When Are You Going to Write About My Chickens?

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My sis and her chick

My sister recently told me that she was going vegan, but then she got three chickens to raise for eggs. I was disappointed that she wasn’t following through with going vegan, but I’m not judging her. Sure, I’d like to see her adopt my lifestyle, but a judgmental attitude will only make her less open to veganism. So instead, I took photos of her lovelies.

I’d planned on posting the pictures awhile ago, but I never got to it. Then last night my sister asked me, “When are you going to write about my chickens?” So today, I got to it.

Michelle, Linda and Larissa, this post is for you!

1. I’ll never be a nugget!

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2. Birds of a feather

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3. In the shade

IMG_15514. Two of a kind

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Cool links!

The Joyless Vegan shared this touching article about hens and their eggs: A Hen’s Relationship with Her Eggs, as well as this informative one, What’s Wrong With Backyard Eggs?.

Sophia from Love and Lentils shared a wonderful little video, Bird Brain (it’s really short, check it out!).

My blog follower, Mychael M. shared interesting link: Eggs: What Are You Really Eating?.

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About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Animal Welfare, Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to When Are You Going to Write About My Chickens?

  1. Laura says:

    You had me with the title! My mom and dad have chickens and I love watching them!

  2. I’m always amazed at how pretty chickens are. These three are especially adorable!

  3. They are beautiful beings!

  4. Celeste's Hubby says:

    Finally…a post about Michelle’s chickens. It’s about time! 😉

  5. emmavoberry1 says:

    I don’t want to challenge you in any way. Love your posts. But I will say though I have no personal experience with chickens, my daughter raised them without cruelty, ate the unfertilized eggs, while they could roam quite a large space and were not forced to produce in any way. I had birds. One turned out to be a girl. I had to take her eggs away from under her or she would not have eaten. I certainly understand that vegans are against the cruelty large (and small) farms mete out to defenseless chickens and poor little boy chicks, but how does your sister harm chickens by eating their eggs? Philosophically, I follow the argument that as humans we should take nothing an animal produces because the animal owns that product just as we should own all our bodies produce–BUT maybe you could explain to me why (in practical terms) you would be against humanely tending chickens and consuming their eggs. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad you asked that and I don’t feel challenged at all. My short answer is that I personally don’t think that it’s inhumane for someone to take good care of chickens and consume their eggs. I know that other vegans disagree with me on this point. As you mention, many feel that this would be exploiting the chickens.

      So here’s where my answer gets complex. Despite the fact that I don’t feel that it’s “wrong” I would still choose not to raise chickens for eggs or to eat eggs from chickens that I knew had been raised humanely. Part of my reason is that I don’t feel that animal products, including eggs, are healthful. Here’s one example of a study that found eating eggs to be bad for your heart: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/16/is-eating-eggs-really-as-bad-for-your-heart-as-smoking/

      But beyond health, I don’t want to promote eating eggs because many laying hens are not raised humanely. Humanely raised eggs are not available to everyone, and if I continue to eat eggs I still feel that I’m supporting a system that does not treat animals well. Maybe this is silly and I’m probably not making a difference at all by this, but I’d rather err on the side of caution. I guess I’d rather promote a diet that doesn’t use eggs, because I know that most people buy eggs from the grocery store and grocery stores typically get eggs from factory farms. So I want to give people another option.

      Another thing that makes me not even want to use humanly raised eggs is that I know that some (not all, of course!) farmers abuse “humanely raised” labels. Birds raised for meat, for example, may be sold as “free-range” if they have government certified access to the outdoors. In order to fulfill this, a door needs to be open for only five minutes a day. So if I tell people I only use “humanely raised” eggs, they may also purchase eggs that have a label that makes it appear that the hens were raised humanely when in reality they may not have been.

      Anyway, that’s my reasoning. Oh, I should also say that my main disappointment with my sister raising chickens for eggs is that it means that she’s given up on a vegan diet. My sister and her partner both want to lose weight and my sister’s partner has diabetes. I was hoping that a vegan diet would help them to be healthier.

      Thanks again – I really appreciate your interest! Celeste 🙂

      • Celeste I am with you on this one. I don’t care how humanley chickens are raised I think eggs are gross.

      • Mychael M says:

        Hi, Celeste,
        I appreciate the measured way you deal with questions. Here’s a little addition to your last comment. I personally believe we should not eat eggs for many reasons. In addition to what has already been said, when good-intentioned people, like your sister, buy chicks, they have bought into an exploitative system. The only chicks people buy for egg production are, obviously, females. So, what happens to male chicks? They are discarded, ground up alive, or just tossed in the bin. Also, many backyard chicken farmers find that they can’t indeed care for the chickens, so they end up as orphans, hopefully to be adopted. Chickens eggs are a product of their menstrual cycle. There is no need for us to eat this byproduct. Why do we? We can easily gain our protein from plant foods. Even if you think it is morally acceptable to own a sentient being, if there are good alternatives to use for our nutrition, why continue to exploit animals? Another question comes to mind: When your sister’s chickens stop their menstrual cycle, and they stop producing eggs, will she keep them anyway, or do they go into the soup? Chickens live quite some time after they quit producing eggs. There are very few people who will then treat that chicken as they would a pet and allow them to live our their lives without “paying rent”. If anyone has interest in exploring this further, I’d recommend checking out United Poultry Concerns website or this link http://freefromharm.org/eggs-what-are-you-really-eating/
        Thanks, Celeste!

      • April @ Simplify Your Health says:

        Hi Celeste. I understand your reluctance to eat even humanely raised eggs, I had this problem when I stayed at a beautiful farm recently. Lovely orange, organic, farm fresh eggs. I am still not sure how I feel about it. I would have to really know the farmer, and be certain they had a no-slaughter policy. What I wanted to comment on, is the heath aspect of it. Your study you linked to above, is not, in my opinion, a great example of the health concerns. This study was flawed in many ways, notably that it is another example of a reductionist scientific approach which isolates and concentrates on one aspect. It is an observational study, and these only show correlation, not causation. This study failed to show an association between increased total cholesterol and eating eggs- in fact looking at the figures it is in line with other science which shows eggs do not increase cholesterol. There are many other contributing factors, such as overall animal protein consumption, low intake of plant foods and lack of adequate exercise, which are not included or accounted for. You have to be able to show that this 1 thing actually causes carotid plaque build up, and this study did not. If you observed that people who always wear black socks had an increased risk of heart disease, you would not then conclude that black socks were the cause.

        I do believe however, from my studies and personal research, that high animal protein intake is extremely unhealthy and the weight of evidence seems to support this, in my view. I do have to point out, that from a health perspective, very small amounts of animal foods which includes eggs, can still be part of a healthy diet. However, ethically my opinions are different and the environmental costs of providing animal foods, even in small amounts, to our hugely overpopulated world make it incredibly problematic and unlikely that humane farming is always observed or practical- 99% of animal foods for human consumption are factory farmed. It would be impossible to provide regular animal food intake humanely for the current population.

      • Mychael M. (gratefulvegan812) says:

        Wow, this post really generated some interest, Celeste! This is in response to April@Simplify Your Health. April, thank you for your interesting and intelligent response. I tend to agree that small amounts of animal products probably will not harm us or be detrimental to our health. Humans have evolved to be able to survive, and even thrive, on a tremendous variety of foods. Your point about our bloated and unsustainable human population is well taken. With 7.5 billion homo sapiens on this planet, there’s no way we can all eat eggs from “happy chickens”. In fact, most of us will be eating eggs from tortured and abused chickens should we continue to eat them.

        On the other hand, I used to eat, and love eggs. They remind me of my good old beautiful Dad, whom I dearly love and respect. All my life, I can see it in my mind, he would fry and egg or two almost every morning and stand there eating it with toast at the kitchen counter. As far as I know, he still does. Into my adult life, I carried on the tradition (some days- not every day) and loved making big omelets and scrambles on weekends.

        Fast forward to this day, almost two years after I ate my last egg, and I’ve completely lost interest in them. It does matter to me that all animals are treated respectfully, and I would of course rather see people eating eggs which come from a chicken who has a good life than from a hen who is treated only as an egg factory. However, after foregoing eggs for this amount of time (actually after about a month I felt this way), I would no sooner excitedly eat the product of a chicken’s menstrual cycle than I would reach up into a human beings ovaries to harvest her eggs for my breakfast. The glamour of eating them has just faded away. I remember someone asking a question of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau about whether it would be considered unethical to eat the eggs of a hen at a rescue facility. Her answer was that she couldn’t think of an ethical argument against it, but that she personally would still have no desire to do so. That sentiment has definitely become my reality, too.

        That being said, happy Easter, everyone!

    • Shannon says:

      It’s WHERE people are getting their chicks or eggs that is the conundrum. There is a whole industry infrastructure supporting it. And when something becomes a fad and everyone wants to do it, God help the creatures…

    • Thanks so much for chiming in here Mychael – I appreciate your comment! I’ve actually learned a lot about chickens from the comments on this post and it’s strengthened my feelings against raising chickens for eggs. I do believe that my sister will continue to care for her chickens even after they stop laying eggs, but you make a great point about the male chicks. I’ll never forget the footage in Vegucated of the male chicks being ground up alive. That broke my heart and was one of the reasons I became an ethical vegan. For some reason, my sister insists that the farm she got her chicks from doesn’t kill the male chicks. She says that she was told that they can’t even tell which of the chicks are male when they’re little and that she may end up with some roosters. I don’t know if the place she got her chicks from was lying to her or what, but this is what she tells me. Anywho, I always appreciate your insight Mychael! Celeste 🙂 PS – I posted the link you shared on my post!

      • Mychael M. says:

        Celeste, you are always so gracious in your responses. I think it’s a really good sign that your sister is thinking about all the things you mentioned. As far as the farm telling her they don’t kill the male chicks and, in fact, don’t even sort them, I have just a couple of quick thoughts on that: 1) If they do turn out to be roosters, and that does happen, your sister will have another dilemma. I assume she lives in the city, in which case her roosters will be considered a nuisance when they start to crow, and 2) Even the breeders that do try to sex out the chicks don’t get it right all of the time, so people get males that end up becoming a problem, which is why, according to an article that I recently read and now can’t find, chicken adoption needs are on the rise. Cheers, Celeste! Thanks for your response and have a great day!

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply here April. As someone who has a master’s degree in psychology and was taught about research methods, I know that you are correct in your questions about the study I refer to here. Like you, it is my belief as well that eating small amounts of animal protein is not likely to be harmful to humans. And like you, I do believe that it is unhealthful for us to consume large amounts of animal protein. I probably should do more research about the studies that I share on my blog, but it’s hard for me to find the time to do so. In any case, I appreciate your thoughts as it will help me to be more discerning in what I share on my blog in the future.

      My reasoning for not eating ANY animal products is for ethical reasons and also because it’s easier for me to abstain completely than to be controlled about how much animal protein I’m consuming. This is how I roll, but I don’t fault others for their choices.

      I really appreciate your support on my blog chica and if you celebrate Easter, I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday!

      • April @ Simplify Your Health says:

        Hey Celeste. I too am more interested in the ethical issues as far as animals are concerned, if I don’t need to eat them or by products like eggs and dairy, in order to survive, then I won’t. Although I am interested and qualified in nutrition, I almost use it as a means to support my ethical decisions sometimes! It just happens that what is most healthful, is also the most compassionate to animals and the most beneficial to the planet too. I can’t say I miss eggs so far, plenty of plant alternatives 🙂 happy Easter to you too!

    • Hey Mychael! I’m trying to respond to you here, but I don’t know where this comment is going to go. We think in very similar ways on this topic! I have completely lost my desire to eat eggs (not to mention meat and cheese – other foods I used to love). Maybe a little egg here and there won’t harm me, but I’m still not going to consume them. It just occurs to me that this is a very appropriate topic for Easter Sunday. I hope you’re having a lovely holiday. Celeste 🙂

  6. emmavoberry1 says:

    PS Your sister’s chickens do look happy and they are so cute!

  7. diahannreyes says:

    They are adorable, Celeste. Curious- does your sister regard the chickens as family? Kind of the way one does a dog or cat. I hear that people bond with chickens all the time, even bringing them into the living room.

  8. Violet says:

    Celeste, long time no talk here. Cute post and chicks. 🙂 You know what? I think your sister is perhaps on her way to veganism; she is raising the chickens for eggs and not meat, so that’s a start. 🙂 Plus, we need to remember, everyone is different in their journeys and taking baby steps is great towards anything, especially towards a lifestyle that’s very drastic from what one is used to. That’s my two cents. 🙂

  9. Gah! They’re cute. 🙂 Looks like it’s going well! I was hesitant at first, as so many people do not realize how much work and attention these smart animals require. I’m glad to see an update!
    Check this out, I saw it yesterday and just loved it. 🙂
    http://www.edgarsmission.org.au/22293/bird-brain/

  10. Beautiful. These beauties look like happy chicken being cared for the way they should ❤

  11. M-R says:

    See. Celeste … I simply can’t find my way around eating eggs from chickens such as these – loved and looked after, and suffering not one IOTA from our consumption of their eggs.
    I know you’ll sigh and roll and beautiful eyes and think “How many times, O Lord ?!”; but I can’t deny the truth !!! – she said, leaping off her soapbox and shaking hands all ’round… [grin]

    • Is this really “love” though? Bringing creatures into existence to exploit their reproductive capacities to eat things we don’t even need in the first place? And killing their unwanted brothers shortly after birth? I’m not sure that can be called love. I don’t doubt that some people feel some kind of affection for the hens they own, but at the end of the day, they are your property and their interests come second to yours. Not a good situation if you are a hen. We don’t actually need eggs, so why do this? I think it would be much kinder to not own hens, unless they are rescue hens you are not exploiting for eggs.

      • M-R says:

        So you don’t believe in having pets at all, then – because your belief would apply to all of them.
        That’s very sad.

      • Pets are animals who are bred into existence for our pleasure, with little to no consideration given to their desires. We dictate every single aspect of their lives–who they live with, what they eat, when they go outside, where they go, what they do, etc. That is not “love”–that is slavery, and while I take care of rescued animals from a sense of moral obligation to them, I would ultimately love to see all breeding of animals to be kept by humans stop. Yes. No pets.

      • gratefulvegan812 says:

        Joyless Vegan (love that name, hope it is facetious!) I totally agree with you. And if they are rescue hens, I understand they get a lot of nutrition if you break up their eggs and feed them back to them. Pets- there are millions of animals who need care. We should care for all of them and not breed anymore for our own pleasure. Human animals and non-human animals can indeed have beautiful connections, but we absolutely have no right to force those connections.

      • Hi there, gratefulvegan! Yes, my name is utterly facetious! I was once called joyless and bitter and cynical by someone who hardly knew me, all because I’m vegan (and he had no concept of veganism at all), so I’m making that name my own! Veganism has brought nothing but joy. In fact, the only hard thing about it is dealing with other people’s attitudes.
        You are absolutely right–we should not be bringing more and more creatures into existence to serve us, when there are so many unwanted “pets” languishing in shelters or in abusive or neglectful “homes”. We have no right to keep these animals captive for our own entertainment, or for what we might “learn” from them, or for the “love” they give us. That is not their purpose in life, and we ought not to dictate what another’s purpose is. They have no choices in their own lives–we dictate everything, often even when they die. Our economic interests always trump their interests, even their interest in continuing to live.
        I could go on for a while about this, but we are on the same page, so I’ll just say thanks so much for your supportive comment. I appreciate that you really understand this issue 🙂

    • Your comment is like poetry Margaret! You really are a great writer, I’m gonna have to read your book. For any of you reading this, yes Margaret wrote a book. Here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Then-Like-My-Dreams-ebook/dp/B00FR9UI5Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386397997&sr=1-1&keywords=and+then+like+my+dreams
      I bet you can convince almost anyone of anything. Well, almost. I don’t have any plans of going back to eating eggs. 🙂

      • M-R says:

        That is very civil of you ! 🙂 But you know, it’s not that I’m trying to convince anyone; except maybe myself …

    • I hear you! I was just impressed with your prose, that’s all. 🙂

  12. Partner always wanted chickens (he likes eggs more than I do) and because we have papers for an animal finca, we can have them (and pigs horses or lions or tigers I suppose). Anyway, one day he went to buy some. He came back and the chicken person later delivered five of them. Later on we bought a cockerel who was pretty useless and died after not long. Luckily a local gypsy gave us one years ago and he is still going strong (I won’t clog up your blog with chicken links!). I don’t have an issue with eating eggs from my chickens, I know how they live, what they eat and that they have plenty of space and fresh air. They don’t lay a lot anyway. Unless they are broody, what else does one do with the eggs? Throw them out?

    And while we don’t take them into the house, we do regard them as animals first, and egg-layers second. Our last chicken died last year, aged around nine, she’d stopped laying a while ago, but we’re hardly going to knock any of them on the head. Poor old El (the cockerel) is on his lonesome now, so we are looking for some more chickens, but we now know we need small fesity broody bantams.

    I like the company of animals, I would have donkeys, goats and pigs if I had the space. Companion animals is a difficult ethical issue for vegans. Dogs and cats are easy to justify, so many are thrown out so need a home. We actually took some chickens from a local producer, total waste of space in terms of eggs but at least they got a few months of a decent life with us before they died after their intensive production. Mostly they ate the other chickens’ eggs 😀

    • Wonderful comment!! I think the chicken and eggs issue (like the which one came first riddle) is complex. I don’t have a strong opinion about raising chickens the way I do with factory farms. I’m certainly against factory farms, but the only thing I can say about raising chickens and eating eggs is that I won’t do it myself. I also have to admit that I’m still learning about this topic. I’m delighted with all of the comments on this post because I’m learning. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and personal experience with chickens – I really appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

    • That’s great to hear Ralph!! I guess you’ve made quite an impact Father O’ Ralph!! 😉

  13. Ralph says:

    Hi Celeste 😀 I live in a village in the mountains of southern Spain and am surrounded by 4 fincas with chickens and turkeys roaming. Because over 90% of the villagers are on pensions, government benefit or have no income, these are their main source of food. Other produce they eat are cacti fruit, orange and lemon tree fruits, snails from the fields, walnuts. and wild asparagus. The local shops have many villagers on the slate owing huge amounts.
    When General Franco was in power the villagers were forced to grow crops, both animal and vegetable The harvest which was taken from them meant many families starved. Nowadays, their attitude is anything they grow is theirs, but with that they are so generous in giving to others who have not. So to be a vegan here means nothing.
    *cluck* Ralph xox ❤

    • What a thoughtful comment Ralph!! You’ve really pulled me out of my Southern Orange County mentality. What I mean by that is that I live in an affluent area and have all that I need so I can make choices about what I eat. I know that this is not the reality for everyone, and it’s good for me to be reminded of that. I try not to judge anyone for what they eat, but I would especially not judge those who are poor and have little choice about it. Your comment is a Ralph “reality check” and I appreciate it!! Happy day Ralphie! 🙂

      • Ralph says:

        There is a lot of good coming from people like you in Spain. Bull rings are closing and bans are coming in force throughout the country. Donkeys for tourist rides in Mijas on the Costa del Sol are now well looked after, vet checks, short hours, and it only came about by the persistence of the expats (British residents) that the animals were seen to be mistreated badly and it had to stop. It took years, but it happened. The younger generation is more in touch with treatment of animals, but it is the older generation that still treat chickens, goats, sheep as a food crop and are not so caring. But, on the whole, personally, I have seen a great improvement about animal care during the 12 years I have been here in Spain.
        *cockle-doodle-doo* ❤

  14. Hi Celeste,
    I know very little about raising and keeping chickens. Tha main argument against it, that I have heard, is that the chicks come from an industry that provides these chicks to factory farms-that one is in fact supporting a very cruel industry. I am not sure what I think about it yet, but it does provide some plant based food for thought!

    • Thanks for chiming in here Annie! It is a complex topic, so I certainly get why you’re not sure what you think about it yet. I think I’m still uncertain about it too. The only thing I know is that I’ll never raise chickens or eat eggs, but beyond that I don’t know exactly where I stand. Celeste 🙂

      • One thing I think I do know for sure, is that respectful dialogue on this very important issue of nonhuman animal welfare and freedom is key is helping to create. awareness as well to educate all of us, vegan and non vegan alike. Reading your post led me to spend some time thinking about the issue of backyard chickens. So, now I believe that while intending to raise these birds lovingly and eating their eggs may not be inherently cruel, in doing so we are supporting an industry that is is cruel. From breeding practices to increase egg production, to killing male chicks, to posting boxes of female chicks in the mail, to battery cages and interference with natural practices on the parts of the hens, we are complicit when we support in any way the continuation of these industries.
        It is about getting the information out there, about including everyone in the discussion, about being willing as vegans to continue learning and understanding what being vegan really means, that we all contribute to granting to all nonhumans their freedom in this world we call home. Therein, lies our salvation.

      • I understand why you think that keeping hens for eggs is not inherently cruel, but I think closer examination reveals that it is. We bring these creatures into existence for no other reason than to take and use the products of their bodies and ultimately, their bodies themselves. If you were to insert a human into the situation, as in, a human woman being kept captive and having her eggs harvested against her will, it would be much more obvious how cruel this is. Hens’ bodies are their own, and their eggs are their own. Just as honey belongs to bees, and is not ours to take (backyard apiculture is as trendy right now as backyard hen keeping), eggs are not ours to take. To impose our will upon these creatures, and to use them in such ways (however “loving” we might be toward them) is to deny them agency–the right to determine what happens to them. That is cruelty. We would not want that for ourselves, and we ought not to do it to others, human or not.

      • Hi Celeste,
        With the greatest of respect to The Joyless Vegan- in response to her comments on my reply: I believe that what I said is that there may (not is)no inherent cruelty in the intention (not the act of keeping) behind wanting to raise backyard chickens. I imagine that most people do not buy chickens for their backyards for the express purpose of abusing them. I do not agree with using nonhuman animals for any purpose. That is why I am vegan. That is why I continue to try to inform people about the cruel practices behind the industries. My hope is that once people understand what is happening and that their choices make them complicit, they will make kinder choices.Non human animals should not be deprived of their free will. I am with you on that-no question.

    • I SO agree that dialogue is important Annie! I’ve learned a lot from the comments on this post and it’s helped me to more fully comprehend the full impact of raising backyard chickens. I’m curious if my sister has read all of the comments here and if it’s had any impact on her feelings about the topic. I’m in Boston at the moment, but I’ll be seeing my sis when I get home and I’ll ask her. I’d also like to say that you add a lot to the dialogue on my blog chica – thanks for that! Celeste 🙂

  15. Celeste, your sister may yet qualify to be a v-egg-an. 😉

  16. Mike Lince says:

    I just was wondering if coloring Easter eggs is vegan-approved? I know hard boiled eggs are animal products, but like cheese, I have not yet found a way to let them go. Egg salad sandwiches were as common fare after Easter as were turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving. I have given up on the turkey, but eggs – not so much. Happy Easter, Celeste! – Mike

    • Hey Mike! The short answer is, no. Vegans avoid all animal products so they don’t consume or use anything that comes from an animal. This can get tricky because animal products are used in a lot of things. I recently learned that white sugar, for example, is often processed with bone char (char made out of animal bones).

      It sounds like you’ve made the transition to a vegetarian, but not to vegan. No worries – I just may make a vegan out of you yet. By the way, I made my first vegan cheese the other day and it’s amazing!!! I made An Unrefined Vegan’s Cashew Coconut Cream Cheese, and it was so easy. Here’s a link in case you want to try it: http://anunrefinedvegan.com/2014/03/20/cashew-coconut-cream-cheese-oil-free/

      Happy Easter to you too!!! Celeste 🙂

      • I had the same concerns about processed white sugar and was buying the organic variety(which, by the way is very expensive) until I decided to do some research. I discovered good news about different kinds of sugar produced here in Canada. I wrote about it in the following post.

        http://vegangrammieannie.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-skinny-on-processed-sugar-vegan-and.html

        It is tough, and nearly impossible to eliminate personal consumption and use of all products that contain nonhuman animals. My personal goal is to do so, while forgiving myself for mistakes I make related to what I do not know or what I really cannot change.

        So for example, the glue in plywood is not vegan, many tires are not vegan. The best I can do is stop using as many non vegan products as possible when I find out the truth. I know now that Fabric softener (liquid and the sheets, too, I believe) is not vegan, so I use a less effective softener that is vegan. More static cling in our house now, but what the heck! Cling free is just not as important to me anymore.

        And what about vino? Many wines are not vegan. I don’t drink wine unless I am sure that it is vegan. Barnivore is a great site that I use to check on wines.

        So, I guess the moral of the story is that I keep trying, for all the nonhuman animals.

      • You are completely right about sugar, Vegan Grammie Annie! I was shocked when I first learned that cane sugar is processed using bone char! I mean….wha..? However, you will be happy to know that beet sugar is fine. Can’t remember if you mentioned it, but Rogers’ website is pretty useful in determining which are vegan–there is a code on the sugar package that indicates what kind of sugar (cane or beet) and where it is processed, and that will help you figure out if it’s vegan. (It’s the beet sugar refined in Taber that is vegan, I think, but I’d have to double check). That being said, there are tons of other sugars available that are vegan. I recently purchased coconut sugar from….Earth’s General Store, I think. They are definitely out there!
        And you are spot-on about not being able to be 100% vegan. It’s not possible, but we must strive to do our best. And our best means being willing to learn and change our habits, even if it’s a bit inconvenient to us. Things like tires, or killing bugs as we drive or till soil to plant crops is unavoidable, but so many things are completely avoidable! You sound like you are an amazing vegan, totally open to learning. It’s a pleasure to see 🙂

  17. Hi Celeste–what does your sister plan to do with her hens once they are no longer laying? A hen can live 10-20 years, I think, depending on breed, but they only lay for a few of those years. Most people send them to slaughter when they are “spent”. Will your sister kill her hens when they are no longer useful to her? Also, have you told her about how male chicks are useless to the insdustry and gassed or ground up alive shortly after birth? The same hatcheries where she got her hens do these things, so she’s supporting that. I get that we should not “judge” people, but I also think people need to understand the reality of their choices. There is just no such thing as “humane” eggs.

    • I can’t see my sister sending her hens off to slaughter once they’re spent. My sis tells me that her chicks are part of the family. When my sister told me some months ago that she was considering getting hens, I told her about how male chicks are killed and encouraged her to watch the movie, Vegucated (that’s where I learned about this). I don’t know if the info ever got through to her, however.

      I mentioned this again after she got her chicks and my sister told me something that doesn’t make sense to me. She said that the place she got her chicks from told her that when the chicks are babies that you can’t tell if they are male or female. They wanted her to know this because she might end up with a rooster or two. This doesn’t make any sense to me and I don’t know if the farm she got the chicks from was trying to deceive her of if she didn’t understand what they were trying to tell her. My sister now tells me that she thinks one of her chicks is a rooster. I don’t get it.

      Anyway, your comment is well taken. I think informing people is SO important. That’s the main reason I started my blog. I do walk cautiously around this, however; because I remember how hard my heart was to hearing this info when I was an omnivore.

      Thanks for your comment!! Celeste 🙂

      • I think that people start keeping hens with this very same idea–No I could never hurt them, they will be like pets. Except, as I said earlier, they only lay eggs for a short part of their lives. The rest of their lives, the majority of their lives, they’ll be useless to her and costing her in terms of food, shelter and vet care. And, I am assuming that as some hens stop laying, she will purchase more who will lay for her. But if she keeps all the non-laying hens around, too, her flock will soon become unmanageable. While I think she has good intentions, I have no doubt that her excess, unlaying hens will end up either at a sanctuary–which are already over-run with hens!–or at slaughter.

      • Also, ;yes, it is difficult to sex chicks when they are so very young. She very likely ended up with a rooster, who will have to go somewhere, as he will be useless to her and annoying to neighbours if he crows. Again, sanctuary or slaughter. And sanctuaries cannot keep taking on the burden indefinitely.

    • My sister has been reading the comments on this post, so I’m curious if she’ll respond to your comments here. I still think that she’ll keep her hens even after they stop laying eggs. My sister has a lot of land and a lot of animals, and I’ve never known her to abandon any of her animals. Of course, I could be wrong! I sure hope I’m not wrong, however.

      I do think that the comments on this post have made me have a stronger opinion against raising chickens. I believe that you’re correct that many, if not most, hens that people raise to lay eggs end up in sanctuaries or are slaughtered. This is very sad, and not something I want to support. Thank you for sharing here! Celeste 🙂

      • I hope your sister reads this excellent article from gentle world about backyard chickens.
        http://gentleworld.org/whats-wrong-with-backyard-eggs/

      • I hope your sister is prepared to take care of potentially hundreds of chickens, if she wants eggs and also wants to keep non-laying hens as “pets”. The factory farm system and all its inherent horrors exist for a reason–we used to have small family farms and backyard chickens. But people were demanding more and more and more, and these farms couldn’t keep up and had to become more efficient. “Efficient” is not keeping non-useful animals around, as they cost money and produce nothing. Efficient is killing the unit of production (the living, breathing, feeling being) once it no longer produces. Your sister will likely find her new hobby to be aggravatingly expensive (has she priced out vet care? Does she have a vet who treats chickens?), and the hens will suffer the consequences, just as animals always do in these trends.
        All this, for something no human being needs.

      • From Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary:

        Can PPS take our unwanted rooster(s)?
        In order to take the rooster, we will require the relinquishment of the hens along with the rooster , a relinquishment fee, and a signed agreement that you will not continue to purchase/hatch chicks.

        You have witnessed firsthand one of the problems with keeping backyard hens. For every egg laying hen, a rooster has either been murdered at the hatchery, or has escaped, briefly, only to be discarded later. There is NO humane way to produce eggs for human consumption, and back yard operations only exacerbate the problem by giving the illusion that it is humane. Billions of roosters are murdered for their sister’s eggs no matter if the hens end up in a battery facility or in someone’s backyard. The few existing sanctuaries cannot possibly accommodate all the discarded roosters (and these are only the small percentage that aren’t correctly sexed and killed at the hatcheries). The roosters relinquished at shelters are killed.

        We get asked to take unwanted roosters year-round, but especially in late spring and early summer when people buy chicks from feed stores or online suppliers in order to set up their own “back-yard” egg operation. People only want hens because roosters don’t lay eggs, and because they can be loud and very protective of their flock, which is often perceived as aggression by humans.

        The hatcheries that supply feed stores and online shops separate the males from the females shortly after hatching. The females are packed and sold. The males are murdered in mass – sometimes they are even used as disposable packaging material for the baby hens who are shipped via US mail.

        It is important for everyone to realize that egg production on any scale – from back-yard operations, to so called “free-range” or “cage-free” facilities, to factory farms – involves the killing of ALL baby chicks identified as roosters. Occasionally, baby roosters slip through the sexing process and are sold as baby hens.

        We receive countless calls from people who suddenly realize they have one or more roosters and expect sanctuaries to relieve them of that responsibility. Sadly, we can only accept a small fraction of the thousands of roosters we are asked to take in.

    • Thank you SO much for all of your thoughtful comments on this post! I’ve learned a lot from what you’ve shared. I don’t think I ever fully researched the subject of raising chickens because I knew I’d never do it. As a vegan, however; I think it’s important for me to really understand issues such as this. You never know when someone is going to ask me questions about such issues, and I want to be prepared with the facts. I hope that my sister has read all of your comments too. I’m out of town at the moment, but I’ll see her when I get back home and I’ll ask her about it. Celeste 🙂

  18. Also, hens will usually consume the unfertilized eggs they lay. Egg-laying taxes a hen’s body tremendously, and they reclaim a lot of nutrients from their eggs. The eggs should go back to them.

  19. Shannon says:

    There is a huge movement in raising hens for eggs right now. I’m still against it! How many r

    • Shannon says:

      …roosters are there that people want to lay eggs? Exactly ZERO. So, I’ll ask again to all those in favor of raising hens for eggs: what happens to all the males?

      • Point well taken Shannon! I don’t know if you read the comment I wrote to The Joyless Vegan above, but my sister told me that the place she got her chicks from told her that one or more of her chicks might be male. If you want the whole story about this, you can read the comment above. Celeste 🙂

  20. Sweet little things! What beautiful feathers they have!

  21. Those are some lovely photos of some lovely little chickens! 😀

  22. FittyUpdike says:

    Awww! They are cute. My brother had chickens for a while… I had to chicken sit every now and again…

  23. Geraldine says:

    Celeste, Can you send me an email? I have an idea to run by you. My email linked to my wp acct. is fine, thank you!

  24. Geraldine says:

    PS: The chickens are adorable. 😉

  25. I never thought I’d say that I want to cuddle with a chicken – but these are so cute and snuggly that that is exactly how I feel!

  26. Poppy says:

    Beautiful! ❤

  27. An Eyewitness Account of a Hatchery Worker
    by Victor Schonfeld, director of The Animals Film

    “I was chosen for a special assignment, in the hatchery. The rooms were silent but for the faint hum of machines, the air hot and humid, so that when we levered out the huge metal trays of newly hatched chicks from the oven-like incubators, the yellow fluff balls chirruped cheerfully. A sea of yellow beings jostled among broken shells.

    The facility manager had shown me a hatch to swivel open and finish the job. Below it were dumpsters, several already full to the brim. Masses of broken eggshells were heaped in there, among them quite a number of chirruping chicks, very much alive. This was the trash someone would dispose of later. How, I had not been told. Meanwhile, the new crop of broken shells was to be tossed down there, along with the unwanted male chicks and any females I judged too small or weak to meet the standards of the facility.
    I carried my first tray to the opening. Dozens of living chicks slid into the void. The chicks I’d pitched to the bottom of the dumpster would be crushed or asphyxiated as others were thrown on top of them. I went back to the hatchery chamber, eyes searching for a human face who could reassure me. What I’d done just now was “what was done”, wasn’t it? It was OK, wasn’t it? But there was no one present.

    A second tray from which I’d extracted the females was on the selection table, ready for disposal. I yanked off my plastic gloves and reached for one of the male chicks and lifted him up in my bare hand. It seemed the right thing to be merciful. Peasants wring chickens’ necks, don’t they? I edged my fingers into a tight hold round his neck, just below the little bright-eyed face peering back at me. Then I realised I had to get out of there. What kind of place was this? I stood and wept.”
    ~ Victor Schonfeld

  28. Mychael M says:

    Here’s another one I ran across tonight http://mercyforanimals.ca/hatchery/

  29. reocochran says:

    This post was very important and I learned a lot from the comments, too! I feel that we all need to be more aware of the ways we need to take care of ourselves and the creatures and world surrounding us. Powerful messages here… Hugs, Robin

  30. sf says:

    That’s cool how you’ve blogged here about your sister’s chickens! – and that she wanted you too also. Sweet! (my sis doesn’t know I have a blog)

  31. Lorrie Wenzler says:

    Those chick are getting big and are so cute.

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