The abandoning of Hens around the Country
I had a feeling this would happen when the Coronavirus Pandemic arrived early last year.
I’m sure that in good spirit and with the right intentions, many saw shortages of food etc., they were furloughed or even lost their jobs, so looked at a more self reliant life.
This showed in my website stats, a sudden increase of visitors to both the Chicken Keeping pages and Vegetable gardening.
Most of the purchasing of Chickens were in April and May. At that time, the weather was good and I’m sure the excitement of gathering your own fresh eggs had a beneficial feel to both the household and way of life.
I believe what happened was exactly that, good dry weather, easy to walk up the garden and carry out the necessary chores to keep the Chickens with good hygiene and health.
Through Summer though, the lockdown was eased as did the Virus. In moments of madness people were going to beaches, some getting back to full time employment, everything seemed to be calming down and the future looked good.
Unfortunately as we all know, the virus didn’t go away and although not a major lockdown like in Spring, along came restrictions
To cap it all, a variant came about in December and another lockdown arrived.
Whilst all this was going on, Autumn and Chickens in Winter came and the, in some cases, novelty of keeping them became more than a chore. Also, maybe the kids who enjoyed them aren’t so keen.
With the shorter days hens were laying less eggs, cleaning out the Coop became, too often or not, a mud bath and it was cold.
Now in January, we read in many local websites and newspapers that Hens are, for want of a better expression, being dumped in woodland, parks or wherever some think that Chickens will thrive on the outdoor natural environment.
The answer to that is a big no they won’t; foxes and dogs are the main predators plus the fact they won’t find somewhere warm to spend their nights and have a proper diet. For them, it’s just a case of terminal existence.
I know this refers to the minority and most are still delighted in keeping chickens, but it does raise the issue that having them is a 365 days a year job even if 100 or so of those days doesn’t suit the human side of things.
The RSPCA and other Animal Welfare Organizations are getting called out on a regular basis. Where those Chickens will end I know what, but have a worrying thought that should new keepers not be found, they will be destroyed.
So to those who may have abandoned their hens in this way, lesson learnt. Chickens are creatures, as we are ourselves, so it is a case of treat others as we would ourselves. At least find them another home.
But, those who’ve kept the Chickens they got during Lockdown and enjoying them regardless of rain, wind, snow, ice, mud and not so nice cleaning of coops…WELL DONE…..Enjoy !