Foul conditions for fowls

Published on 9 February 2022

RSPCA Victoria says not to wing it when it comes pet care

After an influx of chickens and roosters into shelters and an increase in cruelty reports, RSPCA Victoria is urging all owners or potential owners to do their research before welcoming a feathered friend into their family.

Over the past 18 months, many poultry farms have reported a surge in inquiries from members of the public looking to acquire birds to keep for domestic purposes. RSPCA Inspectors are seeing an increase in cases where poultry are being housed in inappropriate or sub-standard conditions, as well as reports around insufficient or inappropriate feed. In 2020-21 RSPCA Victoria received 345 cruelty reports regarding fowl, an increase of 18.2% on the previous year.

One standout case reported to RSPCA Victoria late last year involved an Inspector attending a property in the Whitehorse Council area where two roosters were being housed in a supermarket trolley with no access to proper or sufficient food or water. The space in which they were confined was far too small, with a build-up of faeces in the cooking pan used as a base for the makeshift poultry cage. The only shelter from the elements was a piece of aged carpet draped over the trolley, with an upturned chair to hold it in place.

When an RSPCA Victoria Inspector attended the Whitehorse Council property on the day the report was received, it was clear the persons in charge of the roosters did not have sufficient knowledge or resources to support the welfare of the birds. Both animals were seized and taken to RSPCA Victoria’s Burwood East Animal Care Centre where they were provided with clean water, chicken feed, fresh fruit and vegetables. The roosters were also treated for parasites and housed in appropriate poultry housing with space to scratch and forage along with perches and clean bedding.

Inspector Kate Davies said there seemed to be a trend around ‘pandemic poultry’ as many people in lockdown looked to become less reliant on traditional supply chains.

‘Poultry make really great pets, but they still require a significant amount of care to ensure they remain happy and healthy.

‘They must have access to comfortable, clean and secure housing that offers protection from the
weather and predators. Owners will also need to ensure the provision of appropriate feed,
companionship, enrichment and health care,’ said Ms Davies.

RSPCA Victoria encourages anyone looking to acquire poultry to check with their local council
regarding regulations and restrictions in relation to the number and type of birds that may be kept on a property, including whether a permit is required.

Both roosters have since been rehomed on a farm in Northern Victoria where they are thriving in their
new environment.

Anyone with concerns for the welfare of animals is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria’s
Inspectorate via www.rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222.

For more on caring for poultry visit RSPCA Knowledge Base

r poultry visit RSPCA Knowledge Base

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