We can almost hear the groans of raise-your-own-chickens folks when they read this.

No, we are not trying to discourage people from raising chickens. It's more an issue of sharing the cautionary tale as written in an article on page 5.

The nonprofit organization that authored the article is concerned with the "compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl," and offers advice on keeping chickens. While we've often read about the benefits and pleasures of the hobby, some of what is included in this article came as a surprise.

We've all heard of so-called puppy mills, businesses that make money by keeping female dogs pregnant and selling their often sickly offspring. Who knew there was such a practice among those raising and selling baby chicks.

Imagine calling roosters "filler," including them in mail orders for female chickens simply to get rid of them. And imagine sending baby chicks through the mail without food or water for days.

We know well one particular neighborhood in Pepperell with a family that raises chickens. They are well cared for and highly thought of by their owners. They have names and come running when the owner calls.

The roosters in the family have brought mixed reactions from neighbors. The houses are not close to each other but the roosters are certainly audible and they don't all sound the same. The notion that roosters crow at sunrise, with a familiar cock-a-doodle-do, is a misnomer.


One older couple in the neighborhood loves the sound of the roosters, regardless of the time, finding humor in a midnight crowing. Another family doesn't like the noise, which caused the chickens' owner to cut down the number of roosters on the small farm.

Raising chickens yourself in order to harvest fresh eggs and/or the meat seems the epitome of organic farming. But there is more to it than many folks know.

If you have an inkling to try it, read the article on page 5. It'll give your some food for thought before your embark on the adventure.