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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Unexpected

When I first thought about getting chickens I thought about how it would change my routine, my budget, my egg consumption...

I expected I would make trips to the coop on a (mostly) daily basis.
I expected I would spend more money on them than I do on eggs. At least to get started. The ROI is probably in my favor at this point.
I expected to eat eggs everyday.

What I didn't expect was how tales of factory chickens would bother me.

There are some children that don't know where their food comes from before it gets to the grocery store. If I had to guess, I'd say they probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about it either. Why would they? As far as they know there is food available there now, there always has been, and there always will be.

Even though I know there is a lot less magic and a lot more work involved to food, I never really thought about the living conditions of the animals that turn into dinner.

Ideally (I think) you would want to treat your livestock the best you can to get the best out of them. I once read an article about pigs going to a sort of "day spa" the day before slaughter. The meat from a stressed out pig isn't as desirable as the meat from a content one.

Recently I have stumbled upon some discussions about chickens. I hear how their feathers are plucked so more chickens can fit into a smaller space. Also, without feathers, they don't get overheated being in such close proximity - how thoughtful. Their beaks are ground they won't injure a neighboring bird.
Another idea is to take a chicken and sever the frontal cortex to stand the bird upright making it brain dead, but more space saving. The bird will be tube fed and tube pottied to keep things clean. Oh and since it is in the efficient vertical position there is no need for it to have feet. Actually it would be more necessary for it not to have feet.

I'm not the type of person to picket outside of a factory, but I am the kind of person that gets easily attached to critters. Now that I've gotten to know my ladies and see their personalities, I am more sensitive to these types of things. I don't think I will stop eating chicken or eggs, but I will be more appreciative and let Kathy and Eleanore know that they should be too.

***Eleanore Update***
Eleanore's comb is almost completely upright again. No more Free Willy hairstyle for her!

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