EGGS FOR VEGANS

Really “cruelty-free” eggs! You know they are because they came from your flock.

This link to the United Poultry Concern is fantastic. I couldn’t say it better myself, so why try!

If you are tired of industrial food and hit-or-miss, mostly miss, animal welfare laws, do something about it. Raise your own flock of chickens, adopt a rooster, rescue ex-battery hens and be a spokesperson for the most abused animal – the chicken.

How can you have eggs and be a vegan? You can. Raise your own birds. Hens will lay eggs automatically when they reach maturity (it isn’t like breeding dairy animals to get them to let down milk). Ovulation proceeds without any assistance, added hormones or you name it. Your hens will lay. If you don’t eat eggs for other reasons, co-workers, friends and neighbors will gladly take them off your hands. Sharing eggs is great way to get people INTO chickens. And then, the chickies’ winning personalities do the rest. No one can look into a chicken’s intelligent and expressive eyes and forget the experience.

The key to ensuring animal welfare is by raising those animals on your own property. Here is how:

1. Think carefully about what you expect from your new feathered family members. You will be committing to 8-10 years of catering to another animal’s needs.

2. Be realistic about your property, zoning (we are working to change this) and what living with chickens will be like. Check out chicken keeping blogs (fowlblog.com, Backyard Chickens Forum).

3. Visit shows and talk to other chicken people and peruse a few magazines such as “Backyard Poultry” or “Hobby Farms.”

4. Be sure to find vets in your area as well. Be aware that many vets will NOT treat avian species and some pet bird vets will not treat chickens. Ask.

5. Change zoning laws, don’t flaunt them. Your chickens will suffer. Avoid the nightmare, follow the codes or your birds will be the ones to pay the price. It is not always that easy to re-home birds and your town/city won’t care.

6. Speak out about owning and raising chickens. Get people together to change the zoning in your community. If you can have a garden, you can have chickens. They are cleaner and less noisy than dogs.

7. Speak out against no-rooster laws. Change bigotry against these beautiful male birds. Always be informative when teaching about roosters and use a diplomatic and friendly instructional tone. It is easy to get angry when a living thing is abused and subjugated, but remember, you are doing this for the roosters – and anger will get us nowhere.

8. Dismiss community fear (no one has ever been mauled to death by a rooster), roosters are no louder than a barking dog, and take a beautiful roster with you to campaign. No one can resist a silkie, but bring other breeds as well. Show them how gentle, loving and kind a rooster really is. Have children handle the birds and bring lots of pictures and evidence of loving roosters. Dispel the myths and speak out for these male birds!

More resources:

This vet treats chickens and can do phone consultations: www.laurieloftondvm.com/
Great site for consultations and keeping products: www.firststatevetsupply.com
Link to useful “fightin’” ideas from Urban Chickens

Check out these cute rooster videos:

Go back to Raising Roosters – crowing tips. Your boys don’t have to crow at 5 am. and the crow can be lessened with these no crow collars

Eggs

As someone who values animal welfare, you will learn that chickens are not egg machines. Egg-laying is a function of the hen’s reproduction process. A laying bird is giving birth. If eggs are going to be important for you, choose breeds that are made for that. A hen will not lay for her entire life. She will slowly produce less as she ages. She will then be a wise and wonderful chicken-pet. Expect your birds to live for close to a decade, or more (this changes by breed). Although numbers of eggs will always drop, many hens will lay throughout their life, especially some of the laying hybrids (red stars, black stars, comets).

Links:
Fascinating Facts About Eggs
Poultry Reproduction

Animal Welfare 101

The best way for you to promote avian welfare is to rescue unwanted birds and to be the home for ex-battery hens. Remain a positive voice. Show people how amazing and wonderful non-human animals are. Use current research in bioethics to support your argument. Just think: if everyone did thee simple steps, we would be further down the road…

Your chickens can be the symbol of modern ethics. They are the “what we assumed – was wrong” archaic view of animal behavior (we now use the correct term – animal culture). And this takes us back to Jeremy Bentham: “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?’

Still, even if that is the ethical cornerstone, modern neuroscience is exposing the rich and cognitively deep abilities of other animals. Take your birds to schools and reinforce what children already “know” – animals are amazing! Watch their faces light up as you explain that the majority of a chicken’s brain is dedicated to higher thought. Tell the children about universal language and teach them to speak chicken.

Space age ideas that may change everything!
What if leather car seats, shoes and…your dinner never involved another living thing? It’s already happening. Leather and meat are being produced in a laboratory rather than an abattoir. You can have your cake and eat it too, or something like that. This is real leather and real meat products without the animals. You can hear the cows smiling. Civilization can finally claim the honor of that term.

Andras Forgacs, bio-fabrication scientist, is already showcasing the way of the future – a future without cruelty for beauty, fashion or food.

This is his work –
“Animals are not just raw materials. They’re living beings, and already our livestock is one of the largest users of land, fresh water, and one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases which drive climate change. On top of this, when you get so many animals so close together, it creates a breeding ground for disease and opportunities for harm and abuse. Clearly, we cannot continue on this path which puts the environment, public health, and food security at risk. 2:06 There is another way, because essentially, animal products are just collections of tissues, and right now we breed and raise highly complex animals only to create products that are made of relatively simple tissues. What if, instead of starting with a complex and sentient animal, we started with what the tissues are made of, the basic unit of life, the cell?
This is biofabrication, where cells themselves can be used to grow biological products like tissues and organs. Already in medicine, biofabrication techniques have been used to grow sophisticated body parts, like ears, windpipes, skin, blood vessels and bone, that have been successfully implanted into patients. And beyond medicine, biofabrication can be a humane, sustainable and scalable new industry.”

Andras Forgacs, co-founder of Modern Meadow

More resources:
Con Slobodchikoff, PhD
“Animal Minds” in National Geographic
TED talk: Leather and Meat Without Killing Animals

Happy birds = happy eggs. Use your cast off feathers and hollow out some eggs for a neat “poultry floral” arrangement. The more you know about chickens – it just keeps getting better!