Shadrach's Ex Battery and Rescued chickens thread.

Jul 22, 2020
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What about the day-old chicks you get from hatcheries? Does that count enough as being born in that area to acclimate to temps?
I would think this would depend where the hatchery is located. The only hatchery birds that I have had from chicks are the ones that were given to me this spring. They are from Hoover's Hatchery which is roughly 200 miles south of where I am located. I really don't know what to expect with them. They are all large single combed birds. There is one Rhode Island Red and the rest are some kind of high production hatchery mutt. So far they have been fine but it is actually really warm still. We are still getting above freezing during the day. They are all going through a full molt right now. They just turned 9 months old so I'm not really sure what that is about. I have had spring chicks go through a light molt isolated to the head and neck during their first fall but these are full, hard molts. Has anyone else seen this, hatchery birds or otherwise?
 

BigBlueHen53

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Your tax bill is growing by the post!:p
By golly, you're right! My humble apologies. Here you go, Tax-master, Rojo Majestico at his fluffy best:

PXL_20211203_182233159~3.jpg
 

Shadrach

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My chickens experience some pretty brutally low temperatures. The most extreme frostbite I have seen caused by air exposure is for the tips to be lost off of a comb. This was in temperatures around -30 degrees Fahrenheit. When wind chill is factored in, it was a few degrees colder. I have seen much more dramatic frostbite on two of my older hens. They both decided to wet their feet in their water and one decided to dunk her comb as well. I didn't find the frostbite until after the damage had been done. Both hens are now missing toes and the one lost most of her comb. Despite all this, the hen with the biggest comb in my flock has been untouched by frostbite. She was raised on a farm that experiences even worse weather than I do here.

Many people that I have talked to consider a cold hardy bird to be a bird that is large (10 lbs or so), has a small style of comb, and very loose feathering (think Brahmas and such). The only birds that I have that come remotely close to that size are the hatchery chicks from this spring. Most of my birds also have medium sized single combs. I have never lost a bird to the cold. This past winter, our southern states got a taste of northern style winter and it devastated the livestock. I read many stories of people loosing breeds that wouldn't bat an eye at those temperatures around here. In fact, all kinds of livestock suffered deaths through the cold. They simply are not adjusted to those kinds of temperatures. Although some traits may allow individuals to adapt to warmer or cooler temperatures, chicks hatched from the environment that they will live in are the ones that do the best in my experience.

Example:
This is Sylvia. She has the biggest comb and wattles in my flock. She is also one of the hardest molters in my flock which I believe is related to a genetic mishap that cause her feathers to shred. Here she is last November, in full molt. Temperatures at this time are probably right around freezing, maybe slightly above, during the day and are about 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The battery hen behind her is in full molt as well. She barely cared.

View attachment 2916660
Here she is this spring. She has a bit of dry skin but is otherwise untouched in the head gear. As a side note, you can see her feather are beginning to shred over her saddle and down her neck. Her feathers are about 5 months old here. By July she will look horrible again.
View attachment 2916661
Begs a few questions does this.
I would imagine that it would be very painful for a chicken to lose toes and sustain wattle damage. Should that have been through amputation of some sort we (humans) would accept that this was painful for the chicken. Losing by frostbite is a relatively slow process and I would imagine painful over a long period ot time.
You don't mention whether the chicken concerend exhibited any demonstration of being in pain but I'm going to assume not.
The same can be said for the majority of chickens I've treated for various injuries, some, should they have been inflicted on a human, would have that human screaming in agony. Having a chunk of flesh ripped off ones back say 20cm wide and down to the bone to make a comparison with what happened to this hen for example.
PC090407.JPG


What are we to assume then? Chickens don't feel pain or humans are pathetic wimps?
I think they feel pain but like many other creatures they hide the fact that they are in pain. Unfortunately some humans take this to mean that the chicken isn't in that much pain because they judge the response by human reaction.:(
You mention that you found the EX Batts showed little distress at the low temperatures but given the above that doesn't mean they are comfortable.
The Ex Batts here behave much the same as you report; not much seems to disuade them from getting out in the allotment run at every opportunity. Does this mean they don't feel the cold, or does it mean they don't tend to show discomfort until they are about to drop dead. I'm going for the later. This is what many people who keep chickens say, but unfortunately they don't progress with the knowledge to the point where they accept they don't know when a chicken is in pain. This, unfortunately again, means they will ignore what should be obvious through logic and reason and only be concerend when a sickness becomes obvious to them.
My view in part with the Ex Batts is that they have endured so much pain and discomfort a bit of cold is a small price to pay for the feeling of earth under their feet, regular feed, feeling sunshine on their bodies and all the other emotive things I could write.
This is my view of chickens in general. They don't provide messages we can understand regarding their state of health and comfort level. It is up to us to try and understand what type of creatures they actually are and not pay much attention to the "my chickens are just fine at minus 20 centigrade, or living on scraps, or having bits cut off them etc etc.
My view; chickens are jungle creatures and that is the type of climate and environment the thrive in.
Just look at where they have established feral populations should give us a clue.
 
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Shadrach

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What about the day-old chicks you get from hatcheries? Does that count enough as being born in that area to acclimate to temps?

Tax of my lavender orpington and blue Australorp in the background. View attachment 2917370
No. The chick has to be exposed to a natural environment within the first few days of it hatching, preferably hatched by it's mother who will teach it how to cope.
 
Jul 22, 2020
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Begs a few questions does this.
I would imagine that it would be very painful for a chicken to lose toes and sustain wattle damage. Should that have been through amputation of some sort we (humans) would accept that this was painful for the chicken. Losing by frostbite is a relatively slow process and I would imagine painful over a long period ot time.
You don't mention whether the chicken concerend exhibited any demonstration of being in pain but I'm going to assume not.
The same can be said for the majority of chickens I've treated for various injuries, some, should they have been inflicted on a human, would have that human screaming in agony. Having a chunk of flesh ripped off ones back say 20cm wide and down to the bone to make a comparison with what happened to this hen for example.
View attachment 2917403

What are we to assume then? Chickens don't feel pain or humans are pathetic wimps?
I think they feel pain but like many other creatures they hide the fact that they are in pain. Unfortunately some humans take this to mean that the chicken isn't in that much pain because they judge the response by human reaction.:(
You mention that you found the EX Batts showed little distress at the low temperatures but given the above that doesn't mean they are comfortable.
The Ex Batts here behave much the same as you report; not much seems to disuade them from getting out in the allotment run at every opportunity. Does this mean they don't feel the cold, or does it mean they don't tend to show discomfort until they are about to drop dead. I'm going for the later. This is what many people who keep chickens say, but unfortunately they don't progress with the knowledge to the point where they accept they don't know when a chicken is in pain. This, unfortunately again, means they will ignore what should be obvious through logic and reason and only be concerend when a sickness becomes obvious to them.
My view in part with the Ex Batts is that they have endured so much pain and discomfort a bit of cold is a small price to pay for the feeling of earth under their feet, regular feed, feeling sunshine on their bodies and all the other emotive things I could write.
This is my view of chickens in general. They don't provide messages we can understand regarding their state of health and comfort level. It is up to us to try and understand what type of creatures they actually are and not pay much attention to the "my chickens are just fine at minus 20 centigrade, or living on scraps, or having bits cut off them etc etc.
My view; chickens are jungle creatures and that is the type of climate and environment the thrive in.
Just look at where they have established feral populations should give us a clue.
I have some errands to run so I will come back and answer this in more depth later but here is my short response. Regarding pain from frostbite, yes they both exhibited signs of pain from their toes. I will explain them when I come back later but they exhibited signs of pain when they sustained the injury and later when the healing started. My comment about the cold was directed towards the the hen Sylvia. The battery hens react the same as most of the flock to the cold. I will also explain this later.
 

Shadrach

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I have some errands to run so I will come back and answer this in more depth later but here is my short response. Regarding pain from frostbite, yes they both exhibited signs of pain from their toes. I will explain them when I come back later but they exhibited signs of pain when they sustained the injury and later when the healing started. My comment about the cold was directed towards the the hen Sylvia. The battery hens react the same as most of the flock to the cold. I will also explain this later.
I should make it clear I'm not having a go at you. From what I've seen you give your chickens the best possible life under the circumstances.:love
 

Marie2020

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I have some errands to run so I will come back and answer this in more depth later but here is my short response. Regarding pain from frostbite, yes they both exhibited signs of pain from their toes. I will explain them when I come back later but they exhibited signs of pain when they sustained the injury and later when the healing started. My comment about the cold was directed towards the the hen Sylvia. The battery hens react the same as most of the flock to the cold. I will also explain this later.
I'm very interested to know. Thanks
 

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