I just saw the saddest thing at the feed store. I just got home from the feed store where I bought my baby Buff Orps three weeks ago. They still had most of the same batch of chicks. Still in the metal commercial brooder box. It was so sad. The chicks were huge!!! Probably two to three times the size of mine (their fellow hatchlings), their feathers looked sort of grey and matted, they could not stand upright because the brooder was too short for them. All they could do was stick their neck out to feeders and eat. The man saw me looking at them and said "get a few". I told him I had bought 4 out of this same batch when they were 2 days old and mine weren't nearly this large and were yellow and fluffy and beautiful. I told him I let mine free range all day. He said that since mine got sunlight and air and stayed active all day that made all the difference in the world. He admitted these poor babies have never seen natural light or outside air and can't move around and can only eat all day. I told him it was cruel. Now I don't know if he made this next part up but he then said "yeah, they don't have enough room in there. Mr. So and So (the owner) is going to take them all to his farm this weekend. He has a huge farm and they can all run around there." I'm thinking he's probably going to process them for food soon because they looked to be the size of quail. I'm also thinking "yeah, and how many dogs and cats were killed or released in wild to fend for themselves while the parents told the kids "they went to live on a nice farm". Anyway, it just made me so upset. I dare anyone to tell me that letting my chickens free range is wrong. It's keeping them in brooder boxes forever that's wrong. I can't believe the difference in appearance in the two sets of chicks - mine who free range and run, fly, jump, dig all day and these poor babies who have never done anything. It was just so sad. I wanted to bring them all home but he must have had a dozen or more in there. Just too sad. I feel like I just left the dog pound. Don't know if I can get that image out of my head. Guess I'll have to go back on Monday and see if they are really gone but it will bother me till then.