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BC SPCA says research, planning needed before raising backyard chickens

The BC SPCA says more people are expressing an interest in raising backyard chickens.

Whether it’s the desire to be self-sufficient or just having extra time around the house, farm animal manager Melissa Speirs says raising chickens can be a lot of work and can present unique challenges.

“It’s important for anyone interested in raising a backyard flock to thoroughly research what’s involved and to plan carefully before deciding if it is a good fit for them,” Speirs says. “This surge in backyard chickens being raised by unprepared guardians can have many negative animal welfare consequences.”

She says the SPCA is receiving more calls to rescue unwanted chickens that have been abandoned to fend for themselves.

“They are vulnerable to predators, bad weather, and struggle to find food, potentially leading to starvation and death if not rescued.”

Speirs notes that roosters are more at risk of being abandoned as they are less desirable to hobby farmers.

“When chicks are purchased, it is difficult to tell if they are male or female, so they are raised until they are a few months old and it is easier to tell them apart,” Speirs adds. “Since male chickens don’t lay eggs, and can sometimes be aggressive with the hens or other roosters in the flock, people often get rid of them.”

The BC SPCA offers guidelines on what you need to know when considering raising backyard chickens.

For more information, click here.

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