March 10, 2012

March 2012: Free-Range Eggs

   Eggs: we often consume them every day without realizing where they came from. When asked, we picture an old barn with open fields and chickens walking freely, or at least in a coop. But today, most laying-birds are not so lucky.

1.) Know Your Eggs
   Most cheep eggs from the market are not from free-range hens. This means that they come from birds that are kept in wire cages so small that they can't walk, or even spread their wings. These chickens have the sensitive tips of their beaks cut off to prevent fighting.
   Normally, chickens have what's called a pecking order. This is the hierarchy in which the birds establish who's dominate. But in the tiny cages, they don't have enough room to figure out who's boss, and this leads to fights.
   The bird's are fed a diet of pellet food. This is not very healthy for the birds, meaning that they produce unhealthy eggs, which in turn are not very high in vitamins. In the wild, chickens forage for bugs and some plant matter.  This makes their eggs good for consumption, being high in proteins.
   For more about chickens, check out the Humane Society's page on the birds!
2.) Watch What You Buy
   Even if your carton of eggs says "Free Range" on it, that doesn't exactly mean that the birds get to see grass. A lot of times, "Free Range" simply means that they aren't kept in tiny wire cages, but rather filthy indoor huts. Try buying eggs from a local farmer who doesn't use such methods to raise his or her chickens.

3.) Go Egg Free!
If you don't like the thought of eating eggs, even humane ones, then don't! The birds do notice when their eggs are taken away, and this upsets them. Especially if they had all their eggs taken from them at once. I keep chickens, so I've seen this happen. Now, I only eat their "extra eggs, and leave some of them for them to "care" for (even though they are infertile [no chick inside]).
For lots of yummy, egg-free recipes, and a list of easily found egg replacements for baked recipes, check out They have some good recipes.

4.) Sponsor a Rescued Hen
   Ordinations, such as Farm Sanctuary, rescue farm animals from abuseful situations. You can help out by sponsoring an animal, such as a pig, horse, cow, or chicken!
   Here's an idea: host a vegan bake-sale to raise money for needy chickens!

Next Month: World Water Consumption