How to End Suffering for Millions of Hens

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 5th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Activism

Many people wish to end suffering of animals but do not know where to start. One thing you can do to end the suffering of millions of hens is by selecting eggs that were not created using cruel battery farms.

Battery Egg Farms

In a typical egg laying farm hens are kept 2 to 4 in a small cage, one not even big enough for a pet Budgie. These chickens are housed this way for months, laying an average of 6 eggs a week. The only thanks they get is that these hens are slaughtered at a young age rather than being kept through their moult, a short period where they do not lay.

While in the cages the hens have nothing to do other than peck each other, their beaks are often cut to limit the amount of damage they can do to each other in this totally boring situation.

Please note I have used pictures of brown hens to show the difference in how the birds look in different laying situations. Brown hens lay brown eggs, the color of the shell has nothing to do with diet, or how the birds are housed.

Free Range can be Misleading

A lot of people think they are buying cruelty free eggs when they buy eggs that are marked cage-free, or free range. Depending what country you live in these may not be as cruelty free as you think.

Free range and cage free are certainly less cruel than the battery cages, but in the United States cage free just means they do not have wires under their feet and are not in tiny cages, while free range can mean they are let outside for only a small part of the day. Because most of these farms are huge the hens are only out on a dirt patch, or cement area, not out roaming around on grass like some people might imagine.

Real Free Range Birds

Most people assume that free range hens live like in the above photo, but the truth is most do not. When you buy eggs from the grocery they come from "factory farms" places that have huge numbers of birds and as such they do not raise them in such bird-friendly ways.

You will also want to be aware that the factory raised birds are fed a commercial diet so poor in nutrition that yellow dye is added just to make the yolks yellow. My hens are fed laying ration, chicken scratch and can eat grass, weeds, insects, and treats, as a result their yolks are a dark yellow and their eggs taste better. Studies have shown that true free range hens lay eggs that are healthier to eat too.

What Eggs Should you Buy?

If you can buy directly from a farmer, or farmers market you should. If you want to buy from the store look for eggs marked organic which means they were fed a better diet.

At the very least try to buy free range eggs even though they may not be what you really think of when you think free range, it is at least better than supporting the battery cage situations.

Also consider when you go to restaurants, where did their eggs come from? Ask them to consider switching to free range eggs at the very least.

Better yet, see if you can keep a few of your own hens for laying, they make great pets!

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Tags

Battery, Cage, Chickens, Coop, Cruel, Cruelty, Egg, Eggs, Factory, Farm, Free, Hen, Hens, Laying, Range, Shopping, Suffering, Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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Comments

author avatar johnnydod
5th Nov 2011 (#)

This subject is so very close to my heart, well done Mark for bringing us all the very very important subject.
I beg all all you to pass this on to all your friends.

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author avatar Randy Duckworth
5th Nov 2011 (#)

Thank you for this information. It has been eye-opening for me, and I will definitely keep this in mind when I go to the grocery!

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
5th Nov 2011 (#)

After keeping hens this issue has become important to me too and a real eye opener when I realized what nice personalities the hens can have when treated well.

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author avatar Vernazoa
16th Nov 2011 (#)

Mark your thoughts here are so touching. You must be a gentle soul. This is an interesting read, thank you.

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author avatar Pink&Blue
5th Nov 2011 (#)

Waw! You really love those hens...Hats off to them.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
5th Nov 2011 (#)

In the first picture you cannot see it but the birds are in horrible shape from pecking at each other, they have many missing feathers. Even some of the birds in the second picture show feathers missing from their necks, and the crowded conditions must not be healthy for them.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
5th Nov 2011 (#)

It is disgusting to see the conditions hens are kept in on factory farms. Thanks for putting this out there Mark.

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author avatar Sam Bralley
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Well deserved star, congrats and thanks for this most interesting read...

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author avatar Bets
6th Nov 2011 (#)

I've heard of this happening. I think it's sick and I don't want to contribute to this abuse. I wanted to get on this page because I wanted to know more about what to do about it. Otherwise it is easy to close an eye to it. Thank you for posting your thoughts on this adverse situation with our 'mother hens.' I love chickens and I love the solution you have pointed out Mark. Quote: " If you want to buy from the store look for eggs marked organic which means they were fed a better diet.
Smiles, bets

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author avatar Bets
6th Nov 2011 (#)

I found a flimsy rooster strutting around a field near my mom's place. I knew it was out of place and needed to be caught. As I approached the rooster I noticed he had bunjees on both legs, tied. I knew it would be a process catchng that rooster but I did by slowly going up to him and stepping on those strings around his ankles. I picked him up into my arms and didn't expect him to lower his little had down into the inside crease of my elbow. He thought he was off to another fight as I figured he had been tained to do. My mom enjoyed him laying around her front door all night until the next day when my sister went over to pick him up. Some of her neighbors wanted him in their barnyard with the hens they had. I asked mom to tell my sister's neighbors to please not kill him for food. The poor rooster couldn't even crow and that was last October. Today, I understand he is a very happy chicken, has grown a plumage of beautiful tail feathers, and is crowing all the time. He got his 'voice' back. I often what happened with his voice when I first saw him and caught him for mom. I am glad reporting this at your page Mark. Have a great evening and thnx for doing your part in sharing the truth about chicken farms. I wished such practice as cage laying could be banned!! I wished fights could be banned also. Smiles, Bets

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author avatar Bets
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Please excuse my typos. Was hurrying getting this message / comment posted for you.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Bets you should get a picture of that rooster and write a story about it!

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author avatar Retired
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Thanks for voicing this--and bravo for a great star page. I had seen a documentary about this subject--horrible! Love the tone of compassion in your write...pet hens! :-))

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author avatar Bridgitte Williams
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Excellent article and we all learn a lot from your work! :-)
My problem is that organic products are often so high in cost. This is a deciding factor in purchasing. Bravo for bringing this subject to our attention!

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author avatar Buzz
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Very interesting article on hens, Mark. Added to FB to pass it on to others.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
6th Nov 2011 (#)

such vital information, thanks Mark and well done

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
6th Nov 2011 (#)

Hi Mark,
What happens to hens is absolutely fowl!
(Any chance of getting my 100 Page badge up?... Sorry, there was no other way to ask.)
Thanks,
David

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Nov 2011 (#)

David those badges should come up on their own.

To Bridgette, sadly cost is higher for organic eggs, the cost to raise, and feed them is higher.
When I have extra eggs I happily sell to neighbors for $1 a dozen, because I want everyone to eat eggs from happy hens.
Farmers markets sometimes have fair prices, at least buy free range if you cannot afford organic.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Nov 2011 (#)

This doesn't just deserve the star page, it deserves the Nobel Peace prize! Seriously, we need to care for our farm animals. If we're going to eat thier eggs - and ultimately the animal or bird itself, we need to at least ensure a HAPPY life in an appropriate habitat.
The photo of the 'so-called' free range hens appalled me. Oh, my - I'll dream about this tonight.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
6th Nov 2011 (#)

P.S. Sorry mark, but nary a comment for the rest of the month while I'm doing the Novel Writing Month. It's coming along nicely. Wish me lots of luck?

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author avatar Judy Ellen
7th Nov 2011 (#)

Great Article! Someday I want to raise my own chickens! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar jvaughan
8th Nov 2011 (#)

I buy the eggs we need whebever I can from a farm I pass each day on my way home from work. Unfortunately I work late and more times than not all the eggs have already been sold. It seems to be kind of a supply and demand problem. We either need to eat less eggs or allow more private farms to continue.

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author avatar Carol
9th Nov 2011 (#)

Thanks for this Mark. I am filled with horror at how these poor hens have to live, and I always buy organice egss, don't care how much more they cost. If we all did that, they would have to stop doing it because no-one would buy those eggs, but I guess it might be too expensive for some people.

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author avatar Carol
9th Nov 2011 (#)

typo errors sorry.

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author avatar LOVERME
12th Nov 2011 (#)

The biggest gift
GOD if there is one ..
gave to man including woman is the GIFT OF APPRECIATION ..
You are GIFTED

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author avatar Tranquilpen
13th Nov 2011 (#)

First off Mark, thank you for the advice on my Baby Boomer article, I appreciate it so much. Your article is absolutely an in depth view of the tainted commercial chicken farms. I watched a very graffic video of Taiwanese harvesting dead chicken carcasses that are maggot infested, for processing and destined for export. I am seriously thinking of becoming a vegetarian, much as I enjoy an occasional steak or chicken. Some years ago I was doing a safety check on three of Woolworth's free range chicken farms near to where I live. The only free ranging those poor creature were doing, were if some manage to escape from those huge sheds where they are cooped up, tight as sardines in a can.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
13th Nov 2011 (#)

Ps. They were all destined for onwards processing in Canada!! If you would like to read the expose' just send me an email at zeeq09@gmail.com

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author avatar Songbird B
19th Nov 2011 (#)

This Star page is so important to make people more aware of how their eggs are produced. Thank you for raising this Mark..

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
21st Nov 2011 (#)

Mark, your compassion for the suffering animals is quite evident in this article.

I wonder if any animal rights activists have ever raised this issue?

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author avatar Denise O
23rd Nov 2011 (#)

mark I have to admit my ignorance on this. Here I thought I was doing the right thing by buying the more expensive free range eggs and such and yet I have been part of the problem. One thing I must change. This is a well written article on the woes of one too many chickens. I have taken note and I will do better to not be part of them problem. as always, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Nov 2011 (#)

Buying free range is better than buying battery, but free range may not be what everyone thinks it is... sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. Better to get free range than not, but if you can find a farmer with REAL free range hens thats even better (farmers market)

To Rath, Animal activists have raised this issue, many wont eat any kind of eggs.

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