Legume chickens and trendy goats: the pitfalls of modern construction Leave a comment

Months after backyard chickens became popular in spring 2020, rescue centers and farm animal shelters have seen an influx of bird donations.Now they are urging people to think twice before pursuing their dream of owning a home.
When restrictions were introduced at the beginning of the corona pandemic, many people were unexpectedly stuck at home. Some were worried about the food supply chain, others were simply bored. Looking out the window at empty courtyards, people across the country suddenly felt the same inspiration.

Why not start a family farm?

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the post office was functioning,” says Kathy Halamka of Unity Farm Sanctuary in Sherborn, Massachusetts. “That’s the only thing that worked well. Chicks, goslings, baby chicks and ducklings – all of these little guys can arrive in the mail, and this is a common method farms use to ship their chicks.

A duckling can be purchased from a nursery for a few dollars and provides entertainment for children stuck at home.As a bonus, as the duck grows it lays fresh eggs. The idea became popular and soon farms began selling chicks and ducklings. But as every poultry farmer knows, ducklings don’t stay small for long. In two weeks the young duck will double in size and production of feces. Long before you see the eggs, they have already outgrown your living room.

“We called it duck time,” says Halamka. His sanctuary initially saw an increase in the number of ducks and chickens in the spring of 2020, whichhad likely outgrown their postage-stamp homes and yards. Then came the roosters, which then gave up because they began to find their voice again. .. As people finally returned to work after restrictions were eased, entire flocks of poultry were sent to animal shelters. “We have never had such awidespread abandonment of chickens before,” says Halamka.“I would haveto take in more than a hundred chickens at a time and find them new homes. »

Birds is the cheapest option to start installing. In the spring, pet food stores often sell ducklings, chicks, and goslings, and the idea behind the purchase may be similar to buying a candy bar at the checkout. But the pandemic of impulse buying wasn’t just limited to poultry. Goats and sheep can be brought home for a few hundred dollars, a purchase that doesn’t require much thought or worry about feed costs or vet bills.

Ashley Pankratz, senior rescue and care manager at Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal rescue organization, remembers the case of the sheep and goats in Dutchess County, New York. The herd started with a few animals, but Pankratz said in an email, “They multiplied quickly and their breeder was unable to adequately care for them.” Soon dozens of animals were in distress. »

Shelters and farm animal rescues have long been places people can turn to when they have an unwanted rooster, but since 2020, the number of animals being cared for in shelters has increased significantly. Farm Sanctuary, with locations in Watkins Glen, New York and Acton, California, received 1,255 job applications in 2018. The average number of applications is currently over 1,500 per year.

Anika Wilson is a farmer and florist from Portland, Maine, who was recruited to find new homes for more than 50 chickens from an island in Casco Bay, Maine. The previous owner collected rare breed birds and had amassed a large flock before she died at the age of 80.“Fortunately, these birds had an excellent carer on the island,” says Wilson. “I imagine that knowing what to do with so many animals would be a huge challenge if Iwasn’t somehow involved in the world of the family farm. There would be a lot to inherit.

Wilson states that this entire situation could have been avoided with forward planning. “In this case, a “death plan” or “animal will” would beuseful to provide for the animals’ needs.In many cases I think the most important thing is that before adopting such an animal you really have to ask yourself: “Am I prepared to take care of this animal for x number of years?” and then: “Do I have a choice, When I find out: Eventually circumstances change and I can’t cope with it?”

Many people do not consider longevity when adopting animals. Goats and sheep live between 10 and 15 years on average, while cows and pigs can live more than 20 years. Bills for food, veterinary care and infrastructure arerising rapidly.Caring for a pet can be physically demanding and make it difficult to keep up.

The animals most commonly released into breeding facilities are poultry. Most are unwanted roosters purchased from farms, and they often occur in droves from people who have not checked municipal poultry regulations.Buying sheep and goats during the pandemic is more difficult to calculate, in part because goats and sheep are often paid in cash by the farm to individuals, rather than shipped by a company with invoices and documents.

Halamka says that due to caregiver deaths, home foreclosures and long-term illnesses, animals are often abandoned or rescued and end up at the Unity Farm shelter.But there could also be more urgent cases.
“Sometimes people literally leave their homes,” says Halamka, “leaving a pig or another animal behind. You literally go into the apartment with the animal. It is very sad for me to have to work with animals that have been found and need to be rescued.

Planning helps avoid such situations, as does a little humility. Halamka is grateful that most of the animals she has seen since the pandemic have been surrendered, noting that to surrender an animal, all you have to do is call or email your local animal shelter.

After a surge in livestock rescues due to the pandemic, shelter unrest due to inflation and foreclosures has not abated. Inflation means that both peoples’ budgets are cut, sometimes leaving no room for livestock, and people onceagain spontaneously buy poultry because they think they are getting “free eggs.”

The conclusion seems simple. Pets should never be an impulse purchase and require more planning than just budgeting for food and appropriate housing.Ideally, if you invest in animals, you should also have a plan in place if something happens to you so that the animals don’t end up in a shelter looking for a home.

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