Abandoned roosters in North Okanagan an animal welfare issue | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Vernon News

Abandoned roosters in North Okanagan an animal welfare issue

This rooster was abandoned on Silver Star Road near Vernon.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kristen Wilkinson

A North Okanagan woman is calling for change after taking in several roosters this past year that were abandoned likely due to their gender.

Kristen Wilkinson, who lives on Silver Star Road near Vernon, rescued five abandoned chickens last spring when they were dumped, and rescued a rooster last week with two more are still on the loose.

She’s posted about her experience in various Facebook groups and said others are posting about abandoned roosters as well.

“It’s happening all the time,” she said.

Wilkinson will re-home the roosters or cull them humanely, she said. She has chicken farm and sells organic eggs.

“Seeing this, it’s just not right. People shouldn’t be dumping their roosters. If you’re going to commit to having chickens you’re going to have to commit to having them until the end and if you can’t keep roosters, you have to find ways to humanely deal with them,” she said.

The main issue is when people buy chicks that haven’t yet been sexed. Half of the chicks are likely to be male. However, one rooster is only needed for every eight to 10 hens. Roosters will fight with one another over mating with the hens, she said.

“You realistically can’t keep all the roosters you hatch out and people aren't willing to take the time to find a solution to deal with them,” Wilkinson said.

One idea is waiting until the chickens are old enough to determine their sex. There are Okanagan residents that will cull the birds and use them for dog food, she said, if owners can't cull the birds themselves.

“There’s nothing wrong with rooster meat,” she said, adding she eats her extra roosters.

“I’m hoping people step up and take responsibility for their own shit, honestly,” she said. “They’re domesticated animals, they depend on us for food, water and shelter. It’s not OK to dump them.”

In Lake Country, the Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary that houses farm animals, gets calls daily from someone looking to re-home a rooster, founder Antoinette Monod said.

READ MORE: Flock of chickens found with frostbitten feet after being abandoned in Central Okanagan

Last winter, during a cold snap, a flock of chickens and a rooster were abandoned along Postill Lake Road near Lake Country. All the birds wound up with frostbitten feet.

“The problem is nobody wants roosters,” she said. “We can only take so many because they fight and they have to have their own territories. And if nobody takes them, their options are to kill them or release them and go ‘good luck, little buddy.’”


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