My Chickens are not Pets!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by darkmatter, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    My Chickens are not Pets!

    I grew up with my rural relatives having chickens. My grandmother would catch a chicken each week for “Sunday Dinner” when us 7th day locusts from the city came to visit. What a mean old Rooster she had, I remember getting spurred by him when I was about 9 years old or so. Anyway, when I got my own rural place some 20+ years ago I also started chickens. (See my BYC page for coop/run pics) The chickens provide me with eggs, meat, fertilizer, and bug patrol (Although the Guineas are better at tick/bug removal from the property) The run shares a fence with the Garden and in the fall when I’m done with the harvest, I open the Run/Garden pop door and let the chickens in to clean, till, and fertilize the garden. I leave the garden pop door open all winter and into the spring till I’m ready to plant seeds. Then I close them out again. I planted the Illinois everbearing Mulberry trees in the run when I first built it for free chicken food and have since added apple and persimmon trees to extend the free food season. I also plant tomatoes in a chicken proof cage cylinder which grows up into a trellis in the run and drops tomatoes to the chickens till frost. (be sure to use a indeterminate variety )I started all this in B.C. (Before Computers) and read most of the DIY magazines such as Mother Earth News, Backwoods Home, Organic Gardening, etc. Now you all have it easy with just a click of the mouse to do research, however the information overload can make it difficult to find accurate useful information for your situation.(That’s where us old curmudgeons come in) I butcher using the pithing method, which I call the brain stick, then scald, pluck, butcher, brine then freezer camp or BBQ/Dinner etc. I have an old Styrofoam Hovabator that I still incubate eggs in each year to replace losses (predators, age, and Sunday Dinners) When I hatch out eggs, I have enough to compensate for low hatch rates, normal losses and/or weak ones---I cull without qualms, as I believe it’s necessary to develop a strong healthy strain of livestock. When I have a Hen(s) go broody, I will slip the eggs of my choice under her. Sometimes Guinea eggs as the Guineas have a hard time raising keets in this climate—morning dew kills keets from hypothermia. Although my chickens/guineas are not pets, I do derive much amusement watching them and even have a lawn lounge chair positioned in the shade where I can enjoy a brewski and chicken antics----better then a movie at times.

    Who else has a Utilitarian concept of Chickens?

  2. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Songster

    Mar 21, 2010
    [​IMG] I'm with you, DarkMatter. The wife and I were having a discussion this week about what we were going to do with the hens once they stopped laying. She had issues with my answer of "stew them for chicken pot pie". Keep in mind, she has no issues with raising meaties, and she actually passed summary judgement on Harvey, a beautiful BR roo, simply because he was very vocal in the am, and was determined to spend time with the ladies (escaping from several attempts to keep him locked up.

    In my opinion, general society needs to find that balance between "loving animals as our pets/people" and "factory farm indifference". I'm trying to teach my children in raising animals for food, the animals do deserve clean quarters, ample food and water, protection, and generally respected as one of God's creatures, but in they end, they are meant to be part of the food chain. I've helped my family and my BIL's family raise beef cattle from calves to freezer, so I guess I've been conditioned this way.
  3. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Our chickens are both pets and useful to have around.

    We love them all as pets but still eat all the cockerels at 5 months. We eat their eggs when we have too many laying at once.

    We hardly feed them as they free range over four acres, they get some rice in the morning when they get out and that's it. They eat what they find.

    We do lock them up in the coop at night, though many of them prefer to sleep up the trees or on top of the coop or in the garage.

    We treat them when they get ill, we kill them if they are too ill, we help them out the egg when it's needed.

    I don't see a problem having chickens as both pets and farm animals.
    I don't see any problem with people keeping them as true pets and spending hundreds of dollars on vet bills and building chicken coops better than a lot of peoples houses.
    I don't see a problem with people who keep them purely as a food source and do the bare minimum to make sure they are a profitable food source.

    Like everything in this world, different strokes for different folks.
  4. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Most definitely. This will only be my third year on the farm, and my chickens are a source of meat, as are my quail, rabbits, ducks and sheep. combine this with the hunting that my son and huband do, the only meat we buy is pork (bacon) (until I get my own pig).

    While I love my animals, enjoy taking care of them, and enjoy watching their antics, They are not my pets.

    The first two summers we did meat birds, but this year, I am just hatching out plenty of chickens and quail to provide for our table, so this is one gal who would not be upset if half of the hatch were roos.
  5. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Songster

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    I'm with you 100%.
  6. Luckytaz

    Luckytaz Songster

    Mar 28, 2010
    Rogers, Mn.
    I agree, take good care of them, but don't waste them. When I think of how we spoil our chickens, I know my parents would've had a good chuckle over it.
    But I do it because, I can.
  7. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    I wish I could raise mine to eat, but since I live in town, I can have them for egg laying if they get to old for that I either have to keep them as pets or I can sell them to someone else (who can then process them) I am not allowed to process them for food here. When I get my farm that is another story.

  8. burntmuch

    burntmuch In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2010
    Montrose MI
    Agreed with above post. Just this morning after work I sat in the shade & watched my flock of 13 free range. Very relaxing. I take good care of them. Soon hope to have a self renewing flock. Thats another story. Raise a couple batches of meat birds every year. Took some explaining to my kids what the chickens are for, but they came around. & are pretty comfortable with treating the chickens really well while they,re with us. Then enjoy the meals we get from them a couple times a week. Its being part of the natural world, I think.
  9. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    My chickens, ducks, and geese are pets, egg layers, breeders, not food. I understand where you are coming from, but if I ate a bird every Sunday, I wouldn't have any birds left after 6 months. If I wanted them for meat, I would buy cornish crosses and Pekin ducks, not egg-layers and fancy breeds. I also think it is wrong for me to kill my hens after they quit laying, I suppose if I had 50 hens then I would have little choice, but I only have 6. They have done what there bodies are capable of, there is no reason to kill them simply because they can no longer produce an egg daily, no longer how hard they try. [​IMG] I am not afraid to eat my birds, but I bought them with a purpose, and if that was not to eat them, then I won't. [​IMG]
  10. Tiss

    Tiss Songster

    May 8, 2010
    My girls kinda feel like pets, but I plan to eat the roosters. In fact, my 4 month old SLW roos are looking really tasty. Not sure what I'm going to do with the girls when they get to be geriatric. Are they any good for eating at that point?

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