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In the news! are caged commercial hens misrable? read the link

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by maf2008, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. maf2008

    maf2008 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  2. vyshtia

    vyshtia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hens lay eggs for up to two years, then typically are used as meat for humans or animal feed.

    Gail Damerow's books say that a chicken's productive life is 12-15 years and many people on BYC seem to still have good layers at around 6 years of age... It's sad that many people truly believe the above statement.​
     
  3. elrod

    elrod Out Of The Brooder

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    as with most factory farms, we may not like to see it, but it is a nessasary evil. just thinks how many eggs it took to make all the flu vaccines, fact is eggs are used by the millions and millions each day. i don't think my flock will hurt the industry very much. [​IMG]
     
  4. jafo

    jafo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Gail Damerow's books say that a chicken's productive life is 12-15 years and many people on BYC seem to still have good layers at around 6 years of age... It's sad that many people truly believe the above statement.

    Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens / Gail Damerow, index= Laying hens - culling of, and again laying hens - spent. Pretty much says that peak production for a layer, give or take a breed or two is at or around 30 months, then production drops of steadily. 24-30 months is a good time to rotate she says, if you are looking for max egg production, with very little meat loss. They will lay for years, just depends on how many eggs you want, and how attatched you get to them. [​IMG] I know my nieghbor had a hen left over from his dad's flock, that lived for nearly 20 years or better. I asked him does she ever lay an egg? and he said "oh,when she thinks about it once in a while, once in a GREAT while" maybe every year or so in the end, she still laid an egg, her companion was a pidgeon that flew in the barn one day and never left. Storey's Guide is a great book,,,,,,,,,,been my chicken bible! [​IMG]
     
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    I'll be honest, I've never seen a good layer beyond 3 years of age.

    I imagine there are exceptions.
     
  6. Ladyhawke1

    Ladyhawke1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Knowing what I know, and having invesigated for the last fifteen years....I do not and will not take a flu shot. Also follow the money. [​IMG]
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    Quote:Knowing what I know, and having invesigated for the last fifteen years....I do not and will not take a flu shot. Also follow the money. [​IMG]

    Tell us what you know. I don't do flu shot either!
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Many people on this forum keep chickens as pets. Eggs are a byproduct, not the main reason for keeping them. I'm sure many of their chickens will live out their life whether they produce another egg. As far as I am concerned that is fine. That is their choice.

    Many of us are not doing that. I am looking for meat and eggs. That does not mean I keep mine in tight quarters. For the 8 in my permanent laying and breeding flock, I will have 12 square feet per bird in the coop and 48 square feet each in the run. Of course the numbers change when I have growing chicks, but the point is that I think I am not mistreating mine.

    I agree with Elrod. I may not like factory farms but I consider them a necessary evil. How else can we keep prices as reasonable as they are and keep us and the rest of the world fed. If you think prices are not reasonable now think what they would be without factory farms. That does not mean we can't try to influence how they do things. We just have to understand what is possible. There was an interesting article in local the paper yesterday about how the commercial operations slaughter the chickens. They are investigating different ways of making it more humane. I'm not silly enough to think that they are just looking into it since they are nice guys. They are looking for more efficient ways that does not damage the meat. But the point is that they are also looking at how humane the methods are. And part of that is the mental health of the people that work there. One guy I worked with helped pay his way through college working at a poultry processing plant. There were certain jobs they would not let people do for extended periods of time because of the mental effects. This was in the 70's.

    The commercial operations operate on a very thin profit margin. Just a difference in a few percent in the number of eggs laid per chicken can make the difference in whether they stay in business or go broke. They have the space, feed, and procedures down to where they can be most efficient. They are studying and experimenting all the time to get even more efficient. Our state universities are graduating a lot of people specialized in this field and do a lot of experimenting themselves, especially in the graduate programs. They have determined that a hen on average drops egg production 15% after each adult molt after the first. I'm sure there are individual exceptions, but if you have 10,000 laying hens in each coop, the average is what you go by. They have also determined that egg production drops if they go too long without molting. They simply cannot afford to keep feeding chickens that are that much more inefficient. Many of us can.

    Talking to someone associated with the extension service (who happens to breed chickens, by the way) another factor is that the older a chicken gets, the more succeptable to disease it is. When we were discussing diseases prevalent in this area, I told him I did not plan for any of mine to get any older than 3 years. He said I would not need to worry very much about a few diseases. I was not quick enough to ask if that was because they were more vigorous and could better resist the diseases or if they were just not around long enough to be likely to be exposed to them. I also did not write down which they were and I don't trust my memory well enough to mention which they were. With the crowded conditions of the commercial operations, I'm sure exposure to disease is a real concern to them. I don't know if this factors into when they change over their older layers or not. I think the big thing is that a molt can last for several months and they can be feeding new chicks to grow old enough to lay with the same feed they could use to feed molting hens which will not be as efficient as the new layers.

    I guess a big point in all this is that I cannot directly control how you or anyone else treats their chickens. I can control how I treat mine.
     
  9. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My flock won't hurt the industry very much, either, but industry like that doesn't do the world as much good as we'd like to think. That kind of brutality isn't just practiced on the animals. The workers, the farmers, the land, everything and everyone feels the effects of the Machine. There are better ways.

    Beans and rice combined make a complete source of good protein. A pound of beans costs less than a dollar.

    Just one example of how to live a little more lightly.
     
  10. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I may not like factory farms but I consider them a necessary evil. How else can we keep prices as reasonable as they are and keep us and the rest of the world fed.

    Not necessary actually...

    http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070119222201data_trunc_sys.shtml
    "Can Biodiverse Farming Feed The World?
    by Kate Melville

    Agriculture is rapidly approaching a time of massive change, says an article in Agronomy Journal. Impacted by the end of cheap energy, depleted water resources, impaired ecosystem services and unstable climates, agricultural industries will have to find new ways to feed a world whose appetite for food crops will grow by around 75 percent over the next 50 years. Article author, Fred Kirschenmann, of Iowa State University, believes that biodiverse farming may provide the answers.

    Biodiverse farming exploits the biological synergies inherent in multi-species systems; a methodology far removed from today's monocultural, energy intensive industrial agriculture systems that are based on specialization, simplification, therapeutic intervention and cheap energy.

    Kirschenmann cites examples where farmers have already established successful, complex farming systems based on biological synergies and adaptive management. One is Takao Furuno's duck/fish/rice/fruit farm in Japan. He produces duck meat, duck eggs, fish meat, fruit, and rice without any purchased outside inputs, using a highly synergistic system of production on the same acreage where he previously only produced rice. Astonishingly, in this new system, his rice yields have increased up to 50 percent over previous yields from an energy-intensive rice monoculture.

    Likewise, Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms near Swoope, VA, has developed a rotational grazing production system featuring pastures containing at least 40 varieties of plants and numerous animal species. Salatin's farm uses little fossil fuel, yet the farm is highly productive. The 57-hectare farm annually produces 30,000 dozen eggs, 10,000 to 12,000 broilers, 100 beef animals, 250 hogs, 800 turkeys and 600 rabbits.


    Kirschenmann believes that climate change will play a big role in determining the farming methods of the future. Volatile weather conditions will make it difficult to sustain highly specialized monoculture cropping systems which require relatively stable climates. Farmers likely will need to adjust quickly, he says, adopting methods that are more resilient in the face of unstable climates, and that begin to out-produce monocultures by virtue of their multi-species output.

    He cites another study which showed that diverse, synergistic farms can be profitable and simultaneously benefit the environment. The study demonstrated that when farms are converted from corn/soybean monocultures to more diverse operations, net farm income can increase by as much as 108 percent, while generating significant environmental and social benefits. The key principles of biodiverse farming, according to Kirschenmann, are:

    * Be energy conserving
    * Feature both biological and genetic diversity
    * Be largely self-regulating and self-renewing
    * Be knowledge intensive
    * Operate on biological synergies
    * Employ adaptive management
    * Feature ecological restoration rather than choosing between extraction and preservation
    * Achieve optimum productivity by featuring nutrient-density, and multi-product synergistic production on limited acreage

    Read the whole article at http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/2/373
     

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