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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Liberate the layers!

In some of my articles I have expressed my opposition to industrial layer houses. Agriculture is my profession and commercial egg production is one of the technologies that I am critical of. I have seen them first hand (visitors are justifiably no longer allowed in them for biosecurity reasons). In layer facilities, 5 or 6 hens are jammed in a cage so small that they can’t spread their wings. Thousands of cages are stacked in a building so that even with air ventilation systems it is difficult to breath. The hens never see natural sunlight or eat a fresh plant or insect during their two years of life. They go through 2 production cycles, the second one following a forced molting through reduction or complete withdrawal of food and sometimes water. View a slide show at the following address that explains the entire egg production process.
http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/poultry/publication/commegg/sld001.htm I believe that layer housing is cruel. I encourage everyone to adopt one of the following strategies: 1. Buy free range eggs in the grocery store. They are usually only $0.50 to $1.00 per dozen higher in price – about the cost of a diet Coke. These facilities liberate the layers from the small cages. They are still fairly congested but it is a good compromise. 2. Buy your eggs from a local producer where you can actually see how the hens are raised. 3. GROW YOUR OWN! This blog has over 20 articles with great ideas for raising chickens. You can do it under most conditions – even in the inner city with cooperation from your neighbors (threaten to turn them in for their marijuana production if they turn you in for your egg production). Order your chicks today. Liberate the layers!

“Let me out!”

A commercial pasture layer operation in Maryland

Dale’s layers stroll through the grass

Dale from Maryland visits Marisa’s suburban Utah chickens.

~Dale Maurice Johnson


Zachary and Jennifer said...

How many eggs can you expect one hen (a happy free-range hen) to lay in a week?

Unknown said...

From my best layers I get close to an egg a day from spring to fall. The egg production goes down in the colder months. It really does depend on the breed though, I had a silkie that only layed about 3 tiny eggs per week, and my friend Brandi has a breed that she says sometimes lays 2 eggs in one day. I would go to mypetchicken.com and look through the breeds and see the statistics on them.

Tea Rose said...

Sometimes I forget what life was like before chickens became members of our household. Even tonight, my husband admired our girls and admitted how wrong he was about all the bad things he expected from them (smell, high cost to keep, loads of backbreaking work). None of which are true at all. Backyard chickens are such a sweet welcomed animal to keep - I honestly don't understand why everyone doesn't keep a flock of their own. We have 4 right now, a Black Sex Link, a Buff Orpington and two Ameracaunas. We average 3-5 eggs per day from them. We suspect it is our sex link that sometimes gives us two a day but I still favor those freckled brown eggs from the orpington. :-)

Liz said...

Hi Guys what a great blog you have!! thought I'd say hi here from New Zealand. I have six chickens here on my twelve acres. They're healthier being free range. Trouble is finding their nests is sometimes an ordeal. And no I don't like Battery hen farming either - I used to work on one years ago aweful places to be.