|Chicken by Flickr user pjah73|
But how, exactly, do you go about making sure your hen (or roo) finds a good new home? Here's where we urban chicken farmers can take a page from successful pet adoption techniques that have seen many dogs and cats find new homes.
How to look for a new owner for your chicken:
- Reach out to other responsible chicken owners. This is your best bet to make sure your chook winds up in a good new home: going to someone who's already familiar with keeping chickens. No matter where you live, you can be sure there's someone else keeping chickens nearby. Look for Yahoo! groups or Meetups or even 4-H clubs -- more info on finding urban chicken farmers near you.
- Advertise where other pets are being put up for adoption. This is a double-edged sword of a recommendation, as both well- and ill-intentioned folks look in the same place for animals to acquire. Give the ubiquity of Craigslist, that's a good place to start. While the sale of pets is prohibited on Craigslist, you can list your chicken to be re-homed along with a small adoption fee.
- Make your chicken attractive, but remember to be honest. Include a picture of your chook in your listing, and talk up her good qualities, but don't forget to responsibly share your chicken's shortcomings (especially if "she" is a "he" and you're trying to re-home a rooster!). Has your hen shown dominant behavior in your flock? Is she an inconsistent layer? Is she broody? You'll want to be sure the new owner has a heads up on anything that might be quirky about their new edition. The last thing you want to do is frustrate the new owner with surprises before they've had a chance to bond.
- Never advertise your chicken for free. Animal welfare groups warn that "free pet" ads attract unscrupulous folks, and I think it's safe to say those who'd be interested in sourcing new roos for cockfighting fall in this category. By charging even a small stipend to change hands, you're helping keep the ne'er-do-wells at bay.
If you have other tips for this list or for the next post on how to screen, please leave them in the comments below!