Spring is the season when many people think about adding new members to their feathered family. Some folks are just starting to raise chickens, and those baby chicks are irresistible! Chickens bring joy and companionship – and just like spring, we can look forward to enjoying the birds’ lively charm.
Before you shop, try a few of these ideas to get you thinking outside the box…or… egg!
- Adopt, don’t shop. Many rescues receive chicks and older chickens that have been abandoned or surrendered. Shelters are usually not set-up to handle birds and staff are eager to find the chickens new loving homes. Check local rescues, shelters and animal control facilities to see if any chickens have come their way. Leave your name and contact information so that you can be contacted when chickens arrive, or can be put on a waiting list.Quick Tip: Find your next best-feathered friend by visiting the non-profit Adopt a Bird Network. This Facebook group links birds and adopters by posting chickens by state and the shelter’s name and contact info.
Unless the shelter handles exotics and farm animals, it is designed to accommodate dogs and cats – and that creates a stressful environment for birds. The sooner the chickens are adopted, the better it is for everyone, and it opens up critical space for other animals in need.
The Humane Society reveals this surprising fact. “Chickens end up in traditional shelters more often than people realize, and adopting from a shelter is a great way to save a life.” Most chickens that end up in shelters are healthy and beautiful purebred birds, too!
- Order straight run. Unfortunately, male chicks get the short end of the stick! When you place your order for new birds help out the boys by always ordering mixed sex or straight run (these are the chicks as they hatch without being sexed).Many hatcheries only sell straight run birds and all sell males and females together. Be sure you can have roosters in your community and if you can’t, link up with folks that can split the order with you and take in the males as they mature.
You can also spread the word around local homestead and agriculture Facebook pages that you are interested in getting chicks, but regulations will not allow you to have roosters. Many people will be eager to split the chick order with you. This is a great way to be in compliance with ordinances while saving the lives of male chicks.
- Mom knows best! Family planning is delightful when you have a broody hen that is ready to raise a flock of her own. Hatching under a hen is the most natural and ideal way (not to mention easy – since the mom will take over) to expand your flock.Home raised birds are often vigorous and healthy. Choose your sturdiest male and female to breed. Ensure the birds have good genes for health and vitality and that they have congenial personalities. This will give the next generation a great head start! Chickens that have easy-going characters are better companions — and it is easier, and more enjoyable, to work with roosters that are calm.
Feed store alternative?
Yes! Some chicks arrive at the feed store injured or with a congenital issue. Other chicks are just “extras,” or returned. Give these charming creatures the life they deserve. Tell the store manager that you are looking to take in any chicks that are leftover or need that special care.
The stores will be thrilled, and happy to have the backup during the busy chick season. Sales staff will be relieved to have folks they can count on when issues arise.
Seabuck 7 Salutes Adopters
Adopters are amazing people. They save lives! Don’t forget that many chickens are not Heinz 57 birds. Almost all birds put up for adoption are young, purebred chickens. Of course, if you find a mixed breed chicken looking for a home, that is one special bird, because he or she carries a fantastic mix of genes to ensure hardiness and matchless traits unique to him or her. Mixed breed birds are diamonds in the rough!
It is commonly known around adoption arenas that the animals we save really “save” us. It feels amazing to rescue, and this is a fantastic lesson in compassion and empathy for children. Research proves that fostering a strong sense of empathy and kindness boosts health and well-being. Chickens and other companion animals “have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial to their companions … And when you adopt, you can also feel proud about helping an animal in need!”
Share your “adopted avian” photos and tales with Seabuck 7. Show us your beautiful backyard birds!