When I embarked on this chicken journey in March, I was semi-clueless about what it takes to raise chicks into chickens. I’d been around chickens at my cousin’s farm, but admittedly, they were all locked up in the hen-house and the most I saw of them was their peaked, pale faces pressed up against the screen door of the hen-house. I really didn’t know anything much more than that so to say I was inexperienced was probably the understatement of the century.
Along the way, as the chicks grew, I studied and learned as much as I could about their care. I read website after website, finally settling on a natural approach to attempt to raise the flock without the addition of chemicals or non-natural medications to their life. It just feels right to me. I think the major league sports world can be used as an example. You can have a darn fine baseball player who is pumping themselves full of chemicals and steroids. You can also have darn fine baseball players who earn their records by working, practicing and playing by just using the gifts they were given. I think, most people would agree that they are going to respect that second player more when it comes to the end of the season. Also, the huge problem of the development of resistant strains of viruses and bacteria in the world has become more and more of a concern for everyone. So I decided not to throw unwarranted, unneeded chemicals and antibiotics into them…if I could at all help it. I certainly won’t watch them suffer if veterinary help is needed, but I also appreciate that there is often a simpler, smarter way to do things and just because society or a lawyer or a doctor says it’s the way to do things, it’s not necessarily the absolutely correct thing to do. What I’m doing feels right to me based on what I believe and what I’ve learned and the flock is doing beautifully. So I’m proud of what I’ve learned and the steps I’ve taken to care the for them. I go a little over the top, but again, it’s what I’ve chosen to do and I am enjoying it and benefitting from their health.
While weeding through the internet for information, I’ve had to be careful to not get sucked in by those who are presenting information in a flashy way, because often flash and constant giveaways are used to keep readers when content is poor (I blog…I know these things). I’ve read everything though, from the good, the bad and the truly ugly and weighed it against what I believe to be correct based on my personal research and used what information is valuable to my philosophy about raising these animals. I do a little research, I read different authors to look for commonalities and then I make a decision about what seems to be the current thought about what is the correct thing to do. Certainly that’s more benefit than our predecessors had who were basically blundering around doing the best they could with the tools they had…which wasn’t modern chemicals and antibiotics. I’m sure that those things may have their place in the mass production of poultry and eggs, but that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m a small backyard flock owner who is concerned about protecting her flock via preventative measures. Hey…preventative medicine…I believe that’s all the rage in human medicine right now. I can’t be totally off base.
I know that some will disagree, while others embrace this concept whole heartedly. We all get to choose what we believe and what information that we follow in everything we do. I’m finding a wealth of solid, valuable information on smaller websites and blogs that have been written by people, like me, who learned from the beginning, from trial and error and by studying everything they could so that they could do the right thing. The movement toward living in a simple, natural way is much larger than I’d imagined. Being educated as a medical type person, a few years ago, I would have waved off the entire natural movement. Continued news of bacteria and viruses that are simply re-engineering themselves to be super organisms is unsettling to me. Birds are prime carriers of some of these organisms. Anything I throw at my flock, could potentially cause additional shift and mutation and I just don’t want any part of that.
Honestly, I don’t think there is ONE right way. Much like when raising your children, you educate yourself as best you can, you decide what you believe in and then give them the best care you can based on those beliefs. Although I may, as a rookie, choose to do something that a veteran would not do…it’s my choice. I’m the one who deals with the results. If I do something extremely stupid (and I’m smarter than that…I’ve raised three beautiful children and if I can raise a kid, I can raise a chicken) then I have no one to blame but myself and then I adjust what I believe, or I simply just try again. I keep reading though, and there is a WEALTH of magazines, websites and blogs to present me with choices regarding what treatment and care to give to my birds.
There’s no rocket science to this. They’re chickens. Even though they look confused on a good day, they basically have this whole gig figured out. Despite our misguided notions, they’ve existed for tens of thousands of years without our help and most certainly without our intervention with chemicals and medications. They’ll continue to exist, provided that we as humans, don’t try to derail what is most assuredly a process that nature and chickens have long ago figured out.
We all love our little flocks. That goes without saying. I think that most of us do everything we can to ensure their health, safety and well-being. I’m going to continue to read and learn and observe and sift through the information so that I can know everything that I can to make sure they are happy as can be expected and receive the best care that I possibly can offer. I don’t think there’s anyone out there, who isn’t interested likewise.
Stick around. I’m sure something weird will happen along the way…and you know I’ll write about it.