We always are keeping an eye out for new birds for our flock. Sometimes we're adopting from shelters, other times from other farmers. Sometimes we take on extra birds from breeders.
We just bought 3 roosters from an enterprising young man who, in his family’s back yard, is making a good run at raising chickens, guinneas, quail and pigeons. He does not let the birds run free, but keeps roosters to breed his hens. When he has extra roosters, he must sell them. He raises the birds to sell as mid-aged chicks or new-hatched chicks, and breeds them.
We inspected the roosters - they looked quite healthy! The young man then showed us their father - a beautiful, large rooster. We saw the young chicks, taken from their father and mothers so their mothers would brood more eggs into chicks.
No picture of our beautiful “prisoners:” they’re sitting in the back of the truck in a transportation cage. We’re all waiting to get home - blizzard conditions up on the mountain are keeping us all prisoners of a sort on the roadside.
Rather than wait in the cold, we returned to town for a while to ride out the storm at Denny’s, where we are taking advantage of their free WIFI and endless coffee and tea, and consuming unhealthy quantities of fried potatoes.
The birds seem to appreciate it - it’s much warmer down in the valley! As soon as we get back, we’ll put them in the coop for a few days of socialization, and then set them free when they’ve learned where home is and have bonded with their new flock.
Though our practices of chicken husbandry differ considerably from those of our new young friend, we have the utmost respect for his enterprise. His objective - to produce as many chicks for sale as possible - leads him to undertake the logical result: keeping the birds in cages. Our objectives - to maintain a healthy semi-wild (low maintenance) flock yielding a surplus of nutritious eggs and a stable quantity of new chicks leads us to undertake an equally logical and different method: free roaming birds kept in coops whose populations we modualte by season +/- 1 bird per square foot.
Though he must remove the chicks from their mothers and father, we must keep our chicks with their mothers and fathers. We must have many roosters, and are glad to take his extra roosters - especially considering their health and good breeding.