I have mentioned in the past that I have a small yard with a limit of six chickens to my property. That being said, I am finding it very disconcerting at the number of people who are giving up their chickens. When I have nothing better to do, I enjoy going through Craigslist and to see what others are giving away. I have been noticing the last couple of months an increase in the number of people giving away or selling off their flocks.
The good news is, that in many cases, someone wants them. In other cases, it’s bad news and animal shelters are turning into their short lived home. I have spoken to a few of the craigslist donators as well a number of animal shelters. There seems to be reoccurring theme about wannabe chicken owners, “lets get chicks or chickens because we will have fresh eggs everyday”.
Chicks for Sell
They trot off to the feed store, see some chicks for sell, “hey they are only a few dollars, lets get a bunch of them”. Some of the time someone in the store will instruct them on what they need to help the chicks survive. These wannabes will figure out real quick that the initial investment is not cheap in both time and money.
What generally happens at this point is one of two things
- They don’t have the money to maintain the chicks’ or chickens’ needs or they don’t have the desire to provide for a healthy environment. Do they have shelter for them to protect them from the elements and/or predators. Do the birds have a place to free range or are they going to be locked up in a small run. If that is the case it would be much cheaper to just buy organic eggs. They may not realize that because they did not clean up after the dogs in the yard on a daily basis the chickens are eating around all the poo. Side note how are the existing pets going to take to the birds. Do they have the funds and space to provide a separate area to protect the birds.
- They don’t have the time to give to the birds. Daily coop maintenance is essential. Chickens leave a lot of poop at night that must be cleaned up regularly to minimize diseases from infecting the chickens. Most urban chicken owners don’t have large acreage to provide all of their nutritional needs, so who is going to maintain the food and water needs.
Why do you really want chickens? If it is only for the eggs, remember that if you get chicks, it will be 4 to 6 months before you see your first egg.
Is it because you want to teach your children to be responsible? Remember the “ fun factor” will wear off sooner than you may expect. These are living, breathing, thinking social animals and they require regular attention.
Please Research Before You Buy
These points may seem insignificant at first, but if it isn’t thought through, the birds will be neglected and then dumped. As a new owner if I may impart a bit of advice, that if this something that you and your family really want and desire, please do your research. The internet is a huge source of information on everything that you could possibly need to know about the birds. If you haven’t read as much as possible, you could be the next person dumping chickens.
I am not trying to talk you out of raising chickens because the benefits far out weight any inconvenience there may be. My wife is out of town and to help break up some of her daily activities I will text her pictures of the girls doing something silly.
“Chickens are very fun, loving animals to be around, as long as their needs are being taken care of.”