The rooster had no takers.
A dozen or so pet seekers crowded the front counter at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter on a recent Saturday. A few feet away, a woman lingered in front of a photo of Felipe the rabbit. Over in the dog kennels, a little girl pointed out a puppy to her father.
But no one asked about Hanz, the orange and white rooster that was pecking at feed in an outdoor kennel in the back. He didn’t even have a name card on his cage. And unlike the schnauzer inside, he had no sign that read, “Adopt me! I’m cute!”
Animal Control picked Hanz up in mid-October on Wild Cherry Lane in Germantown after some homeowners found him in their yard, according to Paul Hibler, deputy director of the county police’s Animal Services Division.
The question of what to do with Hanz — and other roosters like him — is an unforeseen byproduct of the growth of backyard chicken flocks, which proponents are touting as a more-nutritious and humane source of eggs.
Scientists and farming leaders are urgently seeking ways of fighting a disease new to the UK threatening sheep flocks.
Weeks after government vets confirmed the arrival in Britain of the deadly Schmallenberg virus, which causes miscarriages and birth deformities in lambs, 74 farms in southern and eastern England have been found to have the disease and the number is expected to rise sharply as the lambing season peaks.
Restrictions on animal movements, imports and exports are unlikely because officials do not want to further jeopardise rural economies to combat a virus that has also affected cattle and goats across Europe but is not thought to be dangerous to people. Public health bodies are monitoring the health of farmers, farm workers and vets who have been in contact with infected animals.
The National Farmers Union has warned of a “ticking time bomb” over the disease, which has affected up to 20% of lambs on some farms. The virus, which is thought to have been carried by midges over the North Sea or English Channel, is named after a farm in Germany where it was first identified last year. It was initially seen in cattle and quickly spread through the Netherlands and Belgium to northern France.
Following is the text of the U.S. chicken and eggs report, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
October Egg Production Down Slightly
United States egg production totaled 7.68 billion during October 2010, down slightly from last year. Production included 6.60 billion table eggs, and 1.08 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.01 billion were broiler-type and 71 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during October 2010 averaged 336 million, up slightly from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,285 eggs, down slightly from October 2009.
All layers in the United States on November 1, 2010 totaled 336 million, down slightly from last year. The 336 million layers consisted of 279 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 54.2 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 2.96 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2010, averaged 73.8 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from November 1, 2009.
Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 10 Percent
Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2010 totaled 41.3 million, up 10 percent from October 2009. Eggs in incubators totaled 38.6 million on November 1, 2010, up 12 percent from a year ago.