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…..at 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.