Factory farms are problematic for many reasons. First and foremost, laying hens raised on factory farms spend their entire lives in a battery cage that is no bigger than a sheet of copy paper. They cannot flap their wings or really even move at all. Often times their feet get stuck to the wire floor and their bones and muscles turn to mush. Battery cage hens have an average laying life of two years, after which they are literally torn from their cages, breaking bones along the way. Many of them die from “cage fatigue,” which happens when their spine and spinal cord deteriorate to the point of paralysis, rendering them unable to eat or drink anything. To put it in human terms, imagine spending your entire life in a cage the size of a standard bathtub—with four other people. Would you be able to move around, stretch your legs, or get any sunlight? It’s doubtful.
Consumers have been condemning this practice for decades, but there is still little being done about it in the egg industry. Though outlawed in the European Union, roughly 95% of eggs in the United States come from caged hens. In addition to destroying their bodies, battery cages also destroy a chicken’s mind. Studies have determined that chickens are more complex than dogs and cats when it comes to cognition, emotions, and behaviors. When crammed into battery cages, they are restricted from doing what comes most natural to them: perching, foraging, taking a dust bath, nesting, or just exploring their environment. Mothering also comes naturally to them and they are never allowed to take care of their chicks. This causes enormous amounts of mental and emotional stress.
On the contrary, organic egg producers focus on keeping their hens happy and healthy. Studies have shown that eggs coming from free-range or pastured chickens are more nutritious than those coming from factories. A stressed and sick chicken cannot possibly produce a healthy egg. At Chino Valley Ranchers, our chickens get plenty of exercise, sunshine, and a healthy, chicken-friendly diet. Just like a well-balanced diet is good for humans, so it is also good for chickens. According to results from a Mother Earth News project, eggs from pastured hens contain:
It doesn’t take a genius to see that buying from an organic egg producer is beneficial for all involved parties: the consumer gets healthy, organic eggs; the farmer makes his living; and the chickens are treated humanely. Support the sustainable food movement and buy from Chino Valley Ranchers! Your dollars speak.