I fell in love with chickens. Now what?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by marlaw, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. marlaw

    marlaw In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2019
    Hello all! I started working at a major rural retailer this year--right in the middle of the baby chick selling season. As someone aspiring to be a vegetarian (an animal lover in general), dealing with the little ones that didn't make it in shipping was very difficult for me. To get through the existential crisis, I decided I would invest every available moment of my day in the care of the chicks. I tried to make sure they were all as comfortable and happy as they could be while they were in the store. I always kept quite a few chicks at any given time by my desk in the back to give the small or sick ones a little extra care. Long story short, I became really attached. I loved working with the chicks (and those crazy ducks!) so much!

    Now the season is almost over and I am sad that I won't have chickens in my life anymore. My husband and I have always talked about starting a small hobby farm on our property. After this experience, I would very much like to have some chickens of my own. I like the idea of raising and selling heirloom breeds to hopefully break even on their care--but I would have a hard time selling them if I knew they were most likely going to end up as someone's dinner. Are their any kind of opportunities for a vegetarian chicken farmer? I watched a documentary about chicken people last year that show chickens and thought that might be something I could get into. Thoughts?

    Thanks for listening!
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC. The problem with hatching and raising chickens is that 50 % or slightly more will be cockerels. For someone like you 'what to do' with all of those roosters would be a problem. You might want to consider a pullet / hen flock of sex link birds. That would eliminate the rooster problem.
  3. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

    Nov 27, 2017
    Monterey, California
    If you eat eggs, then I would say build or buy a coup and run. Then start a flock of your own!

    I want to say that I really appreciate people like you working at a feed store and taking extra special care of those precious little babies.

    I really get mad when I stop by a feed store and see empty or filthy waterers, empty feeders, or feeders filled with the wrong type of feed, freezing cold chicks because the brooder lights are improperly placed or have burned out bulbs, etc.

    Honestly considered working or volunteering at one of those places when I can retire out of my current job just to make sure the chicks, ducklings, etc are properly looked after.

    Plus I could actually properly advise those that are buying the chicks about the proper feed and care. I actually got upset when I heard a feed store employee telling people to just feed chicken scratch for their chicks, ducklings, and baby turkeys!!!

    Another time a different feed store employee was telling people their white leghorns were heavy meatbirds, and advised feeding them turkey starter as it made them grow faster!
  4. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
    Good for you for trying to help the chicks at the store and wanting to find a way to make their lives better.
    I know you don't like the thought of others eating chickens but maybe if you look at it a little differently, it would help. Think how much better the lives of the farm raised cockerels would be prior to being processed than the meat birds in the factories.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Thank you for joining us at Backyard Chickens -the pulse beat of the chicken community.
  6. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Corning, NY
    Welcome to our FUNomenal Flock! :celebrate
  7. marlaw

    marlaw In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2019
    That's a good point. This is all very fresh and I'm still in the research stages...just googled why you shouldn't have too many roosters. Eeek! Thank you!
  8. marlaw

    marlaw In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2019
    Thank you! Happy to be here!
  9. marlaw

    marlaw In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2019
    I do eat eggs--I'm really considering starting a flock of my own! I'm looking up books on Amazon to learn what I can!

    Thank you for saying that--it has honestly been my pleasure to take care of them. The situations you describe really upset me when I see them, too. Taking care of the chickens after they came in wasn't actually part of my job but I just kind of inserted myself, lol. I felt strongly enough about their care that I didn't care if I got fired for taking too much time tending to them--but luckily that wasn't an issue at all. If I ran out of time in the day, I would actually clock out at the end of my shift and do cleanings and feedings as a personal favor for the night shift so I could at least rest easy until I came back in the morning.

    It would be awesome if you could find a place that would let you help out. It would be so helpful! They really do need it! I saw so many problems in the process--lack of training being the biggest one...it just perpetuates problems and the chicks suffer for it. Luckily I work with some good folks that know chickens. And most of the customers I dealt with were really experienced farmers so I ended up enjoying my first chick season much more than I thought I would!
  10. marlaw

    marlaw In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2019
    I think my biggest hang ups stem from factory farming, genetic testing, steroid use, and mistreatment on a massive scale. The industrialized aspect of agriculture is what inspired me to try to become vegetarian. I really am not opposed to small operations that give their animals a good life and treat them humanely until the very end. Since I can't ever really know when buying meat at the grocery, I just assume the worst and learned how to cook tofu, lol.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: