Backyard poultry are increasing in suburban and even urban areas. The animals are often obtained as sources of fresh eggs, but many become pets after their egg production has ended. In addition, many of these animals are treated more as pets than as production animals even during their production cycle, and the owners and their families may become very bonded to them.
Companion animal practitioners may be requested to provide veterinary care for backyard chickens or livestock. This can present challenges for some companion animal veterinarians who might receive calls or walk-ins involving these kinds of animals, especially for those who have rarely worked with such species or have not dealt with them since veterinary school. These animals present unique challenges because they may be treated as pets by their owners but remain food animals in the eyes of the state and federal laws and regulations.
Here are the top 5 things that can help when small-animal veterinarians receive unexpected calls from clients about pet chickens (AVMA members only).
Consult or Refer
Know the Legalities
Credentials and Coverage
Veterinary Feed Directives