Wow, what a disaster for the backyard chicken community in California. Just got through reading the SOB post (save our birds) and what struck me was a lot of anger and heart break and little discussion on what is best for the backyard chicken community. And I know this is a sore point for those in our community that view their birds as pets and not livestock destined for consumption. Those are the most devastated but a few things need to be discussed despite the heart aches. First, chickens are walking disease incubators and if you don't know that or aren't wanting to face that fact you should spend some time reading up on chicken diseases. Plenty of sources right here on BYC or this site has the basics and they cover them pretty thoroughly. Chickens are so fragile, hosting so much disease that is held in check and just waiting for one more straw to break the camel's back so to speak. Second, bio security. Yeah, I sell feeders designed to keep wild birds and other vermin away from your feed. Had to start making them because at the time there was one $250.00 feeder on the market and I couldn't afford that kind of cash. But now there are a dozen brands, some which are worthless, others that are better, and as of yet only my feeder has the spring loaded door and counterweight needed to have a shot at vermin proofing a feeder. I say a "shot at" because the flock owner has to follow directions and replace wear parts to keep the feeders working as designed. But a proper feeder, not some plastic sewer pipe contraption or a bucket with sewer pipe parts hot glued to it, is an absolute necessity. Third, responsibility. I am a libertarian leaning Republican and I hear so many whine in politics about their rights and freedom but few include responsibility. If we are gonna have walking, crowing, egg laying disease incubators in our back yards it is our responsibility to keep them away from wild animals, wild birds, and maintain bio security to prevent one sick bird from spreading the disease to neighboring flocks or worse, to a nearby commercial operation. And if, God forbid, our flock comes down with a disease or we find we are in a hot zone, those birds are going to have to die. Not nice, not fair, not pretty, it isn't anything other than horrible but a worse horrible is awaiting EVERYONE if these outbreaks are not stopped and stopped fast. Read up on the VND, birds that survive will shed the virus and will test negative even if they carry the virus. And as a Republican I can tell you just how dirty the Republican Party is and it is the same in the Democrat Party. And it will be the same in any political party that comes to power because the donor class, AKA the 1%, will always find a way to buy politicians. And why drag politics into this? Because if WE do not self police ourselves some corporate chicken company will spend a few hundred thousand dollars to get a bill passed in your state that prohibits backyard chickens OR forces severe bio security measures upon us to the point that few could afford the hobby. So no matter where you live, get your birds in an enclosed coop or run, provide plenty of space per bird, provide clean deep litter, and keep it clean, clean, clean. Get a rat proof and wild bird proof feeder, costs about as much as two or three bags of feed, which it will in turn save that much feed in less than a year. Start taking the time to do bio security before going near the coop and the same after leaving the coop. Quarantine any new birds away from the existing flock and even after six weeks a bird still might introduce a disease that it has under control but is still capable of spreading. Feed store chicks are not without risk with all the chicken enthusiasts coming and going from the feed store. Much better to hatch your own replacement stock. And for God's sake, if you are one of the more tender heart-ed souls that raises birds think about the others that care as much as you do and do not help spread the disease by moving or hiding your flock. No chicken is any more deserving of life than the next, all are basically prey animals that have high reproductive rates for the simple reason that God designed them to rebound quickly from disease outbreaks and from predator loss. Life isn't fair for humans but it is a lot worse for chickens. Accept that and give the birds the best life you can but also be ready to do the right thing for the community if forced into it.