Chickens

Egg-laying Hens:

  • Half of all fertilised eggs are male.  Males are of no use to the egg-producing industry.  They are killed immediately after hatching by being placed alive in a grinder with rotating blades  (see:  Compassion in World Farming Ireland).
  • Newborn chicks have their beaks cut off using a hot metal blade.  This is done to prevent the birds from pecking each other – which they do as a result of the frustration caused by over-crowding.  De-beaking can cause pain throughout the bird’s life.
  • Hens have been bred to produce up to 300 eggs per year.  They are descended from a species which laid only 10-15 eggs per year.
  • When eggs are removed from the hen she will continue to lay in a futile attempt to produce offspring.
  • Battery hens, despite the new law on ‘enriched’ cages, are crowded together with little more than the size of an A4 page  (27 cm2) per hen.
  • Egg-laying hens are slaughtered as soon as their ‘useful’ lives are over – at around 1 – 2 years of age.  Their natural lifespan is 7-8 years.
  • See:  ‘The suffering of farmed chickens‘ – from Animal Aid and ‘12 egg facts the industry doesn’t want you to know’.

Broiler Chickens:

  • These are chickens that are reared for meat.  They have been selectively bred to have large, lean bodies and to grow very fast in a short space of time.
  • Their bodies are so large that they often suffer broken bones in their legs when they try to stand up or walk.  Some birds die of starvation as they cannot reach the food and water troughs due to injuries or lameness.
  • They are slaughtered at around 6 weeks.  Their natural lifespan would have been 6-7 years.

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