Meat Bird as Pet?

JulieAnnx823

In the Brooder
Apr 1, 2021
2
2
11
Hi Folks!

New chicken mama here, first time posting. We got several chicks a few weeks ago, some broilers and some layers. There was one chick that looked different than all the rest, and we were unsure if she is actually a broiler or a surprise chick we got in our order (that we're hoping is female, the hatchery added several unmarked males for warmth).

She's much larger than the other layers we have, but she's just different enough that I don't think she's a broiler. Her feet are a tanish color and all the broilers are orange. She has a cateye mark on her eyes and the broilers do not. Her feathering is more tan with some orange while the broilers are all brown/orange. She's not obsessed with eating constantly like the broilers are.

We've been raising her with the layers (4 weeks old now), and plan to continue that. My question is, if she does turn out to be a broiler breed is it wrong to keep her as a layer/pet? Outside of feed, is there anything else I would need to do to keep her comfortable and allow her to live a long and healthy life?

Thanks in advance!

Edited to add: The breed of meat birds we got are Murray McMurray's Big Red Broilers so they're a freedom range hybrid.
 
Last edited:

Cecisflock

The Backyard Brahmas
Nov 19, 2020
2,069
4,422
416
Des Moines, Iowa
Hi Folks!

New chicken mama here, first time posting. We got several chicks a few weeks ago, some broilers and some layers. There was one chick that looked different than all the rest, and we were unsure if she is actually a broiler or a surprise chick we got in our order (that we're hoping is female, the hatchery added several unmarked males for warmth).

She's much larger than the other layers we have, but she's just different enough that I don't think she's a broiler. Her feet are a tanish color and all the broilers are orange. She has a cateye mark on her eyes and the broilers do not. Her feathering is more tan with some orange while the broilers are all brown/orange. She's not obsessed with eating constantly like the broilers are.

We've been raising her with the layers (4 weeks old now), and plan to continue that. My question is, if she does turn out to be a broiler breed is it wrong to keep her as a layer/pet? Outside of feed, is there anything else I would need to do to keep her comfortable and allow her to live a long and healthy life?

Thanks in advance!
I would say it is cruel because you would have to ration her food. She would be hungry all the time and most likely would not live very long. There are many threads on here talking about this in great detail.
 

JulieAnnx823

In the Brooder
Apr 1, 2021
2
2
11
I would say it is cruel because you would have to ration her food. She would be hungry all the time and most likely would not live very long. There are many threads on here talking about this in great detail.
She's not acting like the other meat birds though which makes me wonder if she is, and doesn't look like them. She doesn't look like any of the ones we ordered as layers either.

I've tried searching other threads on here for clear answers, but they all seem to be about breeds that people know 100% are broiler breeds.

I guess I'll just have to wait a bit longer to see for sure what she is as she gets older. Thanks!
 

Cecisflock

The Backyard Brahmas
Nov 19, 2020
2,069
4,422
416
Des Moines, Iowa
She's not acting like the other meat birds though which makes me wonder if she is, and doesn't look like them. She doesn't look like any of the ones we ordered as layers either.

I've tried searching other threads on here for clear answers, but they all seem to be about breeds that people know 100% are broiler breeds.

I guess I'll just have to wait a bit longer to see for sure what she is as she gets older. Thanks!
For sure! Keep us updated!
 

ChickensRsmart

Chirping
Aug 25, 2021
86
62
68
I would say it is cruel because you would have to ration her food. She would be hungry all the time and most likely would not live very long. There are many threads on here talking about this in great detail.

I know this is an old thread, but I just lost my pet red broiler. Somebody left her in my front yard a few years ago - she just appeared there. She was a big eater (I did figure out that I had to ration her food). And then she turned out to have Marek's disease too.
Looking back on it, I am now wondering if maybe somebody was trying to take out my chickens? I have a few bantams too - But none of them ever appeared to catch the virus from my red broiler. Most likely, my 3 bantams were all vaccinated.
In any case, my broiler hen was a very smart chicken and as sweet as they come - smarter than my bantams. But her genes and the Marek's disease shortened her life. She ended up getting bumblefoot (secondary infections) because of the Marek's. I managed to resolve the problem with her feet (with no help from vets because they just wouldn't help her) - she hated the wrappings on her feet, but thankfully, her last 3 days of life were without wrapped feet.
She was walking and running around with no problems, but then started to feel ill last week. I took her in and kept her warm and she would still eat and drink small amounts every day but her comb and waddles were looking pale. I had her in my lap yesterday morning, when she cried out and flipped! I grabbed her and held on as she died in my arms - Don't have to be a doctor or a genius to know she had a heart attack...
Now, I am looking for a small red chicken - one that looks like a red broiler only smaller (and healthier). I am thinking about a Rhode Island Red Bantam...
 

RoostersAreAwesome

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 21, 2017
12,572
32,190
1,022
I know this is an old thread, but I just lost my pet red broiler. Somebody left her in my front yard a few years ago - she just appeared there. She was a big eater (I did figure out that I had to ration her food). And then she turned out to have Marek's disease too.
Looking back on it, I am now wondering if maybe somebody was trying to take out my chickens? I have a few bantams too - But none of them ever appeared to catch the virus from my red broiler. Most likely, my 3 bantams were all vaccinated.
In any case, my broiler hen was a very smart chicken and as sweet as they come - smarter than my bantams. But her genes and the Marek's disease shortened her life. She ended up getting bumblefoot (secondary infections) because of the Marek's. I managed to resolve the problem with her feet (with no help from vets because they just wouldn't help her) - she hated the wrappings on her feet, but thankfully, her last 3 days of life were without wrapped feet.
She was walking and running around with no problems, but then started to feel ill last week. I took her in and kept her warm and she would still eat and drink small amounts every day but her comb and waddles were looking pale. I had her in my lap yesterday morning, when she cried out and flipped! I grabbed her and held on as she died in my arms - Don't have to be a doctor or a genius to know she had a heart attack...
Now, I am looking for a small red chicken - one that looks like a red broiler only smaller (and healthier). I am thinking about a Rhode Island Red Bantam...
I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have her a good life despite her issues.
Unfortunately, Marek’s is extremely contagious, and if she did have it, that means your other chickens now carry and spread the disease. The vaccine will most likely protect them from becoming ill from the virus, but it does not stop them from becoming carriers.
 

ChickensRsmart

Chirping
Aug 25, 2021
86
62
68
That's right. She was living with my 3 other bantams for the remainder of her life and when I took her to the vet (the vet that would look at her, but would not treat her bumblefoot) he said that she most likely has Marek's - he checked her feet for nerve function and concluded so based on the condition of her feet.
Since then however, I began to notice other symptoms that support Marek's - like intermittent labored breathing as well as green diarrhea. Strangely, whenever I gave her raw garlic, her poops firmed up and looked normal - albeit still green in color (whether or not she'd been eating grass.
I've been assuming that my bantams are now carriers. They should've been sickened and killed by now if they hadn't been vaccinated. The way I see it, I should have no problems introducing another new bantam so long as that bantam has also been vaccinated.
Let's hope the Covid 19 vaccines don't turn out to be creating the same kind of problems. I've read that the creator of the mRNA techonology behind the new vaccines said it was a mistake to mass vaccinate during the pandemic. He said that only the most vulnerable should have been vaccinated. Apparently the vaccinated populations are shedding the virus without getting sick, and they're the driving force behind the creation of new variants - some of which the vaccines are not working to provide immunity.
 

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