Why We Care about the Chickens’ Welfare…And Why You Should Too!

27 Jul 2018

Is there something that you’re crazy passionate about, something that you truly care about? We do too! We put what we passionately care about right at the centre of what we do. At Happy Chicken Eggs, we care about our chooks, plain and simple. By cultivating a business built on happy free-range hens, delicious and nutritious eggs, and sustainable agriculture, we live that value every day.

But don’t take our word for it. Instead, let’s talk about the typical approach to egg-farming and what it means to give a laying hen the truly happy life she deserves. Then we’ll talk about what a happy chicken looks like and what operators do differently on a happy chicken farm. Lastly, we’ll discuss how you can help create more happy chickens in the world.
In other words, just a whole lot about happy chickens, basically. Ready to dive in like our chooks into a sandpit?

Let’s do it.


Not All Free-Range Eggs Are Created Equal

First and foremost, happy chickens are free chickens. Obviously battery cages don’t afford humane environments to these thinking, feeling creatures, which is why we would never use them. It’s also why the RSPCA looks down on battery cage farming. They have this to say:

“Battery cages are small, barren wire cages; there are many thousands of cages stacked in sheds that may contain up to 100,000 birds. The space given to each bird is less than the size of a piece of A4 paper and cages are only 40 cm high. Hens do not have enough space to stretch or flap their wings, or exercise.”

Barn-laid eggs aren’t much better; they are made by chickens who, while free from cages, are still crowded so close together that they can’t move, exercise, or live a natural life.

Australia’s new standards define free-range as hens raised at maximum stocking density of 10,000 or fewer per hectare. That’s not much more than a foot per bird.

Hens must also have “meaningful and regular” access to the outdoors. But even in the legislation the definition of both meaningful and regular is pretty hazy, which means even “free-range” hens might not have much more room or joy in their lives.

And while the new standards seek to give hens better lives, they make no specifications about beak trimming, the cruel practice of lopping off baby chicken beaks without anesthetic. Brisbane Natural Health tells us that some even allow beak trimming in their definition of free-range chickens, which is terrible.

Our belief? That pain and early trauma do not make chooks happy.


What Does a Happy Chicken Look Like?

We know that not all free-range eggs are created equal, but what does that mean for our ladies here at Happy Chicken Eggs?

Space is a huge matter for us, first of all. While the law might cap birds at 10,000 per hectare, we think that’s way too much. We prefer the RSPCA’s standard of only 1,500 birds per hectare, or 2,500 for birds on a regular rotation.

As for “meaningful and regular,” we take that darn seriously. Our chickens not only have access to the outdoors, we encourage them to use it in every way possible. After all, free range doesn’t mean much if hens aren’t actually making use of their outdoor area. So how do we encourage our ladies to go out and have some fun? We make sure they feel safe.

That means an outdoor area with “plenty of overhead cover and vertical structures to provide shade and protection from aerial predators,” says the RSPCA. It also means “providing areas of palatable vegetation, trees, shrubs, fallen tree trunks, etc. and ensuring the area is not muddy or full of puddles.”

Lastly, it means giving chooks enough room to roam so that grass stays green, food stays plentiful, and they aren’t subject to the parasitic infestations that come with overcrowding.

Free-range chickens are happiest when their outdoor area calls to them, which is why we designed our hen habitat with these specifications in mind.


What Makes Happy Chickens Eggs Different?

Here at Happy Chicken Eggs, we’re more than just free range. Our goal is to provide all the amenities a chicken would need to be happy in nature, from sandpits in which to dust-bathe to toys that amuse and teach, from cozy nesting boxes to comfy perches, from climbing fences to open spaces where the ladies can forage or cluck contentedly with friends.

And because we care about the wellbeing of chickens, we care about their environment too. That’s why our farm sheds operate on solar energy. By using renewable energy, we are reducing our carbon footprint (the total amount of carbon dioxide produced).

The good news? This life also makes their eggs more nutritious.

At the end of the day, the best way to support happy chickens is to buy your eggs from companies who put their birds before all else. Here at Happy Chicken Eggs, our commitment is to our hens first of all, then to the health of our customers, and lastly to our bottom line. We refuse to participate in caged or barn-laid practices because that hurts the animals upon whom we rely every day.

In short, happy chickens are the heart of our business — and they always will be. We invite you to get in touch any time to learn more about our above-and-beyond approach to sustainable egg farming. Let’s eat our way to happier hens!

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