Moral dilemma


13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Northern Va.
Hello all,

I'll try to make this brief. I live in a very populated area near Washington, DC. However, there is a farm, about a 20 minute drive from my house, that has a nursery/produce stand in the spring and summer and a festival (for six weeks) in the Fall. I've worked at the festival for 4 years now and have gotten to know the owner of the farm fairly well.

This year, he brought in some grown chickens and a batch of chicks from McMurrays hatchery to add to the "charm" of the nursery/produce stand. I go over there about 2 - 3 times a week to make sure they are being taken care of properly, give them treats and to get a "chicken fix" as I don't have a flock anymore. They give the grown chickens chick starter so I buy them layer pellets out of my own pocket. (No one really wants to invest the way it's endorsed on BYC but I am willing to a point.)

Okay, here's the dilemma. The chickens were brought in in April. There are 6 RIR's and 3 cornish (I think - just guessing). One of the cornish has been sneezing since it arrived in April. None of the others are showing any signs of illness. Also, one of the chicks (now 8 weeks old) is showing signs of respiratory illness - sneezing, congestion though no runny nose or eyes. The chicks are in a run within the bigger run where the chickens are. Only the one seems sick and she's been that way for a few weeks but getting worse. The others seem fine.

These are not my chickens, guys. I want to help but have become somewhat "hardened" over the years and am not willing to go to the extent I would if they were mine. If the chick dies, I would have it necropsied if it were my flock but it's not and I KNOW the owner will not be willing to pay the cost of a necropsy. I guess I have two questions: What can I do under the circumstances? I am willing to buy Vet RX or something like that but wonder if it will do any good. Secondly, does a sneezing chicken ALWAYS mean it has something contagious? These chickens have been here for 2 months and no one else is sneezing or acting sick. However, the chick that has respiratory problems...perhaps SHE caught something from the cornish?

Am I crazy to be concerned about these chickens? I want to help them, as I say, but am not willing to invest lots of $ in a flock that doesn't even belong to me! Okay, I'm done. Lay it on me!!
Is there any way you can let the owner know he has a problem in his flock? Maybe if he is aware of the situation he might take care of it? I do understand about not wanting to go overboard taking care of another's animals-the burn your butt factor is always high!

If it were me, I'd say something and if he truly doesn't want to deal with it, then I would get the vet rx. If he has a problem with it, then I'd call animal control. The health of the birds come first-he has a responsibility to them whether he likes it or not. People buying critters for "charm", well it almost always turns out bad, doesn't it? Those chickens are lucky to have you!! Good luck-
You may want to approach it from a financial angle. If someone knows anything about chickens and comes to buy produce and sees sick chickens, they might think twice about buying his produce. If he is going to have them for ambiance, then he needs to give a healthy appearance of the flock. It certainly would make me not frequent his stand.

Do the chickens have a coop, maybe he isn't cleaning it and the chicks are having ammonia problems? Just a guess but I wouldn't be surprised if some how the illness comes back to their care.

Bless your heart for caring.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom