Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chickens are not yard art, eat it or not, do the right thing

So...this thing happened yesterday.  A nice couple showed up on my doorstep at 8:15 am with a rooster in a cage.  They wanted to know if it was one of mine  that perhaps escaped over the fence.   (Of course it was NOT one of mine because my chickens are spoiled and happy and would never run away from home.) The male part of the couple told me he had found it behind his house in the park.  He told me his logic was that  ..since we are the only folks in the immediate vicinity with chickens, that he thought it was one of ours.   He also said he found a cardboard box near by which was unusual  because the place is super clean.  I asked the man how hard it was to catch him and he said not at all. The rooster came up to him and allowed himself to be picked up.  That alone says hand raised.  I thanked the couple for their kindness.  If it had been one of my flock I would have been  grateful for their thoughtfulness.  After they left I  decided to check craigslist for a lost rooster.   I was surprised at how many  free roosters were on CL.   The third listing I checked  was a photo of the rooster   the couple had brought to me.  This big beautiful  boy had very distinct coloring and markings so, yes, it was him.  The listing had been up for a while. He had been, in the owners own words, "an easter chick".
  The Seattle times had an article a few months ago  about chicken dumping in parks and wooded areas.   Its become a  problem.  All those folks who jumped on the urban chicken  'cool train' a few years ago are now getting tired of them.  (FYI: I was sneaking chickens into my backyard years before it was  'cool' or even legal)   Chicks are adorable and  young hens provide eggs and.... that's great.  But , the  'cool' is wearing off and the hens are getting old and roosters are no more acceptable in a  condensed neighborhood than a barking dog.  People who would never even think about dumping a dog or cat  10 miles from home have no problem with driving old and socially unacceptable  poultry into the country and dropping them off.
  "They are just chickens" you say.    Chickens are very social animals.  Taking one that has been in a flock and in a protected environment since birth and dumping it in the woods  where it is alone and afraid and  unequipped to fend for itself is just cruel.   It is much more merciful and responsible to  cut off its head than to leave it  to be ripped apart by predators.
 Eat it or not.  Don't let it suffer because you are to much  a coward to do the right thing. If you are thinking about getting chickens, please consider first what you will do when they get old and stop laying or if that cute little  chick   turns out to be a large noisy rooster. If you are not willing to nail a killing cone to the side of the garage then you are looking at an eight to ten year commitment.
   Yes, I know this blog advocates back yard farming but, only if you are responsible and courageous  enough to handle the  unpleasant  tasks that go with it.   Chickens are not fashion accessories or yard art.  Chickens are  domesticated animals that depend on us to do the  right thing.