Backyard Hens: Concerns And Challenges
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM Lukas Jasiunas,
May 2019

Challenges for backyard chicken flocks include predation, malnutrition, disease, lack of qualified veterinary support, and discarding at old age.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Despite a growing interest in keeping backyard hens, very little is actually known about already existing populations, and the state of welfare such birds face. Some research exists on backyard birds and the recent resurgence of the practice, but much of it has focused on who the people getting backyard chickens are, and why they choose to live with hens.

Most backyard bird-keepers have been found to be highly educated women with household incomes of over $100,000 USD a year; when asked why they keep chickens, 95% of respondents said they were for “food for home use,” referring to the consumption of the hens’ eggs, while 63% also marked them as “gardening partners” and “pets” (5%). In general, people report being satisfied with the experience, stemming from a feeling that they provide better care for their chickens compared to those seen on commercial farms. Interestingly, researchers also noticed a tendency to regard the birds as companion animals in the long run, despite having acquired them as a food source.

This study sought to outline the welfare concerns faced by backyard chickens, and provide some possible solutions through a review of the current literature on the topic.

Read more at Backyard Hens: Concerns And Challenges... 

Lukas Jasiunas is an active animal advocate and proponent of science. He is currently a PhD candidate in the field of Chemical Engineering studying ways to replace petroleum products by making use of widely available residual biomass.

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