Before I go into detail, let me qualify… We are NOT a bird rescue, we do not go out of our way to find birds in bad situations and we in no way judge the typical backyard chicken keeper for how they choose to keep their flock.
With that being said, most of our birds are rescues of some sort. They fall into one of 3 general categories.
1. Many of them come from a dangerous situation where they have been severely mistreated. Their lives are in danger through the threat of other animals, disease, neglect or starvation.
2. Still others come from unscrupulous breeders trying to get the highest percentage of birds with a certain “desirable” characteristic. They breed birds together that should not be crossed because of the high rate of physical deformities, morbid mutations or metabolic disorders. The birds that come to us from this type of situation are essentially someone else’s trash. Others come from “Backyarders” with fancy breeds. They are uneducated about the consequences of breeding certain birds together. They just think it’s fun to have chicks running around and see what colors they get. Genetically weak chicks frequently don’t hatch, but Backyarders often “help” the chicks out of the eggs and as the chicks grow, the owners don’t know how to care for their unique needs.
3. The third group is not a typical neglect or owner perpetrated abuse situation. It is a case where the other chickens are abusing a certain bird. This bird may either be near fatally injured by members of the flock or simply bullied by them until it has no quality of life. The owners have little or no idea how to solve the problem and will ask me to step in. I still consider these rescue cases, but I imply absolutely no fault on the part of the owner. Not everyone has the time and resources that I do to try to give every bird the best quality of life possible. It is a personal drive of mine and not everyone has that luxury.
Very few of the birds that we have here on the farm were hatched here. Typically, I will hatch one or two birds per year. For years, I have been trying to keep the blood line from my original Silkie Rooster alive. Currently, Woo, or “The Godfeather” as we refer to him, has 2 living grandsons named Louis and Clark and one great granddaughter named Buzzy. I purposely do not hatch chicks often because we have a very precarious balance of hens to roos. Due to the unfortunate background of most of our roos, we are unable to keep everyone as one large flock. We have built many large runs with spacious indoor nest boxes that are all separate living quarters. We only have so many accommodations for roos and as much as I love Woo’s family line, there are a lot of birds out there in bad situations. I am heart broken if I can’t help them because all of our facilities are full, so we keep our own hatches to a minimum. We help the ones we can, but education is the key to helping as many birds as possible.
We go through a small fortune in feed, fresh vegetable, calcium, grit, hay and wood chips, building supplies and hardware cloth. There is a steady demand for cleaning supplies and bleach and I won’t even talk about the electric bill.
We get it all back in love.