Archive for the ‘poultry welfare’ Category

FACT Funding Local Farmers


Food Act Concerns Trust has a  Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project that will provide small grants, of up to $1500, to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. FACT will award grants for projects that (1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems, (2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or (3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised.

FACT’s Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project is designed to empower farmers to positively impact farm animal welfare. Farmers often want to make on-farm changes to give their animals a better life, but sometimes need financial assistance to make it happen. FACT recognizes that farmers have the technical expertise to make farms more humane, and can effectively use small grants to make these changes.

To learn more, go to the Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project webpage. That can be found here: http://www.humanefarmfunds.org/. The application and application guidelines can be found online. Deadline for applying is April 1, 2012.

Contact:

Lisa Isenhart
Humane Farming Program Manager
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)
773-525-4952

Chicken/migratory bird volunteers wanted


I volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, whose main purpose is rescuing migratory birds that crash into glass windows in the Loop (see my post from September of 2010). Occasionally we get calls about chickens wandering the streets.

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors is looking for volunteers to:

  • monitor buildings in the Loop
  • drive birds to the western suburbs
  • rescue chickens
  • foster chickens

If you’d be interested in helping out with any of these, please contact Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at 773-988-1867.

NOTE: While Home to Roost is concerned with the safety and welfare of chickens, we are NOT a chicken rescue. We do not take in birds.

Humane Society and UEP to collaborate for poultry welfare


This letter is from the Human Society – you can find a copy on the Humane Society’s website here. You can contact your US senators/representatives to urge passage of this legislation. See the link at the bottom of the message.

July 7, 2011

I am excited to announce a historic agreement that The Humane Society of the United States reached this morning with the United Egg Producers, which could result in a complete makeover of the U.S. egg industry and improve the treatment of the 280 million laying hens used each year in U.S. egg production. Thanks to your support over the years, through our state ballot initiatives and legislative and corporate campaigns, we now have a new pathway forward to ban barren battery cages and phase in more humane standards nationwide.

The HSUS and UEP have agreed to work together to advocate for federal legislation that would:

  • Require a moratorium at the end of 2011 on new construction of unenrichable battery cages — small, cramped, cages that nearly immobilize more than 90 percent of laying hens today — and the nationwide elimination of barren battery cages through a phase-out period;
  • Require phased in construction of new hen housing systems that provide hens nearly double the amount of space they’re currently provided;
  • Require environmental enrichments so birds can engage in important natural behaviors currently denied to them in barren cages, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas;
  • Mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage-free hens”;
  • Prohibit forced molting through starvation — an inhumane practice that is inflicted on tens of millions of hens each year and which involves withholding all food from birds for up to two weeks in order to manipulate the laying cycle;
  • Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses — a common problem in the industry that is harmful to both hens and egg industry workers;
  • Require standards for euthanasia of hens; and
  • Prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these above requirements.

If enacted, this would be the first federal law relating to chickens used for food, as well as the first federal law relating to the on-farm treatment of any species of farm animal.

Some of the provisions would be implemented nearly immediately after enactment, such as those relating to forced molting, ammonia, and euthanasia, and others after just a few years, including labeling and the requirement that all birds will have to have at least 67 square inches of space each. (Currently, approximately 50 million laying hens are confined to only 48 square inches each.) The bill would require that all egg producers increase space per bird in a tiered phase-in, resulting in a final number, within 15 years for nearly all producers, of at minimum, 124-144 square inches of space each, along with the other improvements noted above.

In order to protect Proposition 2 (a landmark laying hen welfare initiative passed in California in 2008 that many of you worked on), all California egg producers — with nearly 20 million laying hens — would be required to eliminate barren battery cages by 2015 (the date Prop 2 goes into effect), and provide all hens with environmental enrichments, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas. This will also apply to the sale of all eggs and egg products in California. And this agreement to pass comprehensive federal legislation on hen welfare puts a hold on planned ballot measures related to laying hen welfare in both Washington and Oregon.

Passing this federal bill would be a historic improvement for hundreds of millions of animals per year. We are grateful to all of our volunteers, supporters, and others who have helped to make the cage confinement of egg-laying hens a national issue, and we will keep you informed as we make progress on this issue. I hope you will contact your U.S. senators and representative today and urge them to support this federal legislation to end barren battery cage confinement and provide more humane standards for laying hens.

Sincerely,
wayne pacelle
Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

© 2011 The Humane Society of the United States | All rights reserved
2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037
humanesociety@humanesociety.org | 202-452-1100 | humanesociety.org

The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends: The Chicken Store


Back in 2000, I went on a cruise with my friends Bill and Vickie. We were biking around Key West, and I spotted a bike with a license plate that said “The Chicken Store.” I quickly flagged our tour guide, who didn’t understand my enthusiasm, but nevertheless agreed to take us to the Chicken Store on Duval Street.

Apparently Key West has feral chickens. Lots of ’em. They hatch cute fuzzy little chicks, the roosters crow, they cross the road, they annoy residents. And people abuse them by breaking their legs, shooting them with BB guns, and other such nonsense.

The Chicken Store takes in the injured chickens and rehabilitates them, and then adopts them out. They sell all kinds of great chicken-related paraphernalia to help with the rescue efforts. Next time you’re in Key West, check out this store!

There are pictures of the chickens of Key West, as well as chicken-related merchandise, on their site: TheChickenStore.com.

The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends: Chicken Sweaters


Apparently the Brits are serious about their chicken rescue operations. Women in England are knitting little sweaters for feathered working girls rescued from battery cage operations. Check out the coverage here: Chicken sweaters.

May 4: International Respect for Chickens Day


Ah, the lowly chicken! They outnumber people on this terrestrial orb. They provide eggs, meat, amusement, and poop. They are culture’s unsung heroes. It’s about time they had their day.

The following is a press release from May 4, 2005, from the United Poultry Concerns website:

United Poultry Concerns is launching International Respect for Chickens Day on May 4th. We’re urging everyone to do an ACTION of compassion for chickens on that day. This can range from writing a letter to the editor to tabling at a local mall to showing the movie Chicken Run to students, family and friends.

“International Respect for Chickens Day is a day to celebrate the dignity, beauty, and life of chickens and to protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations,” says UPC president Karen Davis. “Chickens are lively birds who have been torn from the leafy world in which they evolved. We want chickens to be restored to their green world and not be eaten.”

The idea for International Respect for Chickens Day traces to famed Le Show host and star of The Simpsons, Harry Shearer, who proclaimed Sunday, May 14, 2000 – Mother’s Day – National Respect the Chicken Day because hens are justly praised as exemplars of devoted motherhood.

In March 2005, Walt Disney Studios contacted United Poultry Concerns about Disney’s upcoming movie Chicken Little, starring a chicken as a hero, just as in real life chickens are heroic protectors of their families and flocks.

In Letters from an American Farmer, a study of American colonial society published in 1782, St. John de Crevecoeur wrote about chickens, “I never see an egg brought to my table but I feel penetrated with the wonderful change it would have undergone but for my gluttony; it might have been a gentle, useful hen leading her chickens with a care and vigilance which speaks shame to many women. A cock perhaps, arrayed with the most majestic plumes, tender to his mate, bold, courageous, endowed with an astonishing instinct, with thoughts, with memory, and every distinguishing characteristic of the reason of man.”

Bird specialists agree that chickens are highly intelligent individuals with social skills that Professor John Webster calls “pretty close to culture – and an advanced one at that. Chickens are sentient creatures and have feelings of their own,” he says. International Respect for Chickens Day urges people to honor chickens by performing a compassionate action for chickens on May 4th. (http://www.upc-online.org/nr/42705irfcd.htm)

What to do with the boys? The Scoop on Roosters


So, you want eggs. You have hens. Do you need a rooster to have eggs? The answer is no.

In fact, the animal control and bird rescue folks would prefer you didn’t keep roosters.

Why? Well, we’ve been seeing a lot of homeless roosters lately, and they are very hard to place. Most people who find roosters want them to go to no-kill homes, and honestly, it’s hard to fit that bill.

If you’re an urban chicken owner, think ahead to the question of “What if I get a rooster?” Help us keep down the rooster population in urban areas:

  • Purchase sex-linked chicks. These breeds result in chicks whose coloration is slightly different, depending on gender. Only certain breed are sex-linked.
  • Purchase sexed chicks. For those non-sex-linked breeds, it is possible to sex chicks after hatching. Not all hatcheries sex chicks, so be careful.
  • Do not purchase straight-run chicks – unless you know what you are going to do with the boys. Half of them will most likely be roosters.
  • DO NOT HATCH CHICKS – unless you know what you are going to do with the boys. Fifty percent of the hatch will be male.
  • Turn them into dinner. You can take roosters to a licensed slaughtering facility. If you are amenable to this option, you can go from live bird to dressed bird for about $4.
  • If you do have a rooster, please do not release him! Find a more humane alternative. Contact local farms and rescue agencies. Check with other chicken owners to see if they would like a rooster.
  • Keep him. Roosters make a lovely, protective addition to a flock. If you can get past the crowing, the rooster will keep a protective eye on your girls. And there is no harm in eating fertilized (unincubated) eggs!

Remember, these are live creatures and should be treated as such.