Do My Lips Look Funny?

Back in March I went in search of hens.  I opted to bypass the chick-raising stage and try to find some pullets that were a little closer to laying.  After scouring my area, I finally located an Amish family about fifteen minutes away with pullets for sale.  Asking price:  $8.  I thought, “What a bargain!”  Seriously … that’s almost what a whole chicken costs out of the meat case at the grocery store!

So I bought six of them.  I was quite impressed as I saw the young Amish woman dive into the mass of pullets and come up with four at one time … by the legs … two in each hand.  Like I said.  I was impressed.  When I asked her the name of the variety, she replied that they are, “Brown Commons.”  Which means, I think, they are basically “mutts,” a mixture of several breeds, produced for heavy egg production. (In the Amish world, if you fail to produce, you wind up sold or eaten … rapidly.)  I helped her load six of the brown-read beauties into my borrowed rabbit cage, forked over the cash, and header for home.

After I released them into the coop and watched them for a while, I noticed that their beaks looked really funny.  Indeed, their little mouths seemed to always be open and their tongues flicked out a lot.  I suddenly realized that they were missing the hooks on their beaks!

What a beautiful smile!

Sadly, my little ladies have had their beaks clipped.  This is a rather cruel procedure performed on chicks in a production setting.  The idea is that they are rendered unable to peck, cause bleeding, then cannibalize a fellow chicken.  But the side-effect is that they cannot bite anything, or even crack larger seeds.  They basically eat by sticking a wet tongue to their target.  It’s kind of sad.  It leaves them defenseless.  But they make due.

All the more reason for me to provide our ladies with a safe environment.  Now they will get to live out all their days in the comfort of our luxury “Hendomenium.”

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Categories: Beak Clipping, Hens | Tags: | Leave a comment

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