We waited in a much longer que than anticipated at the end of lane where a few hundred chickens rescued by the British Hen Welfare Trust had been brought and after checking us off the list 4 rather scratty ladies where scooped up, toenails clipped, and popped into our small animal carrier.
There were eggs all over the ground which the volunteers kept collecting as dealt with the long line of eager re-homers. A well deserved supper I would think.
My 4 new ladies were caged birds, not as bad as battery, but still not a great life. They can at least turn around. That day may have been their first view of the sun. They were certainly stressed and skinny and with few feathers.
Its hard. We want eggs on demand. So the hens that produce them become a commodity too. It is only cost effective to keep them for a limited period of time when they lay at their peak. Then they must be slaughtered. They are also being bred to lay larger eggs, that’s what we all want, that’s what recipes call from. The larger the egg, the more it hurts……. (makes sense especially to at least 50% of the human population), so if you are reading this do buy mixed size eggs to discourage this! If we ever decide that want them to live out their natural lives then we must expect to pay a lot more for our eggs.
I don’t want to stop eating eggs, they are a really good healthy food. Equally, I don’t want the birds to suffer. Accepting therefore that economics dictate that the birds must be slaughtered I have to make the decision when I buy that means free range only. Not even ‘barn’. That means mixed sizes, as above. The best life that they can have.
Of course we are lucky we have the space for our own chickens and these new ladies despite being a bit old for commercial production will really up our egg production along aside the show / pet breeds that we have just for fun. My 4 ladies are lucky too. Once home they were put into the coop in a coop of their own. A small but bigger space that they are used to, but so they could see and interact with my other ladies to reduce bullying. Two days later I let them out and they had a few scraps with my big birds but soon settled down. More importantly they had their first taste of grass and began to scratch in the dirt. I think they are happy.