Chicken Pellets - The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost
Chickens have become a more and more frequent sight in Britain’s back yards. With as many as 750,000 homes now featuring a coop, chicken keeping is on the rise. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it? A great lifestyle for the chickens and fresh eggs for the householders, what could be better? Unfortunately this is a picture of domestic bliss which does not go down well with everyone.
You might think that the major sticking point would be nasty neighbours tiring of early morning wake up calls but that isn’t the problem. The issue at hand is health. Fears are being raised in certain quarters that garden chickens may present a health hazard. Before you cancel your next order of chicken pellets, let’s examine the facts.
The complaints about domestic chickens have mainly emanated from chicken farmers. They have concerns about outbreaks of avian flu. If a bird is discovered to have the disease then the movement of birds is restricted within a 3km radius of the affected animal. This could seriously impact large commercial units and even close them down. Poultry farmers fear that garden birds could introduce disease to the local environment but in 2007 when avian flu was discovered.
Chicken Pellets and Proper Husbandry
Clearly domestic chickens could spread disease if they are not cared for properly. Those keeping chickens must adopt a good hygiene regime. There are people who do not act sensibly but perhaps better education is what is required and not a ban on chickens. Owners should monitor their animals and act if sickness or disease is suspected. They must learn to live with the fact that sometimes humane slaughter is required.
Keepers of chickens should also be aware that feeding leftovers to their birds is illegal and could spread disease. Proprietary foods like good quality chicken pellets are the best and safest diets for chickens.
The big food producers are clearly worried. The trend for self-sufficiency is not a promising one for their profits. Is voicing their concerns over disease merely a scare mongering tactic to stem the tide? If it is then it does not appear to be working! Their cries of "not in my back yard" have failed to stop us introducing more chickens into our own back yards. Even schools and prisons are now keeping chickens.
It is a confusing situation for the average homeowner. Whilst the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are calling on us all to go back to basics, big food giants are telling us that we are spreading disease. Some chicken enthusiasts are biting back by pointing out the many transgressions of the food producers and the cruel treatment of hens in industrial units. They are asking who is potentially doing the most harm?
It is an argument that looks set to continue for some time. There is probably right and wrong on both sides. One thing is for sure, chickens should be cared for properly wherever they are!