Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Things to Consider for Urban Chicken Farmers

The Backyard Chicken Farmer

There has been news articles recently about how municipal and private animal rescue offices are being inundated with chickens that backyard enthusiast have abandoned. 

One story was about roosters and how when people order from hatcheries they think they are getting laying hens.  However, like us, they find there is no one hundred percent sexing of baby chicks.  By the time, they know it is a rooster it is too late.  Roosters for all their country charm are loud, sometimes aggressive and during certain periods can really harm the hens if there are not enough in the flock to keep him occupied, which in the case of the backyard chicken farmers is always the case.  Most municipalities are changing their laws to allow for small flocks.  There is nothing like eating something that you had a hand in producing.  I can see the growing popularity of backyard flocks as I first started to notice the trend in 2009.

With chickens, things can go wrong quickly if you are not prepared.  It appears to be an easy setup at first glance, a secure house, green grass, access to water and food and you are good to go.  Then winter sets in, it gets cold, you need to heat the house, or you get a rooster or the hen lives past its laying capability, or the neighbor’s dog injures it.  Most people fail to anticipate these possibilities that come with a farm animal.  If that happens reactive behavior takes place which can and sometimes does lead to unexpected consequences.  When things go wrong people scramble to find answers to their problems one of which is to drop the bird off at the local shelter. 

In this situation, we have the good with the bad; I can understand the people that drop the chickens off, processing and euthanasia are the hardest, heartbreaking decisions you have to make on the farm.  Most people do not get that far in their thought process.  We on the other hand knew going into the growing business that we were not going to do animals.  Funny how things change. 

I was against it from the start, because I knew it was going to be me that dealt with injuries from attacks, health issues and most importantly making a decision to end the life of the animal and carry it out.  Whether that decision was based on health or end of useful life and or processing I was the person that would need to step up and do what needed to be done.  I can tell you if you are a caring person, you will feel remorse. 

So if you are thinking about getting a backyard flock, find a local farm near you, at least you will be prepared to take it somewhere where it can be useful, of course ask the farmer first, don’t just drop it off and leave.  That happens and is extremely cruel to the bird.  The best thing to do is find a processor in the area and then take the birds to the local soup kitchen.  That way you help someone in need and the bird does not go to waste.

Buy Local:  By doing so, you really are saving the planet.  I would not lie to you


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