sebright cockerel in with a large black Australorp cockerel (the size difference was HUGE). They put them in a small coop (large enough for about 5-8 normal hens) and gave them a small run of about 16-20 square feet. Then, they never interacted with them. The hens still free-ranged and would walk far from the two boys. Eventually, the Australorp cockerel got very skittish due to low human interaction and started to flog the Sebright. This prompted my dad to go and try to separate the two via an insert into the run/coop area? It never came to fruition, because the cockerel (being scared of people now), jumped out from my dad's reach and accidentally scratched him. So, they killed the Australorp because "he was noisy and getting aggressive". I felt like this end was entirely preventable and unjust to the Australorp. Fearing for the life of my Sebright (who up until that point, had shown many good signs of being a good rooster by leading the hens to food and protecting them), I ended up giving him to a friend (Where he is now happily living with 10 hens and loving every minute of it!). My sister owns a Silkie cockerel (very lovely little boy) that they have now locked in the same coop where the Sebright and Australorp used to reside. I don't want him there during the winter because while I know Silkie's are cold hardy, I don't know if they will be alright alone. And, this coop is raised off of the ground and doesn't have a real floor, its floor is a hard-wire mesh. So, wind can easily come in and I'd imagine there is quite the draft. They don't even shut the door at night because the coop has a run attached to it made of chicken wire. So, that's good enough. Honestly, at this point, I feel like they are trying to get him killed. If I suggest letting him free-range with the girls, my mom will whine: I don't want fertilized eggs. I don't want to hear him crowing. I hate roosters, they're terrible. They're no good for a flock. There isn't any benefit to having a rooster!
When I argued that they could protect the flock, like from a potential attack, she cited: Then why didn't they protect Ophelia from the hawk?!
Not only did that hurt my feelings because I loved Ophelia (she was one of the Golden Comet's that I decided I liked the best, sweet little girl). But it was also a flawed argument. Because when that happened, they were all about a month or two old. The Australorp was still small, and only was beginning to make me question his gender. And, the Sebright was, well, a Sebright! He was TINY! He still is small! They could have done absolutely nothing to prevent that attack, they were too small and definitely not mature enough to know they need to protect the hens.


Maybe I'm a bit too attached and emotional, but, that to me shows a disrespect for the life of these animals that we have essentially pledged to protect from such dangers! Do y'all have any suggestions as to what to do in this situation? I'm pretty much powerless as not only do I not live there, but in their minds, they are the experts despite doing no research on these chickens (I'm the one who has) and this is their first time ever owning chickens. Ever. They refuse to listen to advice from people who have owned chickens for longer, and they refuse to listen to anything that does not go along with what they think.
 

Hihamburger

Songster
May 1, 2018
178
259
147
I’m so sorry for what you have been through, I wish I could help.

I just wish I could get it through their thick skulls that these are live animals, and they that must be treated with the same care and respect as any other animal! When we bought them, we didn't buy them for meat. Yeah, for egg-laying, but we still were making an unspoken promise to care for these animals to the best of our abilities, and they are not trying their best, they are doing the minimum required of them.
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,886
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Im sorry you are finding yourself in this situation. It sounds like you have tried talking to your parents and haven't gotten anywhere, so that avenue appears closed. Other than you and your sister picking up the slack and tending the chickens, I don't know what else you can do. Hopefully, you live close enough that you can go over and check in on them?
Also, people look at chickens in many ways, some as just a means for eggs and meat and others treat them and feel for them as any other pet.
:hugs
 

Hihamburger

Songster
May 1, 2018
178
259
147
Im sorry you are finding yourself in this situation. It sounds like you have tried talking to your parents and haven't gotten anywhere, so that avenue appears closed. Other than you and your sister picking up the slack and tending the chickens, I don't know what else you can do. Hopefully, you live close enough that you can go over and check in on them?
Also, people look at chickens in many ways, some as just a means for eggs and meat and others treat them and feel for them as any other pet.
:hugs

I actually live two hours away now. And, my sister can only do so much. If she does anything too much, my parents will complain that she is undermining them. And, I get that some people don't view them as pets, I get that. But, just allowing them to be killed? That doesn't seem like very smart animal tending to me. Even if you do just want them for meat and eggs, shouldn't you still do your best to ensure that your flock lives? And, if there is an easily remedied solution, shouldn't you do it?
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,886
437
Finger Lakes, NY
I actually live two hours away now. And, my sister can only do so much. If she does anything too much, my parents will complain that she is undermining them. And, I get that some people don't view them as pets, I get that. But, just allowing them to be killed? That doesn't seem like very smart animal tending to me. Even if you do just want them for meat and eggs, shouldn't you still do your best to ensure that your flock lives? And, if there is an easily remedied solution, shouldn't you do it?

Youre right and I totally get your frustration. Maybe your sister should think about rehoming her silkie roo, so he's not lonely and in a coop that's not sufficient. Maybe you and your sister can construct a run?
 

Hihamburger

Songster
May 1, 2018
178
259
147
Youre right and I totally get your frustration. Maybe your sister should think about rehoming her silkie roo, so he's not lonely and in a coop that's not sufficient. Maybe you and your sister can construct a run?

I actually tried to construct a temporary run once, for until I could get better materials, and my parents just took it down the next day. So, any work I do will just be undone.
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,998
6,505
666
Contra Costa county, Ca.
You're completely right, IMO. There also isn't much you can do about it. Other than rehoming the chickens that are yours, and maybe talking your sister into rehoming the silkie cockerel. It's very hard for parents to listen to their children that they are doing something wrong, It's unlikely that you will change their minds, if you haven't gotten through to them by now. Something that may get through to them, if one of the chickens being in the road causes an accident, your parents may be liable for damages. Some thing for them to think about, anyway. Good luck, try to put it behind you and know that you will do better when you can have animals again.
 

[email protected]

~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~
Aug 18, 2017
5,547
19,908
707
Caliente Nevada
I can feel how your heart hurts as I read your words. I see animals everyday that break my heart. I feed animals that aren’t even mine everyday. I try to make a difference for them. I can’t change their environment and I can’t push too far in these situations because people resent having something rubbed in their face ya know?
Do what you can.
Parents are people too. And nobody’s perfect. Sounds like you’re coming of age. Pivotal time in your life. Stay true to what’s in your heart it will serve you well because you sound kind and you seek knowledge.
My deep passion for animals came from anger. Anger is a powerful instrument of change. It made me angry how some animals were treated. I vowed I would NEVER be one of those people.
Don’t stop trying to educate people. Don’t stop learning.
Be kind your parents are your parents for as long as you live.
If your doing ~ the very best you can ~ in this situation then so be it.
Do what you can and pray on it. Don’t be discouraged.
Follow your heart.
Best wishes
 

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