Thursday, February 11, 2016

For (Live) Chicken Lovers Only

Just a note:  Though the title of this article describes these as "free-range" hens, in this country at least, the proper designation for hens with this much freedom would be "pasture-raised."  "Free-range" does not necessarily mean the birds can go outside like this - or at all.  Many so-called "free-range" chickens never see the outdoors.



Watch Happy Chickens Start Their Day on a Free-Range Egg Farm

The Dodo  By Stephen Messenger  Feb. 09, 2016

By now, most people are probably all-too familiar with the cramped and miserable conditions egg-laying chickens are subjected to on factory farms in the United States and throughout the world. But thankfully, there are still some farmers who care about their birds' well-being.

And boy, it's a beautiful thing.


note: This is a fairly long video (5:31 min.)  If you want to see the cool stuff, skip the first two minutes, and definitely check out the girl's tea-party at the water tank. (At about 4 Min. in)
 

A video from a farm in New Zealand, Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs, has been making the rounds on social media in recent days, and it's easy to see why. The family-run farm eschews the practice of confining chickens to battery cages — and instead lets the birds roam on its lush 10 acres. 


That, says farmer Peter Sandle, is what makes all the difference:


"We chose one of the world's most beautiful and fertile farms as home for our flock. We feed them on high quality grains and proteins and finally (now here's the trick) we leave them in peace to do what nature intended them to do."

The clip above, showing the large flock heading out to run free in the morning sun, has been viewed more than 1 million times online, sparking an uncanny interest in what life on a free-range egg farm looks like.



"We're overwhelmed by the positive response we've received from our Youtube video — we had no idea it would go viral around the world and be viewed as much as it has," the farm wrote on Facebook. "We are a passionate family owned New Zealand business trying to produce the best free-range eggs with our happy hens."


It should be noted that The Dodo has not independently verified the conditions or practices of Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs, but the farm has reportedly been certified as in compliance with New Zealand's Animal Code of Welfare for free-range layer hens.


While "free-range" farms are meant to improve animal welfare, not all conditions are ideal. To learn about choosing more humane eggs, check out the Humane Society of the United States's guide to understanding egg certifications and labeling.

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