The Egg Dilemma – When Friends Raise Hens

The Egg Dilemma – When Friends Raise Hens

I have some friends who raise hens in their backyards. They ask me what I think about this method for getting eggs as compared to buying from a supermarket. I say it’s better but it’s not something I’d do myself. I don’t have chickens because 1) I don’t need them, 2) buying chicks by mailorder involves a lot of cruelty and death and 3) many people do not know how to treat animals they have purchased.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and it occurred to me that one could get hens a better way: from rescues. Many hens are rescued every year by Farm Sanctuary, Animal Place, and many other organizations. There are even some places that specialize in rescuing and then finding new homes. I am now ready to recommend this route to those who feel they must have their eggs. Generally, these organizations have gone to a lot of trouble to save these animals and will also go to some trouble to assure that they are going to the right homes.

The Battery Hen: this one’s in the UK

Chicken Run Rescue: Minnesota! Their motto: don’t breed or buy; adopt!

Rescue Chickens: a lot of info here but probably worth plowing through

Battery Hens: from ckc birds, another UK operation, mostly sells homes for rescued birds

Of course this is hardly a complete list. A good way to begin is to check local rescue operations.

For a related and not altogether the same view from Vegan Soapbox check this out.

As a vegan I can’t make a case for eating eggs, even from rescued hens. But I can see having a hen as a pet, eggs or no, given the right environment. And I can recommend to those who are not vegan that they take this one extra step to reduce cruelty in the world.

4 Responses to The Egg Dilemma – When Friends Raise Hens

  1. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Yes! Local rescues and “shelters” have many birds… Some communities do adopt out roosters confiscated from fighting rings – Sadly most just execute them instead.

    And too – Many schools still do the egg hatching classes… And turn over the birds once their “purpose” is fulfilled. Such was the case with Eunice and Chicklet.

    I wished I would have photographed the cell they were in. Two small hens nestled together in the corner of a large barren dog cage with a concrete floor. Yes, they had water – But since birds aren’t a common animal to be found in a place like this… They had pieces of stale bread in place of feed or corn. Sad.

    With or preferably without “eggs” – These chickens deserve a chance at a good home and a full life. Please – I urge everyone to forgo buying hens or chicks… They come from the most horrible places! And no one wants to support those kinds of practices.

  3. I’m curious if others have considered the emotional toll that it might play on hens to have their offspring snatched away every time the have a nest full? There is so much invested emotionally and physically in those eggs, I can’t imagine that it has no effect on the mothers.
    I don’t know enough about chickens to know whether hens can tell whether their eggs are fertilized or not…and if they do know, do they still lay on the eggs or abandon them?
    Just wondering if anyone else has thought about this…

  4. I, too, have some friends who have backyard hens they keep for eggs. While it’s a far better situation than that of battery cages it’s worth remembering that taking up this new hen-keeping hobby has a learning curve.

    My friends who are doing it already accidentally killed a few of their hens when they didn’t do a good enough job of keeping their dogs and their hens separated. Another hen died from a preventable illness that they simply didn’t recognize the symptoms for. And just think about what happened to the male chicks at the hatchery. Most likely they were killed immediately.


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