When the backyard chicken novelty wears off

As a veterinarian, I do have concerns regarding health and welfare regarding back yard chickens.

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt Meadows asked to  allow backyard hens (The News, April 18).

As a veterinarian, and as an advocate for healthy living, I fully support people taking control of their own food supply and raising your own chickens for eggs and meat.

However, I do have concerns regarding health and welfare regarding back yard chickens.

Over the years I have seen fads in animal rearing take hold.  Be it pot bellied pigs, 200-pounds of pork in someone’s living room, or 20-foot snakes being kept in cages meant for animals half their size, often when the novelty of these animals wears off, these animals are abandoned and/or neglected.

Before you go and buy some chickens to provide eggs, keep a few things in mind.

Chickens live longer then you think.

I have one client whose chicken is 15 years old.

While some still produce lots off eggs for many years, most will only produce eggs cost effectively for three to five years.

After that, your choice is to slaughter them for meat, or keep them as an ongoing cost – as a pet.

If your chicken gets sick, your choice is to humanely destroy or seek veterinary care.

Guess what?

Costs the same for me to fix your chicken, as to fix your dog.

Are you willing to spend $60 for an exam, or several hundred dollars for a broken wing?

Home grown is not necessarily healthier.  E. coli, salmonella, and some parasitic worms can contaminate the eggs of home-grown eggs.

There is a reason we have whole institutions dedicated to insuring the safety of our food supply, and you are doing everything to bypass those safety measures.

If you are willing to take on the responsibility for the care of these animals, to treat them humanely, and accept responsibility for their care, then this can be a worthwhile endeavor.

If you think it is cool, or a fad, then please support your local organic farmer rather then subject a chicken to the whims what is the latest gastronomical fashion.

Dr. Adrian Walton

Maple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on Hit TV. (Special to The News)
Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read