Saturday, August 29, 2009

Episode 41 Chickens



Hello and welcome to another quality episode of Jay Wont dart's podcast, where I talk about things that live in my backyard.

My intro was from over population is a myth .com . I'd mentioned overpopulation as being a danger in an earlier episode, perhaps I were wrong, going to over population is a doesnt take very long, so why not?

My father recently bought home some chickens, two hens and a rooster. Im against having pets, but having spent time with these lovely birds, I'd find it hard to send these chickens on their way. I've never really liked cats or dogs, I find them noisy and messy, but birds and insects have always been very dear to me.

I'll read from wikipedia,

"Chickens are omnivores.[9] In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even larger animals such as lizards or young mice[10].
Chickens may live for five to eleven years, depending on the breed.[11] In commercial intensive farming, a meat chicken generally lives only six weeks before slaughter.[12] A free range or organic meat chicken will usually be slaughtered at about 14 weeks. Hens of special laying breeds may produce as many as 300 eggs a year. After 12 months, the hen's egg-laying ability starts to decline, and commercial laying hens are then slaughtered and used in baby foods, pet foods, pies and other processed foods.[13] The world's oldest chicken, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, died of heart failure when she was 16 years old.[14]

At the back of this house, there are a few brick sheds, a glasshouse and a chicken coup are the main ones. If you go to my flickr account, which I'll link to on my blog, , you can see photos and even videos of the chickens and where they are living. I'll play the audio from the videos in this episode, but its much better if you see the chickens for yourself! I tried to record the noises they make by taking my laptop into the chicken coup, it was a little difficult, I didnt want to get smeared chicken poo on my PowerBook, but I somewhat pulled it off. They are very quiet, but you can make them out, they often make little noises to talk to each other, they like to stay near each other at all times.

This is one clip I made of the chickens talking to each other.

Here I am feeding the rooster grain, he pecks food from your hand.

Having just been moved here, they are still very nervous about where they now live. The chickens stay together at all times, and I think they must be very scared of us. I try and be as nice as I can to them, I call out before I go into the chicken coop, so I can get them used to my voice, so they know to expect someone to come crashing through the door that had been close for the previous hours. I feed them grain and chicken mash, and put water in a large saucer for them to drink from, although I still havnt seen them drink yet.

The hens in particular are extra scared, boy chickens, roosters, and girl chickens, hens, are very different from each other, its kind of like the 1950's, where women stayed at home and raised the children, while the men were police, chasing bad guys and protecting the community. The hens seem almost petrified if they are ever out of sight of the rooster, they really need him to lead them. I think this is because they trust him so much, and they are so very nervous at the moment, having just been bought here, I hope if future they will confidently walk further away from him.

On my flickr account, you can see this video, where I give a little tour of where these chickens live.

Looking up chicken care websites, many start off saying that chickens are lovely animals to keep as pets, and then once they get to a suitable size, you kill them for meat! Cripes! One site had a indepth tutorial on how to kill them, how to pull their guts out right. On the site, the ads were to do with
Grisley "related resources" panel

Related Resources
Meat Electric Grinder Meat Rib Brat Lamb Chop Lamb Eel Meat Grinder Oyster Wings Ostrich Brain Crabs Sushi"

I was reminded of a podcast episode debating veganism and a standard diet including animal byproducts. In this debate, the person who eats animal products defends it because he sees chickens as very stupid animals. This is from the Debate Hour podcast, which you can find a few free episodes on iTunes by searching for "debate hour".

What a load of rubbish, chickens are very much living, feeling animals. I do notice that they move oddly, every move a chicken makes is a jerk, they dont move smoothly, they whirr and click, as if they have gears with cogs inside their bodies, they have to stop at certain points, as the cogs catch. This looks pretty odd, the way they jerk so much, but its endearing, not something to hate them about. Its a bird thing. Chickens definitely care about each other, as I said, the hens really want to stay with the rooster. When a Rooster finds food, he will often call the hens over to eat, he looks after them. And of course, we all know how maternal hens are, its used as a description of mothers, "you're like a mother hen", as women age, they become "broody", when they want to settle down and have children. Chickens may not be as smart as some animals, but theres no doubt they feel just as well as any animal, including people. From being around chickens, theres certainly no reason I can see for eating them.

Thank you for listening.

You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Jay Wont darts podcast at

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, j a y w o n t d a r t @, I'd appreciate it.

Have a super happy day, bye.


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