Wednesday, September 2, 2009

National Chicken Month

Apparently yesterday was the beginning of National Chicken Month. This conceit of "the chicken industry" encourages retailers to promote sales of chicken meat and eggs by using the National Chicken Month logo, and also by providing recipes at the point of sale. Nowhere in the online literature could I find a reference to the health benefits of growing your own. I don't need to say that there wasn't a mention anywhere of the completely appalling conditions that factory chickens are subjected to, or any suggestion that they might be improved.

So I'm just going to celebrate National Chicken Month in my own way. Yesterday we had that amazing lunch of grass-fed, organic chicken from an actual farm, and meanwhile my own girls are loving life. Jane and Lana still aren't laying yet, but they've become a lot easier to get along with since their wings were clipped. Doris and Lucy are laying almost every day, and enjoying the times when we let them out to range all over the yard. It makes me ridiculously happy to see my hens with their big feathery bustles, happily scratching up the dirt for bugs and pecking at the grass. They go crazy for bruised peach slices, tomato skins, and other kitchen scraps. They even love cheese and their own eggshells. When I have a treat for them I only have to call, "Heeeere chickchickchick" and they run to me as fast as their funny legs will carry them.

Then I remember the chickens in the factory farm in Food, Inc. and my heart aches. The laying hen has the worst life of any animal in the factory system, worse even than the cows in CAFO's who stand knee-deep in their own waste eating food that makes them sick. It's no wonder their eggs taste terrible and have no nutritional value.

So forget about the industry's "National Chicken Month," and instead take this opportunity to seek out some real chicken, real eggs. Support the home growers and the small farms. They're near you, wherever you are, just an internet search away.

And in the meantime, enjoy this terrific video on backyard chickens from the Today Show!

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