Maya the Wise Chicken

| 3/4/2015 9:25:00 AM

Tags: Cam Mather, Ontario, chickens, poultry,


We have a matriarchal chicken coop, which isn’t surprising since they are “layers” and obviously all females. When we had just four chickens, we named them and could tell them apart, but now with 26 of them it’s a little harder.

Recently though, I have named one of them “Maya” in honour of Maya Angelou. She is one of our senior citizen hens. She no longer lays eggs but she still has a place in the pecking order of our flock.

(I’ve never actually read any of Maya Angelou’s books but she seemed like an amazing woman whenever I saw her on Oprah. I remember her talking about toxic people speaking negatively in her house. She would just tell them to get out and take their negativity with them. She said that negativity just hangs around the walls and sticks to the furniture so she wanted nothing to do with it.)

Most farming operations that have layers are profit driven. Therefore when a chicken stops laying she is “dispatched.” So a large operation would send the older chickens to be rendered into fats and turned into pet food, for example. On a small farm they may just end up in the soup pot. When Michelle asked the hatchery how long our layers could be expected to live she was told that the recommend “replacing” them every year. Hmmm….

Since we eat a plant-based diet (and have done so for 25 years) the soup pot is not an option, although we certainly aren’t averse to ending the suffering of an ailing hen when and if necessary.

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