Chickens are descended from dinosaurs (paleontologists can’t tell the difference in a silhouette apart from size) and yet are the most abused creature on earth. They are fascinating creatures who have real personality and love to dust-bathe and forage for food and sing to their chicks in the womb! Yet we have factory-farmed chicken, cock-fighting, abandoned pet roosters and chickens, and of course battery eggs.
Here are a few ways to help our beligned friends who are so overbred, there are now around 25 billion chickens on earth.
Obviously one solution is not to eat it. Try some plant-based recipe books using real foods. If you do eat chicken, choose free-range certified organic, for best welfare standards. Most chicken on sale has ‘hock burns’ caused by ammonia that is cut away, as consumers are now up on their welfare checks. Visit Compassion in World Farming for info.
Same with eggs. You can find alternatives to cooking and baking with eggs. Try making tofu scramble! Or if you eat them, choose free-range certified organic (labels are confusing, this is the only one to trust).
people adopting ex-battery hens (and roosters)
If you have the right amount of land and suitable premises, you could adopt ex-battery hens (and roosters) via British Hen Welfare Trust and other charities that work with farmers.
Note this is not an easy job, as you have to ensure enough space and knowledge to prevent pecking, and keep areas safe from predators. Specialist food is often needed, as most hens are not in a good way, when released from the battery farming industry.
Let’s All Keep Chickens is the ultimate book for anyone who is rescuing chickens, or is a free-range farmers. Written by arguably the world’s amateur expert on chicken-care from America, this covers the basics from low-cost natural practices and the belief that we have a natural ability to care for chickens. Addressing a broad audience, Dalia covers how to raise chicks and look for a suitable chicken coop, how to naturally keep chickens healthy and how to plan a flock for happy hens and roosters, with no pecking. Drawing on her own experience as the child of Guatemalan immigrants, she looks at previous generations have lots to teach others about keeping chickens. You can also take her online course at Chickenlandia! Also read how to speak chicken and a book to identify what’s killing your chickens, with tips for safety of the flock.