Friday, July 26, 2013

Sticking with my Free-Range Chickens

The FDA Doesn't Want Chickens To Explore The Great Outdoors

Even with the new city roosters who can't tell time crowing at all hours of the day and night, I'm still sticking with my free-range birds. Since we have twelve hens in our yard, not three thousand, and have had hens presumably interacting with wild birds for some years and have yet to have an outbreak of salmonella, we must be doing something if not right, then at least okay.

I read somewhere that chickens have a natural carrying capacity of two thousand or so, and getting above that number often led to outbreaks of disease. I wish I could remember where it is I saw this statistic, but even if it isn't right, we should remember that typically chickens haven't lived in the crowded, confined conditions that we have asked them to adjust to over the last fifty years.

Rather than scratch our heads and point at wildlife for spreading disease, maybe we need to look more closely at traditional methods of raising poultry and apply that to the commercial industry. That's probably heresy akin to suggesting crop rotation to get rid of root worm in corn, god forbid we use traditional methods to solve a problem we can pour pesticide on, but it's Friday, and my baby just woke up, so that's the best suggestion I've got.

Have a great weekend everyone.