Top 4 Reasons Factory Farms HATE Your Chickens August 15, 2014

Do you raise backyard pet chickens? Factory farms hate your chickens—and they hate you. You and your chickens are Public Enemy #1 to them!

factory farms hate your chickens

So very threatening, right?

In fact, the main reason humanely produced local eggs tend to be so much more expensive than eggs produced by factory farms is because the price of factory farm eggs is kept artificially low when factory farm producers aren’t required to provide humane care for their flocks.  In the cruel stress of severe overcrowding, factory farms keep the hens from hurting each other by searing part of their beaks off. They are not required to invest in the space their flock needs. It’s cheaper to remove their upper beaks.

Providing humane care costs more…  so you, on the other hand, as a human being,  make certain you’ve provided enough space in the coop and run. You make sure there’s room at the feeders for everyone; that food and water is fresh; that your birds are not too hot or cold. You ensure they can engage in instinctual behaviors like preening, roosting, dust bathing, laying their eggs in nests and so on. If needed, you expand their space to make sure everyone has plenty of room.  You probably even provide your flock with special treats, or even toys! You spend time watching them, and notice if someone gets injured or sick. 

sick hen

You provide appropriate care for your sick or injured pets.

This is simple humanity… but from a factory farm perspective it would be a ghastly loss of profit.

Let’s look at the 4 top reasons factory farms hate your chickens:

1. When you keep your own chickens, you’re buying fewer (or no) eggs from factory farms.

All those eggs you’re enjoying: you would have been buying them from factory farms were it not for your backyard flock. Increasing numbers of people keeping pet chickens represents a real loss of profit for factory farms.

beautiful eggs

Factory farms hate your hens for laying beautiful eggs, too. Even the plethora of shell colors are more appealing.

2. When you keep chickens, your friends and neighbors are also buying fewer eggs from factory farms.

Not only are factory farms losing the profit they would have made from eggs you bought, but all the eggs you sell or give away to friends and neighbors reduces the demand for factory farm eggs.

giving eggs

Sometimes it’s hard to hand them over.

3. Those people who are enjoying your eggs? They’re realizing how delicious real eggs are.

Eggs raised by hens raised on pasture (your yard) are more nutritious, too: eggs laid by hens raised on pasture have LESS fat and cholesterol, and MORE healthy vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, beta carotene and omega-3s.

scotch borders nest eggs

Scotch Borders Golden Nest Eggs: everything is more nutritious when made with backyard eggs

The difference is obvious to the naked eye, too. The yolks of eggs laid by hens with access to bugs and grasses to forage are deep golden orange.

orange yolk

The best foragers have the deepest orange yolks.

Compare that with factory farm eggs and their sickly pale yellow yolks.

compare yolks

The yolk on the left is from a commercial cage free egg

In order to make their eggs more visually appealing, Perdue eventually “developed a method of adding marigold petals and dye to the feed” to darken the yolks. The more natural color did not give the eggs a more natural taste–the dye “did not affect their taste, but seemed to please customers and sell birds.” Feeding marigold leaves and other substances to hens so their yolks will look more natural is now quite common. After all, feeding dye is cheaper than providing actual nutritious forage for your birds. And it’s been going on so long, now, that many people don’t even know what taste they’re missing… until they taste YOUR eggs. Is it any wonder that factory farms hate your chickens?

4. Anyone who becomes familiar with your bright, affectionate pet chickens will be less willing to support the mistreatment of hens in factory farms. 

Factory farms HATE your chickens for that—it’s a huge threat! It’s much harder for people to close their eyes to mistreatment, and see chickens merely as “egg factories” when they can also see their neighbor’s chickens jumping up onto a lap to be petted, eating out of a hand, begging for treats, caring diligently for their baby chicks. It’s much more difficult to accept cruelty to creatures you’ve enjoyed watching from your porch.

watching chickens

They’re so entertaining!

Because of this, more and more people are realizing—and opposing—how terribly hens are mistreated in factory farms. People are learning, to their surprise and dismay, that when you go to the expense of buying organic eggs, well… that doesn’t mean the hens who laid those eggs were treated humanely.

Even “cage-free” eggs, while somewhat more humane than eggs produced by confined hens, probably aren’t produced the way you think they are.  Neither are “free range.”Are you picturing hens roaming in a yard or run, foraging for bugs and grasses?

free range

Are you thinking of something like this?

Well, sorry to disappoint (really, REALLY sorry). But no. “Cage free” or “free range” simply means the hens are crowded into a warehouse rather than an individual cage. It’s likely those chickens will never see a single blade of grass in their short and terrible lives.

Factory farms: they hate you and your pet chickens. (So, good for you!)

 

20 Comments
Terry August 15th, 2014

Very good article and so true. Thanks for the information. I will share.

Mearl Coleman Smith August 15th, 2014

Too bad for them. I love my girls and they love me .

Ailsa August 15th, 2014

What a great post! And very true!!!

VICKI KELL August 15th, 2014

I would have thought the best forager egg was bad. I never have seen a yolk so orange. So is this egg mean the hen is the healthiest as well as their eggs?

Lissa August 15th, 2014

Vicki, maybe you’re not understanding the word “forager“? I’m not sure why you would think the eggs of good foragers would be bad. The foraging provides the hens with a high concentration of supplemental vitamins and nutrients in their diets, which they then transmit through their eggs. This is why eggs from pasture raised hens are so much more nutritious.

Jayne August 16th, 2014

Does anyone know what type of hen the black and white one is??

Lissa August 16th, 2014

Jayne, she’s a Silver Spangled Hamburg.

Ravi August 16th, 2014

Why not go vegan and avoid this issue altogether?

Nana August 17th, 2014

We began our flock this past Spring with 3 hens, then 6 hens which yielded 4-6 eggs daily. Our new girls arrived April and should begin laying before fall. We quickly became “egg-snobs”. We feed layer and starter-grow and anything in the leftover category, peelings from veggies, fresh garden produce and we are so well rewarded. I feel badly for those others, but all animals used to feed man are treated in the worst way.

David Creveling August 17th, 2014

Hi Lissa! Thank you so much for sharing this information. I would love to be able to spread your words among my friends. How do I share this to Facebook? I only saw a like option but would love to share this.

Lissa August 17th, 2014

Thanks, David! You can either copy the url and paste the link to share from your FB page, or you can visit My Pet Chicken’s FB page and share our Friday post (this blog) from there. 🙂

Eric August 28th, 2014

Vicky the color of an yolk egg is not determined by freshness spoiled eggs will often have yolks the same color as their fresh counter parts. There are three ways to tell how fresh your egg is.
1) Yolk spread test.
Crack and egg open into a pan or shallow dish a Fresh egg’s yolk will stay perky and sit high compared to the yolk of an old egg. This is because the proteins are intact and the water level in the white is high as it should be.
2) The Air space test.
Apply an Led ultra bright pen light to pale color shelled eggs you can observe the yolk floating in the middle-ish (store bought eggs will some times have their yolks floating of center the reason for this is cause Certain protein strands that hold the eggs’ yolk in place have broken by rough handling) in the Broad end of the egg you will see a line, or if the egg is that morning fresh no line at all, that is the “Air space” which is an indicator of how much water the egg has lost, Small Air space means fresher egg because eggs lose water at a predictable rate.
3) The string test.
Crack the egg open and look at the area around the yolk in a fresh egg the Stabilization protein strands will clump tight next to the yolk in and old egg they will spread out more in the whites.
I repeat Color has Nothing to do with Freshness.

Lisa September 7th, 2014

Lissa, how can you talk about the “simple humanity” of caring for your backyard chickens, and then in an advertisement for the one-day old chicks you are willing to ship through the mail, you say something like this?

“When you get them home, be prepared: one or two may have died in shipping or may be on their way out. Some chicks are born less hardy than others and can’t withstand the stress and cold temperatures involved in transporting them around the country. Most hatcheries, in fact, prepare for that by including an extra bird or two for free. Care for the weak birds as best you can, and bury the dead…”

I’m sure you’re aware there is a change.org petition against this practice, so hopefully this will be a thing of the past. I was impressed with your website until I found out about this not-so-humane profit-seeking venture.

Lissa September 8th, 2014

Yes, we’re aware. I have to admit I’m personally a little baffled by it. For most people, there is no other source for bio-secure pet chickens (chickens tested to be free of serious communicable diseases) than mail-order hatcheries like ours, or else from local feed stores (who receive chicks shipped from hatcheries). And our hatchery is the only one that specifically caters to those wanting backyard pet chickens; the other hatcheries out there–the BIG guys–supply chicks to factory farms. (We also use the fastest shipping available, heat packs and so on, unlike those other hatcheries.) If, as a society, we don’t get eggs from pet chickens, we are getting them from the chickens tortured in factory farms. Shipping chicks is not perfect, and there are occasional losses. But it is genuinely surprising that our hatchery, among all the others who don’t take the care we do, or go to the lengths we do, would be singled out. We don’t even sell “meat” breeds–not for backyarders, not for anyone. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the petition names us, rather than the hatcheries who supply battery farms? Possibly. But I personally suspect it was due to this blog post, which JUST preceded the hubbub. We do get hate mail from factory farms–that makes us happy. So if factory farms hate your chickens (like the title of the blog post says), just imagine what they think of us! If we ever went out of business, the only hatcheries left would be those supplying the factory farms, and it would be way more difficult (impossible for some) to avoid eating eggs from battery hens. Plus, just meeting your neighbors’ chickens can change your mind about them. They’re cool, friendly, smart creatures–but most people don’t know that, and think of them as stinky, dirty birds that live in their own filth. (Battery hens do, because that’s how they are kept.) Having backyard hens proliferate is the best way to combat that misconception.

Okami the ovo vegetarian November 4th, 2014

BAN THE BATTERY CAGE

Okami the ovo vegetarian November 4th, 2014

I’ve got a chook that lay blue eggs, she’s an araucarna.

Okami the ovo vegetarian November 5th, 2014

I am an ovo vegetarian, I could never think of eating another being again

Okami the ovo vegetarian November 29th, 2014

go vegetarian!!!

Cristina December 4th, 2014

I received my day old chicks from mypetchicken.com in mid-July. All 6 arrived less than a day after being shipped out. The post office called me at around 6:30 in the morning to let me know they had arrived. I was so nervous to open the box and find a casualty, but there they all were, warm and well protected in the shipping box. It had read about pasty butt and noticed one of the chicks had it so, I followed the instructions that customer service gave me and it cleared up within a few days of tending to it. I now have 6 happy and healthy pullets (zero mistakes on the sexing). I could not be happier. There is no other way that I would have been able to get the variety that I was looking for in pullets without mypetchicken. I would imagine that a weak chick could possibly not survive with or without the shipping considering the great care that was taken in their packaging.

[…] in addition to reducing the reliance on eggs produced inhumanely in factory farms, backyard chicken keepers are actively showing people that chickens are not just egg […]

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