It happens every year. My in-laws get offers weeks or months after Easter for “free chickens” that were purchased for children over the Easter holidays. Every year. Usually these chicks are roosters that are cast-offs of the commercial egg farms and therefore come to your local store for pennies. Why do you think they are given away so inexpensively? Or as a “free” bonus for buying some other package-priced item?
So you give in and buy a cute fluffy chick. Or six. And they are adorable, your kids are thrilled and you win Easter.
After five or six weeks when their feathers begin coming in and they look like scruffy punk-rockers they are no longer cute. They are outgrowing their box so now they smell. It’s a hassle to change their bedding every day and you don’t have room for a large box.
Now we start getting phone calls. And we gladly accept free roosters because that is one less bird we have to buy for our freezer. Ditto for the bunnies too.
Last year we were given 10 roosters and this guy is the only one left. He had lived his entire life in a cat crate which doesn’t have enough space or ventilation for proper care of a full-grown chicken.
This rooster is hilarious. Gorgeous but diminutive in size. I don’t know if his smaller-than-average-but-not-full-bantum size is a result of his breeding or a result of his early care (or lack thereof).
While all the other roosters have slowly ended up in the stew pot or barbecue, this guy has secured himself a free pass through his antics and beauty. He follows the kids around, staying just outside of arm’s reach, but never letting them out of his sight.
My Father-in-law won’t put him in the coop with the other chickens because he “figures he’s had enough wires in his life already” so he stays inside the backyard fence, eats whatever scraps get tossed his way, and roosts in the well house at night. He’s happier than he’s ever been in his life and it shows. Click to Tweet
I get a little bit preachy about not buying baby animals to look cute in an Easter basket. That’s because I’ve seen it from the other side. The side that has to put a half-wild feral dog down from disease or when it chases and kills the calves. The side that gets free roosters every year because people can’t be bothered to take care of the animals they buy.
So until we have a year where we don’t get offered Easter basket bunnies or chickens, I will continue to spread the word. I am hopeful the year will come when we won’t have this problem anymore.