A friend of mine pointed me to this little bit of information this morning from an article titled, 10 crazy insurance policies you didn’t know existed:
There’s been an upswing in insurance for pets like cats and dogs, which pays for costly illnesses or operations. Many companies now offer an optional employee benefit to those who want to purchase pet coverage through work. But what about beloved pets beyond Fido and Fluffy? Private companies now offer coverage for everything from backyard chickens to pet mice.
Wow. Chicken insurance? Instead of buying Chicken insurance a better way to protect the health of your flock would be to make sure your flock has a safe hen house free from predators, that the members have healthy food and clean water at all times, and that they have plenty of opportunity to exercise.
And that you educate yourself on the ownership of chickens.
It’s not that much different from humans’ health. If we eat clean food and water and get that exercise on a daily basis, chances are we won’t get sick or at least as sick as we might have gotten. Chances are you won’t have to go to the Doctors as often.
But what about accidents? In my last chicken workshop I warned the participants about having roosting bars too high. What can happen is that a larger bird can hop down and end up spraining its foot, or even create a hernia in its chest from the impact (you see this more in the smaller bantams.)
Accidents happen. If one of my children got injured (which quite a few have over the years) I wouldn’t hesitate to get them treated.
But one of our chickens? Because I have learned, and read, and paid attention to others, when a member of our flock gets injured (which quite a few have over the years) I do the best I can to treat them myself and make them comfortable. Sometimes this has meant that I’ve done surgery (Charlie’s fused feet) sometimes it has meant keeping an injured chicken in the house until she has recovered (Storm’s pecking injury.)
And because I have learned from others (including attending a Veterinarian Chicken class) I also know how to recognize illness and how to treat it. Sometimes, this requires isolation and support until the illness passes, and sometimes, like it did last fall, it requires making the decision to cull the chicken in order to end suffering.
I depend on my chickens for stories. I write about living with children *and* chickens in New Hampshire. But part of my stories include how we have handled illness and death, both in our family and in the flock.
When you take on the responsibility of caring for chickens, you take on the responsibility of treating them and limiting suffering. Part of that flock management includes recognizing that chickens will get sick, they will get injured, and even after your best attempts at treating them some will die.
It’s an important and natural chapter of any story.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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