Shadrach's Ex Battery and Rescued chickens thread.

Shadrach

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I've posted this on BYC on another thread. I post it here to try to demonstrate early influences on my current view of chickens and their keeping. The point I want to emphasise is even some almost 60 years ago the battery hen was not considered to be a proper chicken.

I spent a large portion of my youth on a farm owned by an Uncle. I remember being taken around the farm by the farm manager Mr Young, a taciturn man with a shy smile. on the instructions of my Uncle to be shown where I could and couldn’t play. At each animal enclosure we would stop and I would get my instruction.

There were two large sheds in which battery chickens were housed; the smell and the noise were something to be believed. These sheds were surrounded by rough fields and it was in these fields the free range chickens were kept.

Mr Young and I walked through the fields and he would tell me about the cock fights he had seen and which hen laid the most perfect eggs. I can’t recall how many different groups of chickens there were, maybe four or five, each with a cock and a handful of hens. At each group we would stop and Mr Young would tell me a bit of history about the group members. At one particular group we stopped an unusually long distance away and Mr Young took hold of my ear as he had with many earlier warnings of danger and gave my ear a good twist, saying, ‘don’t you be going near that cock boy, he’s mean and he’ll rake you if so much as look at him sideways. Him and me have an arrangement and I’ll get his hens eggs if I’m quick but he don't take to no strangers.’

Frankly, I had no intention of going anywhere near the cocks in the fields. I had seen them fighting and this particular cock looked as mean and proud as they come.

I asked Mr Young why there were some chickens kept in the sheds and others in the fields.

‘Them hens in that shed ain’t proper chickens boy’ is the answer I got and there was no further elaboration. I watched Mr Young collect the eggs from the free range chickens some days and for a large man he was surprisingly nimble and the mean cock he were equally wary of each other.

I’ve kept the memory of those days for fifty something years and I left my childhood and Mr Young with some distinct memories; Mr Young liked twisting ears to make his point, he loved his free range chickens and respected the cocks.
 

Geckolady

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I did and wow. Just wow!
My Dorkings eat mice, the Leghorns don't. Maybe it's because the Leghorns are smaller?

I had a brand new coop built this spring, and there was evidence of a mouse. Less than an hour after putting chickens in it for the first time, they caught the mouse and had mouse blood stains on the nice new perch. :hit

OK, some tax. This is Bulova (white and cuckoo) and Rolex (cuckoo cockerel) several months ago.
20211002_161231.jpg
 

Shadrach

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So, here's a question for people to think about.

Was Mr Young right and battery hens are not proper chickens?
If he was right, given their breeding, the fact they are hatched in their millions in incubators, have never aquired the skills and knowledge that broody reared, free range chickens do, are never likely to reproduce naturally.
Could they ever learn how to be proper chickens, particulalry given they have such short life spans in which to learn given the opportunity?
 

Geckolady

Counting Chickens B4 They're Hatched
Sep 12, 2020
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east central Arizona
So, here's a question for people to think about.

Was Mr Young right and battery hens are not proper chickens?
If he was right, given their breeding, the fact they are hatched in their millions in incubators, have never aquired the skills and knowledge that broody reared, free range chickens do, are never likely to reproduce naturally.
Could they ever learn how to be proper chickens, particulalry given they have such short life spans in which to learn given the opportunity?
As far as the breeding part, to find out you might hatch some eggs from them and see how their offspring behave compared to free range chickens. Then you could tell which skills are learned.

A lot of hatchery hens are Leghorns. My Leghorns are from a breeder, not a hatchery. They don't go after mice, but the Dorkings do. Is there something genetic there, or do they just realize that they are smaller and a mouse might get stuck in their throat? Would ignoring mice and letting the Dorkings get them make them less proper chickens in his eyes?
 
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RoyalChick

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I've posted this on BYC on another thread. I post it here to try to demonstrate early influences on my current view of chickens and their keeping. The point I want to emphasise is even some almost 60 years ago the battery hen was not considered to be a proper chicken.

I spent a large portion of my youth on a farm owned by an Uncle. I remember being taken around the farm by the farm manager Mr Young, a taciturn man with a shy smile. on the instructions of my Uncle to be shown where I could and couldn’t play. At each animal enclosure we would stop and I would get my instruction.

There were two large sheds in which battery chickens were housed; the smell and the noise were something to be believed. These sheds were surrounded by rough fields and it was in these fields the free range chickens were kept.

Mr Young and I walked through the fields and he would tell me about the cock fights he had seen and which hen laid the most perfect eggs. I can’t recall how many different groups of chickens there were, maybe four or five, each with a cock and a handful of hens. At each group we would stop and Mr Young would tell me a bit of history about the group members. At one particular group we stopped an unusually long distance away and Mr Young took hold of my ear as he had with many earlier warnings of danger and gave my ear a good twist, saying, ‘don’t you be going near that cock boy, he’s mean and he’ll rake you if so much as look at him sideways. Him and me have an arrangement and I’ll get his hens eggs if I’m quick but he don't take to no strangers.’

Frankly, I had no intention of going anywhere near the cocks in the fields. I had seen them fighting and this particular cock looked as mean and proud as they come.

I asked Mr Young why there were some chickens kept in the sheds and others in the fields.

‘Them hens in that shed ain’t proper chickens boy’ is the answer I got and there was no further elaboration. I watched Mr Young collect the eggs from the free range chickens some days and for a large man he was surprisingly nimble and the mean cock he were equally wary of each other.

I’ve kept the memory of those days for fifty something years and I left my childhood and Mr Young with some distinct memories; Mr Young liked twisting ears to make his point, he loved his free range chickens and respected the cocks.
It is easier to treat a fellow creature badly if you don't think of them as quite at the level of a sentient being.
 

Iluveggers

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One of my family members had a barred rock who died choking on a mouse…

ETA: some tax. My Easter Egger who likes to peck at everyone who enters the run. She’s otherwise friendly just doesn’t have good manners & needs to learn an appropriate way to say hi.
 

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RoyalChick

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So, here's a question for people to think about.

Was Mr Young right and battery hens are not proper chickens?
If he was right, given their breeding, the fact they are hatched in their millions in incubators, have never aquired the skills and knowledge that broody reared, free range chickens do, are never likely to reproduce naturally.
Could they ever learn how to be proper chickens, particulalry given they have such short life spans in which to learn given the opportunity?
I am not sure I have the emotional fortitude to get into this. What is the definition of a 'proper chicken'? And if they don't exhibit all the characteristics of a proper chicken (which I might imagine include things like predator awareness, raising young, foraging) does that mean it is OK to lock them up in awful conditions?
Even if they are 'less than' chickens in the eyes of whoever decides these things I still think they deserve to be treated with respect and given the chance to lead a full life to their ability.
But I am fully aware I am a hypocrite because I don't feel the same about the bugs I feed my own chickens.
Anyone who wants to really bend their mind around this question would do well to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (incidentally a British author). It is a novel and not about chickens but speaks directly to the question Shad asked and is a very good read.
Shutting up now.
:oops:
 
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Geckolady

Counting Chickens B4 They're Hatched
Sep 12, 2020
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east central Arizona
As far as the breeding part, to find out you might hatch some eggs from them and see how their offspring behave compared to free range chickens. Then you could tell which skills are learned.

A lot of hatchery hens are Leghorns. My Leghorns are from a breeder, not a hatchery. They don't go after mice, but the Dorkings do. Is there something genetic there, or do they just realize that they are smaller and a mouse might get stuck in their throat? Would ignoring mice and letting the Dorkings get them make them less proper chickens in his eyes?
Sorry, I meant to say a lot of BATTERY hens are Leghorns.
 

Shadrach

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Jul 31, 2018
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Catalonia, Spain & UK
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My Dorkings eat mice, the Leghorns don't. Maybe it's because the Leghorns are smaller?

I had a brand new coop built this spring, and there was evidence of a mouse. Less than an hour after putting chickens in it for the first time, they caught the mouse and had mouse blood stains on the nice new perch. :hit

OK, some tax. This is Bulova (white and cuckoo) and Rolex (cuckoo cockerel) several months ago. View attachment 2920912
This hen, Mini Minx would eat mice and would take on a rat if they got close enough.
DSC00040.JPG

I know, she looks so cute. Her name is Knock and she wouldn't just eat mice, she would activley look for them.
P1162412.JPG

This is Donk. She got her taste for mice when she found a dead one on the track and decided it tasted pretty good.
P2292677.JPG

This is Nolia. She prefered snakes to mice.
P2232599.JPG

This is Hinge. She was partial to a mouse and I've watched her eat baby wild birds.
P1302264.JPG
 

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