Image: wideonet – Shutterstock.
Marisa A Erasmus, professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, warns against the “fear buying” of chickens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In these times of hoarding toilet paper, people doubt supply chains and worry about food safety. Chicken purchases are on the rise amid COVID-19, but this is not a good time to start a chicken farm in your backyard, experts warn.
If you are thinking of buying chickens, find out first. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. These animals are going to grow and have very specific needs. They depend on us and we have to be sure that we can do it.
Marisa Erasmus, Purdue University.
For many consumers now, the idea of a supply of fresh eggs – without the dangerous trips to the supermarket fraught with worries about coronavirus transmission – is seductive. But chicks are not machines, they are living creatures that require care. Chicken farming is not a quick fix either. Chickens take five to six months to mature before they start producing eggs, so chicken hoarders will have to wait until October to make their omelets.
Backyard chicken coop. Image: HollyHarry – Shutterstock.
Chickens also need a comfortable and safe home. They need a chicken coop to protect themselves from the weather and predators. It should be dry, have good air circulation and, as they grow to adulthood, provide at least 0.6 square meters per chicken.
Like all animals, chickens are prone to disease. Prospective chicken farmers must plan how to deal with the welfare needs of their birds.
The ordinances vary by city. Before starting your poultry business, check with your city authorities. Many cities limit the number of chickens in backyards, require certain types of chicken coops, or restrict only chickens. Some places totally prohibit the keeping of poultry in yards.
If their quality of life is not taken into account, the hens may not even produce eggs, Erasmus said. ” Poultry, including chickens, sometimes have a reputation for having ‘bird brains, ‘” he said. ” But anyone with experience raising chickens will tell you that they are intelligent and complex creatures that have the ability to experience suffering and satisfaction .”
More information: www.purdue.edu