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What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?

We can also look at this issue by widening our scope substantially to consider the very concept of participating in domestication.  Domestication is the ongoing process of manipulating another species so that they are more usable as resources for human consumption.  In factory farms, we can see this process continued even more invasively in the genetically engineered animals who grow so much and so quickly that their legs cannot support the weight of their own bodies.

We have bred farmed animals into a state of constant dependence such that their continued existence actually relies on our intervention.  This is particularly relevant to backyard chickens, as they are very vulnerable to predators, including cats, snakes, foxes, and birds of prey.  And if you live in an area where raising chickens is a possibility, it is quite likely that these creatures–whose right to life and survival is just as valid–will also be present.  And with the staggering number of homeless animals in the world, breeding more into existence under the thin guise of locavorism is a completely unwarranted and counterproductive measure.

If you really care about chickens and have the means to support and protect them—including the cost of veterinary care, which can be considerable–consider getting involved in rescue work.  Depending on where you live, traditionally farmed animals are sometimes brought into shelters most generally used for dogs and cats, and are just as much in need of being saved from the gas chamber or lethal injection.

There is no shortage of animals needing refuge and protection.  Consider offering the safety of your backyard as a sanctuary to a homeless animal instead of purchasing one as a resource.

written with Christine Wells,

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Read more: Animal Rights, Conscious Consumer, Food, Pets

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.


+ add your own
6:58AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

There is nothing wrong with ANTS, I suppose?

7:25PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

After several years raising chickens, I agree they aren't the brightest bulbs in the lamp, but I enjoyed working with them. We had a large fenced-in yard, about an acre, near their chicken house. We raised the cockerels for meat and kept the pullets to replace elderly hens. Our roosters had distinctive calls, so we could recognize them.

9:41PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

Lots of things to think about. I am a vegetarian and get my eggs from a friend's friend who has them in her backyard as egg laying pets. Now I want to go see them.

4:14AM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

(cont)................ Are they "affectionate"? Absolutely not. They do "squat" and allow me to pet them but it's about a "gesture" of submission more than anything. Seems they've figured it out that if I reach down to pet them and they "comply", then they are allowed to then get those tasty mealworms I may have brought with me.

4:13AM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

Exactly, Rosemary! I have 6 hens, and they were only a few days "hatched" when I got them. I got mine at the feedstore where I buy my horses' feed and was told that they were from local "breeders" if you want to call them that. When I first moved here, I boarded my horses at a nearby farm where they also kept a couple of cows, turkeys, goats and yes, chickens. They did have one rooster and when chicks were hatched, she kept a few and took the others to the feed store. I never paid that much attention at the time.

Mine are all female (hens) and I was told when I got them that they were likely to be all hens, but at that age, no guarantee. I guess I "lucked out". I got them in the 3rd week of March and they've been laying for almost 2 months now. I usually get 5 - 6 eggs a day, sometimes just 4, but today I got 7. Mine have a "house/coop" where they roost at nite and have their "nesting boxes", but they go in them only to lay. They do not sit (brood) at all. They have free access to an "outside" yard that is about 40' x 60' and weather permitting, they get out of that and can completely free roam on almost 5 acres. When I go to the door of their yard, they immediately come running back and go in by themselves.

They most certainly are not the "brightest bulbs in the pack", and seem to act more out of instinct than anything.........highly reactive. They are NOT debeaked and when they come flocking to me, they can "peck" pretty hard. Are they "affectionate

3:44AM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

I'm sure that the thoughtful person wanting backyard chickens can find a local small breeder who will provide him/her with chickens that have not been debeaked, and who deals with all those suplus young cockerels in a way that causes minimum suffering. ( I admit I don't like this aspect of it!)

Once you have these unmutilated hens, you can enjoy watcing them live in the present as they scratch around like their ancestors, the Red Junglefowl. I like Dutch bantams in the colour variety called Gold Partridge, because they look so like the original wild birds. I believe they lay few eggs - some people keep chickens for pets just because they like them! Why shouldn't we have different breeds? Only when deformities and health problems become a part of the breed characteristics, as in some breeds of dog.

If your chickens lay plenty of unfertilised eggs, you will note that they mostly can't be bothered to brood them, so you are not disturbing their maternal instincts by taking them.

2:50AM PDT on Sep 24, 2013

never thought of it that way

1:47PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

I really do think country people live in the real world and the city folk just do not realise animals
are animals and not human with human mentality.

7:24AM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

There are always consequences to any decision

11:38PM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

(whoops, cut off)............I don't think I'm "contentious" at all, just observant. I'm as emotional and as much of an animal lover, probably MORE so than most, but I honestly don't find chickens to be that high up on the list of "smart" critters. Not being negative, just realistic.

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