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Bhutan Wants Happy Chickens on Happy Farms

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Both moves are in line with the four pillars of Gross National Happiness: good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation. That does not mean the changes will be without opposition.

Many farmers in Bhutan have adopted adopted industrial practices. When the Bhutan Observer examined records of the National Soil Services Centre, it found that in 2007 farmers were applying 7.9 kg of chemical fertilizers per hectare. A year later that had climbed to 26 kg per hectare. In addition, mechanized farming and pesticides have increased yields and replaced farm workers, while urbanization has reduced available farmland. The same thing has happened in the poultry sector, where increased industrialization has led to large-scale operations where egg-laying poultry are confined.

Still, both moves make important statements about the nation’s commitment to living up to the tenets of Gross National Happiness. As Andre Leu, president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and Australian adviser to the Bhutanese government told National Public Radio:

All these problems are solvable, they just need a few more years of research to come up with some more effective solutions.

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77 comments

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3:25AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Nicole B - I agree 100% with most of what you have said, however, hens WILL lay eggs regardless of whether there is a rooster present. The only difference being that with a rooster the eggs will be fertilised and therefore able to hatch baby chicks. Unfertilised eggs (where no rooster is present) will never develop into chicks but are fine for eating.

5:18PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Rachel B. says "Roosters will still be killed at birth because they can't lay eggs.
Also, organic means no veterinary care. That means that when hens begin to develop uterus issues, no visits to the vet are allowed"

False, Roosters are rarely killed upon hatching on small farms and organic farms, that is FACTORY FARMS (makes me sick), please learn the difference (and even factory farms kept one or two roosters around in a cage), most are giving away to other farms, those not given away are kept as a CHICKEN CANNOT (or will not) LAY EGGS WITHOUT A ROOSTER PRESENT. Organic does NOT mean no vet care, it means that they are not pumped full of antibiotics and steroids everyday, just when they need it, such as when they are sick and many have vet check ups once a year. Organic farms often times only have as many animals as they can handle (some are just starting out and think they can handle a lot), meaning they can watch the animals for signs of illness or problems with egg laying/birthing. And when the tissue beings to form is a very important time for chickens and many organic farmers will check with a vet to makes sure that the feed is giving them everything they need.

5:04PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

My Grandmother, when she was a child, was raised on a farm. They only kept the chickens confined in the chicken shed during the winter (they lived in Minnesota) or at night to help keep predators at bay. They let them roam the yard during the day during the warmer months. She says that the eggs in the stores taste differently and cook up differently. She says that even the chickens themselves taste differently when they are raised in cages.

"Happy chickens make better, and more, eggs, and tastier meals" she always say. Every animal deserves to be happy when they are alive, and chickens are happy being free-range and being left alone when they perch.

Now only if the US would follow suit on the treatment of animals. GO BHUTAN!!!

3:30PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Kudos for Butan

5:42AM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

What a cool idea!

12:30PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Thanks.

3:17AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

good.

10:44PM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

I wanna run away to Bhutan

8:45AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Congratulations to a country who is so much more progressive in it's treatment of poultry than the United States and other supposed Civilized nations..One would hope that other countries will follow their amazing example. Good For you Bhutan!

8:04AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Happier hens means more "happy" eggs, healthier hens, eggs , and people who eat the eggs.

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