Zoo Chickens

July 26, 2011

Today we took the kids on a family outing to the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  It is a great medium sized zoo with lots of interactive exhibits.  We had a fantastic day touring the zoo.  As we wandered into the petting zoo and barnyard section, I had the privilege of meeting one of the head zookeepers in their chicken coop.  Her ears perked up when she heard the kids and I start talking about our own backyard flock.  She had as many questions for me about raising chickens in Massachusetts as I had for her raising them in the setting of the zoo.

Over time, the zoo has lost many of their chickens to age.  It is incredibly difficult for them to replenish their flocks, due to quarantine restrictions mandated by the zoo.  Fear of introducing disease to their numerous species of birds, requires that the chicken are housed away from other avian species for 30 days.  Their best alternative is to incubate eggs.  This way, they can be certain that outside pathogens are not introduced.




They have a large barn, approximately 30’x15′.  This is their coop.  Inside, it partitioned off into three sections.  Each section has it’s own roosts, feeder, waterer along with four nesting boxes.  These sections house three varieties of chickens seperate from one another.  The floor of the coop and run are cement.  These are hosed down daily.  In addition, the pine shavings that are spread in the nesting boxes and on the coop’s floor are also changed daily.  Biosecurity is a top priority around here.  Visitors are encouraged to view the chickens through the chicken wire.

Currently, the zoo is down to two sets of bantam chickens, two roosters and two hens.  I was lucky enough to meet them.  They were quite cute to say the least, especially when the roosters both crowed as I got close to their girls.  The zoo hopes to increase their chicken population come next Spring.  It was very interesting to see how chickens live at the zoo and have been incorporated into this controlled setting.  The only thing that I felt badly about was the fact that they did not have access to a good old fashioned dirty dust bath!




Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest


Author/Blogger/Freelancer-Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.



2 thoughts on “Zoo Chickens”

  1. Hi Sophie. I did not find the animals mistreated. I jsut found that they did things differently than we would in our own backyards, because of restrictions/regulations. The chickens seemed happy with bright combs and wattles and lots of energy. They had a very nice set up with lots of space. I did not find it cruel. The only difference that I suggested was to place a large bin filled with sand/dirt in the run so that the chickens could dust bathe. It would be optimal for the chickens to have a dirt run. However, given their circumstances and the obstables to even keep chickens, I was glad to see the zoo giving it their best attempt. I am sorry if this post upset you.


Leave a Comment

About me

Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.