19.03.2021. - Poultry Day
From the perspective of Gut Aiderbichl
(written by Gisela Pschenitschnig)
Poultry Day mentally belongs to the chickens, geese and other birds that are part of nature. Poultry is the generic term for bird species that are bred as livestock or pets, and which also serve as food for humans. Poultry is mainly bred for the consumption of meat and eggs. However, handbags made of ostrich leather or anoraks filled with down are also sold.
Man may be the last cry, but he is not the last word of creation
Gut Aiderbichl, Europe's largest animal sanctuary, has been around for twenty years. The staff and the animals in their care have become very familiar with each other.
We are learning to interpret the body language of cats, dogs, donkeys, pigs or deer better and better. We also understand the language of horses, ponies, goats and sheep.
On our Schroffnergut, at the farm in Henndorf and on some other of our grace farms live numerous chickens, ducks and geese as well as peacocks. Konrad Lorenz would have had his fun here and would have fallen in love with our Maxime, a beautiful mute goose.
The feathered animals are intelligent and we are far from the saying of the stupid chicken. Chickens have a distinct social behaviour, they talk to their unborn, their language has numerous "cackle sounds" and these signals have a similar effect on conspecifics as human words.
Chickens are intelligent like mammals. They love music - some like it rocky, some classical. There are chickens that appreciate the company of humans, while others are shy, reserved and can also become aggressive. Every chicken, every goose and every peacock prove to us again and again that there is also a distinct personality in their small, colourful feathered bodies.
The happy chickens on the farms of Gut Aiderbichl
In recent years, numerous organic chickens have also been saved from slaughter, as it was the case in August 2020. Chickens as young as 18 months old were no longer able to lay and were to be slaughtered. Chickens are not disposable creatures. Such a way of thinking contradicts Aiderbichr's basic approach to animal welfare. An animal rights activist and Gut Aiderbichl together prevented the slaughter of the young chickens. They could be given to private "chicken lovers" and a large flock also lives on our farm.
This rescue was similarly dramatic as that of Rosa, a chicken from a floor husbandry farm. Rosa had come to us in a pitiful condition: no feathers, many pecking injuries, broken feathers, bent claws and much more. Anita Hartner was at the animal rescue and had the naked chickens knitted jumpers so they wouldn't freeze. Rosa got feathers again and she clucked happily and laid her eggs. Unfortunately, she passed away this year in January. She was a very special animal and she convinced us of her intelligence and kindness. We will not forget you, dear Rosa.
Happy chickens and Easter
Rosa had become a happy chicken at Gut Aiderbichl. I know happy chickens mainly from my grandmother's chicken coop. There were no "turbo laying chickens" there. Each one had a name and they also recognised their grandmother by her voice. In the evening, they hopped onto the perch on the ceiling and slept until the rooster woke them all up again in the morning.
Artjom and Franz-Josef, two roosters who live in Henndorf, crow to themselves all day long at the farm. Their beautiful crowing does not disturb anyone. Artjom in particular has a voice like a young tenor. Where he lived, his joyful crowing disturbed the neighbours, so he had to leave.
Easter is slowly approaching...You can already buy coloured eggs in the supermarkets and this will last for weeks. Do I eat the egg of a happy or a "stressed" hen? This question is worth considering.
Who contributes to the suffering of the chickens?
It is not the person who keeps the chickens in free-range, barn-raised or cage-raised conditions. It is the consumer who decides. One look should be enough to know how the hen laid the egg. Happy and relaxed in free-range husbandry or stressed in floor or cage husbandry.
An egg with the symbols AT for Austria and 1 for free-range is an egg laid by a relaxed, Austrian hen.
Sincerely, your Gisela