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A Different Kind of Chicken Farm – Italian Farmer Raises Thousands of Chickens in the Woods

Most chicken farms nowadays consists of hangar-like facilities where chickens are cooped up by the thousands with hardly enough space to move around and, in some cases, no sunlight. It’s sad, but it’s also the only way food corporations can keep up with the increasing demand for cheap meat and eggs. However, one farmer in northern Italy runs a very different type of poultry farm – he is raising over 2,000 chickens in a patch of pristine Alpine forest.

48-year-old Massimo Rapella claims he became a chicken farmer by accident. He and his wife used to run an education NGO in the town of Sandrio, in northern Italy’s Valtellina valley, but when the 2008 financial crisis hit and the Italian government cut funding for social enterprises, they decided to move to the nearby mountains. They got a few chickens to provide eggs for their own consumption and soon noticed something interesting. The domesticated birds loved venturing into the nearby chestnut forest, but instead of building a fence to prevent them from doing so, the Rapellas actually encouraged this behavior. Today, they own around 2,100 chickens who spend their days rummaging and laying eggs in a 2-hectare patch of Alpine chestnut forest.

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Fashionable Chicken Pets Wear Diapers and Colorful Outfits

Statistics show a growing number of American families are replacing cats and dogs with chicken as household pets, so I guess it’s no wonder we’re starting to see things like chicken outfits, diapers and saddles being sold online.

Julie Baker is the owner of Pampered Chickens, an online business that sells a variety of accessories for pet chickens. She got the idea for bird diapers when her feathered friends started spending less time in the backyard and more time inside the house. They were making a mess, so she tried sewing chicken-sized cloth diapers, added some buttons and strapped them on the birds. It worked like a charm, and before long the idea turned into a business. These days Julie sells between 50 and 100 chicken diapers, as well fashionable outfits and protective saddles to urban hen owners across the United States. “Saddles are almost more useful than the diaper, quite frankly,” Baker told The Salt. “A rooster isn’t particularly kind to a hen when they mate. He grabs her by the back and pulls her feathers out. The hen ends up with a completely bare back. It gets raw and bleeds a little bit.” Her family has been a part of the poultry show community for a long time, and when friends saw her pets’ colorful garments, they started asking where she got them. before she new it, orders started rolling in.

Chicken-outfit

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