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From Sara - 11 Mar 2009

I agree that situations can be harsh in places that house hens for commercial production. It is also understandable with 800,000 chickens that there are going to be fatalities. Now maybe their method of disposal of male chicks isn't humane by stacking them live together. Snapping the neck on a chick is relatively simple and very quick and painless for them. Were those male chicks dead or tossed in alive? And you're right, it isn't cost effective for egg producers to treat sick animals because there will be another hen waiting in line to take her place. Something else to look at is how and where the chicks are raised.

Battery hens wouldn't know what to do outside, they are raised specifically to sit. And their beaks? Trimming them is like trimming a finger nail. Even backyard farmers need to trim beaks on over eager roosters sometimes and there is the occasional hen with a crossed beak. Trimming allows them to eat to stay alive and it needs to be done regularly, they do grow back.

That said, not eating eggs will not solve the problem. Chickens, ducks and geese will just keep on laying regardless of where they are housed. Support your local small scale backyard farmer rather than where the chicks languish in heated henhouses, have room to move about in large runs, and can pick and scratch like they love to do. Our eggs are more healthy for you anyway.

Chicken farmers are not all created equal. Please don't bunch everyone who raises chickens into one lump because we are not all created the same.

And as for roosters, well, they can be problematic and often fight so it's logical that people who want hens for layers won't want to keep them. It's like keeping a bull, they can be pushy with bad attitudes and if you mix too many together they're going to kill each other anyway. What is worse, culling them while still chicks or letting them mutilate each other and having to cull them regardless? I have talked to many who have taken in battery hens and adopted wayward roos to give them homes.

I love having fresh eggs: I know where they come from, I know what they eat, I know how they live. Hens and roos born as battery chicks don't know life any better than where there at, they are raised to do what they do.

And as for the hatcheries, that is a different story and if you actually knew a little bit more about the various chicken breeds, you'd know that MANY breeds have no inkling to sit on eggs (they don't go broody) or they don't get broody too often. If they don't sit on the eggs, someone needs to step in and help the developing chick inside. As with many places that encourage the homesteader to raise chickens, historic and rare breeds need extra help to bring chicks into the world because they don't all get broody for long enough periods to keep their populations climbing. By hand-raising them we are adding to the gene pool and making them healthier and plentiful for those who want to have the beautiful animals in their backyard. Raising chicks in a brooder is sometimes necessary, especially when bringing breeds back from near extinction.

Not eating eggs won't help anything because hens will continue to lay eggs regardless of whether or not they are eaten or not (regardless of a roo in residence) so why not eat them and keep them from more spoilage? Buy local eggs or raise your own hens. That should be protest enough for the commercial egg industry.

Sara

Reply from Frank and Mary

Thank you very much for your comments and questions.

The male chicks are disposed of alive and they slowly suffocate to death.

When a hen is debeaked, the beak does not grow back, and quite often it remains painful for the rest of their lives. Also sometimes they even cut off part of the tongue. Furthermore, we have been around rescued hens and they get along just fine running around the yard just like chickens are supposed to do.

We're sorry, but we don't buy your argument about eating eggs. The more eggs people buy and eat, the more chickens that will be bred, the more birds will end up suffering. If the demand for eggs falls off, there will be no need for new hens to be bred, and thus there will be no surplus of eggs.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

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