Natural – Truth in Advertising

Once I starting keeping chickens, I took a closer look at the kind of eggs that were sold in the stores. The ones we were buying were labelled “organic” – but what the heck did that mean for the chickens?

Looking at the egg cartons in stores, you’ll find terms like farm fresh, nutritious, omega 3 enhanced, natural, happy chickens, organic, free range, cage free, pastured, humane, animal welfare approved, pretty family farm pictures, – no one ever says anything like industrial, conventional, cage hens, may contain salmonella, egg yolk contains soy, fed GMO corn, product contains antibiotics, inferior eggs, may contain traces of pesticides.

I found the whole thing confusing myself even for over a year after getting my own eggs from the garden-chicks, so really, they got us wrapped…and to this day I get emotionally fooled when I read “All Natural” on food. That is the biggest lie of all – you won’t believe the things “natural” foodstuffs can contain – and get THIS: you do NOT even have the right to KNOW what is in it. Let that sink in for a bit. It is just that “natural” STILL sounds like something so good,  like nature made it, not dabbled with, left whole and wholesome – and in the United States, that could not be further from the truth.

One of my early home-made bread experiments

Just the other day I was in a store looking for rye bread .oh, there is was – clear and in big letters – RYE BREAD – and STILL I have to remind myself consciously that the claim is false. When I moved to the USA in the mid-eighties, I looked for bread, decent bread to buy. Coming from Germany, I was used to all kinds of freshly baked breads – real bakeries were within walking distance everywhere I lived growing up. I remember 3 main varieties: Brötchen – rolls – the likes of which I have never seen in the USA, made of wheat four, double baked rye bread – made with rye flour (it didn’t need to say pure, 100% – is was RYE bread), and mixed bread – made with a mixture of rye and wheat flour. I was looking for rye bread …and I didn’t pay much attention to the ingredients list and ended up with the “rye” bread that had those seeds in it …oh dear. That was about 25 years ago – and to this day, when I pick up packages which are labelled “Rye Bread” – the main ingredient is WHEAT.  There simply is not the same standard in food labeling here as I grew up with.

I will write a different post on what the various – and confusing, misleading, and clever terms you see on egg cartons actually mean for your eggs and the chickens.

In the meantime, just in case you are curious to find out more about just HOW WELL you are being manipulated, this here is a very powerful and eye opening  video made about The Secrets of Food Marketing, Published on May 12, 2014. Below it is a response to one of the comments that made a point of saying that they did not present a solution – I say: you really need to be willing to look at and admit that what is happening may be problematic – the only way to address a problem is to admit there is one.
We all have a choice to then do what is consistent with what we believe in, is important to us or hold dear.

I don’t mind if she is an actress, as long as what she says is true (if you do some research you will see that it’s not a lie !)

Compassion in World Farming : Hi Jake thanks for your reply. Please note that this video was never actually intended to offer the solution to factory farming – we simply wanted to grab people’s attention to encourage them to think about how they eat, and ways in which they can help stop suffering.
Compassion in World Farming’s aim is to end factory farming for the betterment of animal welfare, people’s health and the planet, and exposing the industry in ways such as this are vital to this work. Our work has changed laws which has led to the improvement of conditions for farm animals and better quality food for humans. We campaign for better conditions, and also work with the food industry to improve animal welfare within supply chains:
We have a programme of Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards which are currently set to benefit 287 million animals.

Research has actually shown that intensive farming is incredibly wasteful and cannot be sustained. 87% of the calories that factory farmed animals consume are wasted (for every 100 calories of animal feed, made of soya and other cereals that humans can eat, rather than grass which we cannot, 13 calories of meat/dairy are produced).

Feeding the planet should not come at the expense of animal welfare, human health or the environment – all of which you can read more about on our website: The truth is that we won’t be able to continue our current farming methods if we want to feed the planet. For a start, we need to reduce our consumption of animal products, and increase the standard of those products. I think you might find our research materials interesting, including our Manifesto for a Caring Food Policy, which starts by discussing problems of hunger and obesity and the disproportionate allocation of food across the world: There is a wide range of research here which goes into further detail on our solutions-based approach to ending factory farming for animals, people and the planet:

“You got to examine your life – and you got to do it now, before you die” – E.J. Gold

Employment benefits for chickens?

Hello. Since not all who come across this webpage are homesteaders or urban chicken keepers, I’d like to start with a question or 2: Have you EVER really seen a chicken lay an egg? Have you ever seen a woman give birth? ok …

IF you had ever seen a chicken give birth …ehh…lay an egg – you would KNOW it generally is HARD WORK, takes sometimes a very long time, sometimes tears something, there is a lot of panting and pushing, sometimes makes the hen let out a yelp, sometimes there is blood – and – doing it almost every day, week after week – is demanding on their bodies. And sometimes an egg gets stuck and unless remedied in time – the hen dies.

Before getting chickens myself, I had not realized that in egg production the word “labor” really does apply. Then I got chickens of my own and saw it with my own eyes. Those girls really do work very hard indeed. I just always thought – birds lay eggs, so it is natural, meaning easy, right?…except for the “overbred” part, as “normal” chickens only lay between 10 and 20 eggs per year, rather than 250- 320 per year.

I decided to “keep” our own chickens mainly for animal welfare reasons, no longer being able or willing to support the conditions millions of hens are forced to live under in the commercial chicken keeping industry. In addition, the eggs of those slave laborers, bless them all, are nutritionally inferior and the environmental impact of those operations are sometimes downright destructive. (links to follow when those posts have been written)

So recently, fertilized eggs in hand, I  am looking at getting more chickens a bit as if offering an employment. For as yet not developed eggs, I say something like this:

“Chicken spirits, we would like some eggs for our nutrition. In exchange for your product and labor, I am offering a chance for a life on earth as a chicken in our garden. This includes benefits such as bathing, sun bathing, scratching and pecking in the grasses and soil for worms and bugs. I offer a predator-safe place to sleep at night, daily free range on pasture  with greens  and organic soy free food, deep shade during the summer.Other benefits include: being seen, hearing the 4 lines, songs, love, preening and cuddling if desired and management of any overly interested and persistent roosters :).

This will last for  however long you can do any work… which point you may or may not be serving for someone as nutrition. This will depend on your general demeanor as well as your willingness to also reliably hatch chicks and on the circumstances of those you serve.

There will be no fake free range in overcrowded conditions, no de-beaking at birth and your hatched baby brothers will get a chance to experience life rather than being chopped up or suffocated at birth.

On this earth, we all have to face death one way or another and it is part of the deal for you too. Yours will likely be via cone and with prayers and gratitude. Some of you roosters will be going to the feedstore – with prayers for a good life. If that is not acceptable – please don’t come here to this location to incarnate and work.

That is the best I can do.

And below is a question for you, dear reader, and put I this photo together for you ….

If you are not vegan, you probably still eat eggs, no?

Where would you rather have YOUR eggs come from? If you care about animal welfare – please consider supporting your local farmers and chicken keepers who allow chickens a life where they can express their chicken-ness. Think globally, grow spiritually –  buy locally and resourced. Is it more expensive – yes, and considering, if you pay taxes, some of which go to the industry, you even pay more indirectly. And don’t be fooled by the marketing terms on the egg cartons.

I vote for better employment conditions everywhere.

Of course – pet chickens are kept for other reasons, but these chickens come here for a certain type of work.

🙂 I think our chickens have a pretty darn good job with great employment benefits.