Out of the 54 reasons I’m vegan, #22 and #23 are in honor of two winged beings who have grown increasingly near and dear to my heart: Chickens and Turkeys.
A few months back, I wrote a post called The Day I Fell in Love with a Chicken about a sweet hen who found her way into our backyard. We spent 10 days looking for her family eventually transforming a shed into a coop, and making her a part of our family. Our neighbors (the first people we approached), didn’t realize they were missing her. They came forth and reclaimed her. We were distraught to say good-bye. My 91-year old father-in-law admitted he was “growing quite fond of that sweet little chicken.”
Shortly after, a fellow classmate in the Master Gardener program at OSU was looking to rehome two aging chickens. We had the coop, we had the space, we said, “hell yes we’ll make a retirement home for a couple of old gals!”
Meet Stella’s Chickens: Marga and Rita. The highlight of Stella’s days are visiting her chickens. Each morning we let them out of the coop and hang out, each afternoon we visit to hang out and dole out treats, and each evening we put them to bed. At night, Stella goes into the coop and sniffs the nesting box just to make sure they’re safe.
About 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year in the US. Roughly 300 million hens, many living in very confined and unhealthy spaces for the entirety of their prematurely shortened lives, are used for the sole purpose of their eggs. And because male chicks serve no function to the egg industry, each year about 300 million male chicks are tossed onto a conveyor belt and dropped, alive, into a grinding machine.
Here are regularly updated stats from the US Humane Society on farm animals killed each year for food.
Want to learn more? Read this article by Free From Harm (viewer beware it is very graphic). Even the alleged humane slaughters would make a compassionate person wince in vicarious agony if she had to witness the mechanics of a humane death. An article by The Guardian sets the record straight: If Consumers knew how farmed chickens were raised, they might never eat meat again.
Now that we have chickens, I realize they are like the dogs of the fowl world. Marga & Rita have two distinct personalities. One relaxes in my arms, and the other prefers not to be touched. Each day Marga greets me with the enthusiasm of a long-awaited reunion with a twin separated at birth, sometimes running so fast and furiously she practically trips over her wings whereas Rita is much more calm, cool, and collected. At night, they take turns piling on the other to sleep. Rita is bossy but lets Marga, who attacks the treats like she’s starving (we call it chicken crack), eat first. Then, when Rita is ready for her treats, she pecks Marga on the head and tells her “move over!” We are all in love with these silly birds.
Reason #23 Turkeys
I adore our local turkeys almost as much as I do our chickens. They entertain us daily. We now have three different gangs of turkeys who visit our property. They each make their rounds at various times of the day. The newest is a gang of three hens and their seven offspring. The three hens are like sentries waiting patiently on the perimeter of the group as the babies forage. They call out to one another, clucking and clicking and fussing.
A courtship gone bad…
This is a super silly voiceover. The story told itself, really, but I had to nudge in there and add my three cents.
A vast contrast of wild turkeys to turkeys in captivity.
“Once you come to terms why you don’t eat dogs, cats, monkeys and dolphins, you’ll begin to understand why I don’t eat cows, pigs, chickens and lambs.”
“In its sacredness, families get together to (unintentionally?) celebrate one genocide (against Native Americans) by committing another (against turkeys).”
Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless
Christmas dinner’s dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey’s point of view.
~Shel Silverstein, “Point of View”
To see the other posts in this series click click click away
Post 1: International Homeless Animal Day & 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: #’s 1-3
Post 2: Sanctuary One & 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: #’s 4-11
Post 3: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Numbers 12-19
Post 4: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Coyotes and Wolves
Post 5: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Chickens and Turkeys
Post 6: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Smallish Animals and Reptiles 24-30
Post 7: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Marine Life & Birds
Post 8: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: African Animals
Post 9: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Rainforests, Air, Water, Soil, Climate Change, Peace & Hunger (50-54)