I just had to rescue....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DillardHome, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

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    Claxton, GA
    a chicken from a chicken house. We have a chicken house very close by that supplies chickens to our poultry plant. In the year of living here I have learned many things about country life. Unfortunately, it saddens me to learn what goes on at some of these places. I never really paid much attention before being a city girl, since I never owned chickens myself and had no idea on the process as to how that chicken made it to my grocery store. We befriended the owner and a full time worker at this poultry farm by our house. The man who resides onsite there 'schooled' us on how they raise the chickens for fast food chains, stores, etc. He also explained how after some many days (depending on the size requested from the buyers) workers come into the farm to catch the chickens, over 100,000 chickens, put them into cages on a semi truck and then they are hauled off to the poultry plant. However, some of the chickens elude capture whether they are run over or they are just missed. I am bothered by the whole process but especially that the leftover survivors are left to die whether it be by dehydration, starvation, predators or from the injuries sustained from the chaos avoiding capture. These birds are clueless since they don't know any better. The chicken houses are left open, so they will just mosey on out having no idea on the danger that awaits.

    Last week we went to visit the man who works there and saw one of the chickens just walking around outside one of the houses. I just had to try and get it, I felt so bad for it. So we caught it with no problem probably since it hadn't had food or water in two days. Went home put it into a cage with food and water hoping I was doing the right thing. Doing the right thing meaning, would it have a chance since it had been fed steroid induced feed since it's been alive? I have heard they will get to big for their legs to hold the weight since it is in their genes to get meaty, and they are not expected to live long enough for this to happen since they are raised to butcher while they are still young. And they will not blend in with an existing backyard flock. True?? [​IMG]
    The man at the chicken farm stated that there were 15 chickens left over which is normal, but seriously I can't save them all. I have learned to avoid visiting that place after 'collection' days. In all honesty wouldn't it be more humane to a least kill the left overs and not leave them to just suffer like that? I hate the idea of any animal suffering, it just breaks my heart. [​IMG]

    So far "Clover" is eating, drinking and pooing in a dog cage on our backporch. It seems to be doing good minus missing feathers that look like they were pecked out. We've had her for a week now. I believe she is about 30 days old. I have hens that I am introducing to the flock in a couple days since I was waiting for them to get bigger to help reduce getting picked on too much, and moving Clover into the hutch the hens were once in. So she will be isolated but at least alot more room than a dog cage.

    So in your expert opinions does she have a chance of making it long term? Am I just prolonging the inevitable? Any advice would be appreciated. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010

  2. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

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    You'll be okay, and the chicken will, too. Those chickens are so docile they make great pets, and it's fun to watch them learn to be chickens -- they learn to scratch, and they learn what bugs taste like, and they learn to take dust baths. Also, they've been vaccinated against EVERYTHING, in fact they were probably vaccinated inside the egg before they were hatched, so you won't have any worries there.

    They DON'T feed steroids, but they DO feed antibiotics, and yes, your bird is probably a month to six weeks old. They're bred to eat like pigs and grow and grow and grow.

    What you need to do to counteract that genetic background is give your bird lots of exersise -- make her work for her food, walking and scratching. Don't give her much bag feed, and scatter it so she has to scratch for it. Put the water where she has to walk to get it.

    Don't give her a perch where she has to jump up or down more than six inches. Her legs won't handle the weight.

    and just enjoy her. You won't be sorry. [​IMG]
     
  3. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Songster

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    That's not country life, that's intensive poultry farming. Not synonymous.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I'm surprised that you are let anywhere near the commercial houses. They are usually pretty strict about their bio-security. I have been asked to leave when I visited with my DH a friend of his that has commercial houses because I have backyard birds.
    Most commercial growers aren't as uptight as my DH's friend, but some are. We are surrounded on all four sides by commercial houses. Two of our neighbors are growers but also my egg customers. Technically they are suppose to stay as far away from my backyard birds as possible.
    The one neighbor offered me some 3 week old culls (they cull any that aren't growing fast enough at 3 weeks) but I decided against it, for now.
    Possumqueen's advice was spot on. My late MIL kept the three week old culls in her backyard as future layers even though this farm was a commercial farm at the time. Back in the day my late FIL was the "chicken doctor" for Lane Poultry (now part of Tyson) and she was able to get away with it.

    Edited for clarity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  5. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

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    Quote:This is why I want chickens (haven't got them YET but we're getting there!) I use the poop in the compost heap for fast, hot decomposition and weed free compost. I used to get it from the chicken houses, but they've gotten so skittish about biosecurity they won't even let me drive onto the property! So I have to grow my own poop.

    Another thing I forgot to say about that rescued chicken. If it's a girl, it'll lay some tasty eggs when it grows up, and a lot of them! Enjoy!
     
  6. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

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    Claxton, GA
    Quote:I think they tolerate us coming by because we stay at least 50 feet away from the chicken house when the chickens are there and we never would go inside the houses even if they were empty.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  7. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

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    Quote:THANK YOU possumqueen!! I feel much better about this, I can start implementing your advice in a couple days just as soon as the hens are relocated to the coop.
    Do you think she will ever be accepted in my current flock or should I keep her isolated?
     

  8. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

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    clover is very lucky [​IMG]
    i rescued a few silkies once from a live poultry market and its very rewarding to see your new chickens learn to scratch for the first time and take their first dust baths [​IMG]
    if you restrict the feed this could give her more time and i think their are some other ways but i dont know the
     
  9. adoptedbyachicken

    adoptedbyachicken Crowing Premium Member

    They tend to get picked on by the heritage breeds due to the lack of feathering. They are bred to grow so fast and have few feathers as they are just waste. Production runs are often 54 days for the chicken you get in parts, some go 63 for the bigger birds to sell whole.

    I had one meat gal do well, but I hand selected her from a batch as she was not typical, quite active and blended well with the heritage. Others were lazy and picked on so I'm sure they would not have worked out. She will live up to her genetics and get too heavy and not have as long a life as other birds but they are wonderful personalities and fun to have for the time.

    I'm surprised that they let 15 chickens run loose average each time. That in it's self is a biohazard. They get exposed to wild birds and the doors are open, they go back inside... Someone local should be contracted to gather them and at least make something of them with a humane end rather than them suffering like you say.
     
  10. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    We had a hatchery in my hometown when I was a kid. We used to get chicks from them free. They had a schedule...the eggs had to hatch in x number of days, after hatching the chicks had to dry in x amount of time, all the chicks had to be white, if any chicks had any other color on them they were culled. Any chicks that didn't keep the schedule was culled...even if they just took too long to dry! Anyway they would give the culls away if you got there at the right time.
     

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