Solve the problem by finding someone like me. I raise free range hens to produce free range eggs.
I have a CSA group, Community Supported Agriculture, that buy my eggs.
They have subscribed for a certain number of eggs per month. I meet them at a local cafe on Saturday mornings & they pick up their eggs. I take care of all the expense & problems & they get to have farm fresh eggs.
I get very aggravated at people who use blatant exaggeration to make a point. All this article does is make the author seem strident, uneducated in the subject, and over-the-top. Back yard chickens are subject to the same problems as every other kind of companion animals. They can be well kept, or badly managed. Most are probably somewhere in between. Fortunately, population control need not present a problem, just a benefit. Pick up the eggs:)
I just went to try to figure out what "free range" actually means. Apparently, not much. "I" always had visions of happy hens running about in grass and scratching under trees. How naive :(.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture, and there may be access to only dirt or gravel . Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means."
"Free Range", a very loose term. Ours are housed in a building where they can run around. We have an outside are for them in nice weather. (This winter that has been nearly every day.)
Our flock is about 225 hens. We had 300 to start last spring. If we were to have them on grass, I don't know how many acres we would need.Chickens will tear up an area in short order. They will eat the grass then scratch in it for bugs or whatever until it is black. They do better than a garden tiller.
Our breed is Gold Star layers. When they hatch, pullets are brown, roosters are white.
As far as killing newly hatched roosters, some of the egg farms have millions of hens. What would you do with millions of roosters that would never make a meal if you did save them. (White eggs come from a form of leghorn. Leghorn roosters are very small when mature.)
I have a backyard chicken coop and run. I have always wanted chickens, ever since my very first 4-H show. My parents would not let me have them as they said chickens stink. I had horses. I cleaned stalls daily for many years and loved every minute of it. I would say that my 5 hens, rooster, and 4 peacocks are very spoiled creatures. They get the best feed I can find and afford, fresh water daily, all areas cleaned at least once a week if not more. They get treats like fresh blueberries and collard greens frequently and are kept safe from predators. They even get blocks of ice and a fan in the hot summer. They reward me with lovely fresh eggs and a very calming crooning whenever I am near. My DH sits out by the chicken run on summer evenings w/a glass of wine and watches them. They are very funny and he swears they help his high blood pressure.
So if you want a few hens for your back yard I would say to do the research. Decide what breed/s and how many. Then, if you don't wan't roosters, order from someone who will only ship the amount you want and gender you want. Ask us here on the forum. I'm only a beginner, but we are all here to help/enable and can forward links to reputable sources for most breeds.
No sence forming an opinion from just that one article.
Chickens, and most animals, are better than TV and you never lose the signal. :) I love having chickens. Mine do not have access to a yard anymore. They do live in a nice enclosed house with a big window for fresh air and sunlight. I keep it bedded in sawdust so it's clean and they can scratch around in it. It is always dry. They are fed well and I give them things like cabbage heads, beets and other root crops to give them something to peck at. I think they are happy birds.
I have 6 EEs, 6 RSLs that I hope to replace, 1 game hen and 1 GC. I also have a pair of bantams that are kept seperate and one lone GC roo I have tried to give away. Fideaux was DHs pet and he refuses to eat him. The roo is so big I don't relish the thought of butchering him so he is still here. *sigh*
You're quite welcome. As I said, I've learned a lot here because I really know nothing about raising chickens. I actually don't want to have chickens (for health reasons, I eat an egg probably once or twice a year even though I LOVE eggs), and I posted the article for those who might be interested in the pros and cons of raising chickens.
There's a downside to everything. Heck, there's a downside to getting out of bed in the morning, but you can't let that stop you. You can find all the negative you want if you search hard enough. That article sounds like some city slicker that is afraid to get dirty. LOL
All the negative in the entire article doesn't hold a candle to a yard full of big fat girls that race to meet you every day! Not to mention the delicious and nutritious meals they give me.