One of my young roosters

Today was interesting. We visited a chicken raising operation nearby to buy hay for the farm critters. It was a new hay dealer, the teenage son’s operation, and his dad owns the chicken factory. Yes, I’m calling it a factory because it was contracted to Tysons Chicken, which is a big player in this part of the world. So, I’m guessing, they produce their chickens to Tysons specifications. Let’s just say the alternate title to this post is “Why I homestead: part 2.”

I don’t have photos, although some people told me I should have taken some, in part because I wasn’t there to do an exposé, and that’s not really my agenda.

Experiencing first hand what you read about on the internet is eye opening. I hate those stories because they’re usually so laden in emotion and propaganda, it’s hard to know what’s truth and what’s blown out of proportion. Don’t think for a minute I’m exaggerating, and as proof I offer that the owner was really nice and it was clear this was just another normal day.

As we pulled in, we spotted a tractor with a bucket full of dead chickens. There were dead chickens all in the living quarters for the chickens, so the living had to live among the dead. The smell of rotting meat was overwhelming. They didn’t bother to clean up the dead in an efficient and sanitary manner.

It was beyond disgusting, and it turned me off of Tysons and reinforced that by raising my own, humanly treated chickens, I’ve made the right decision. At one point I almost threw up and I have a strong stomach. And on a farm, you see a lot of death (another one of those things you aren’t prepared for but get used to), so really, it was the unsanitary practices making my stomach churn.

My chickens will even get their own garden of goodies next spring! I scouted a location on the property near a pond that can’t be used for us. So I’ll grow greens, corn, millet, etc. especially for them. On the pond itself, I’m thinking of growing cranberries for the chickens!

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Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category.  Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.

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