Sunday, 9 November 2014

Happy chickens - our quest to buy higher welfare eggs

by Lisa

Irma's happy chooks eating food scraps.

Geoff and I are on a quest to choose higher welfare eggs. This is what we found out:
  • avoid the cage
  • think like a chicken
  • choose certified.

Avoid the cage

We avoid eggs laid by hens in cages. That bit is easy!

Think like a chicken

Chickens have natural behaviours, such as dust bathing, perching, stretching and flapping their wings and laying their eggs in private. Some choices may mean they are not able to use these behaviours or fulfill these natural instincts.

They naturally like to be free range… but we found there is more to it!

Choose certified

We found there is no legal definition of the term ‘free-range’ in Western Australia, so standards can vary dramatically.

Choose certified free range, organic, bio-dynamic or barn laid eggs, so you will be sure what you are buying. These eggs are produced with no more than 1,500 hens per hectare (or no more than 2,500 hens per hectare in some circumstances).

The stocking densities could be a lot higher if the eggs are not certified (e.g. 20,000 hens per hectare!). We looked into this further - Choice has a campaign for better labelling.

Some local uncertified egg farms have sold cage eggs in free range egg cartons and they are being investigated by the ACCC1. We used to buy these “free range” eggs because they were local - but now we know better.

The word ‘organic’ on an egg carton can sometimes mislead people to think the welfare of hens meets certified organic standards - when it may only mean that hens in barns are fed organic grains. We are now really careful to avoid being misled and always check the certification.

Advice from Choice Magazine: “If you want to ensure that the free range eggs you buy meet your expectations:
  • look for certification logos and inform yourself about the free range standards behind the certifying bodies”… and
  • “check the packaging or producer websites of the eggs you buy for information about their standards.” 2
Some examples of certified free range, organic or barn laid eggs currently sold in Mt Hawthorn and Leederville are summarised in Table 1. The table does not include brands that also sell cage eggs.


Where can I find further information?

Choice explains the issues here.

The requirements of the certifying bodies are summarised by:
This fun You Tube video sums it up perfectly.

Conclusion

We avoid the cage, think like a chicken and choose certified to ensure we are buying higher welfare eggs. We are going to do this whenever we buy eggs.
Now stay tuned for news on our Urban Chicken Network. Another way to find higher welfare eggs is to care for the chickens at home - and they can use our food scraps too!

Notes

1 A recent example is the Swan Valley Egg Farm (Snowdale Holdings), which is not accredited and is being investigated by the ACCC. They also own Eggs by Ellah. See Swan Valley Egg Farm, ACCC Institutes proceedings against free range egg producers and ACCC crackdown on free range egg definition.

2 Choice 2014, Free range eggs. Cited on 27 August 2014. Certified free range and barn laid eggs from Golden Egg Farms, Sunny Queen, McLean's Run (owned by Sunny Queen), Pace and Kalbarri Eggs were ruled out because they also sell cage eggs. See Shop Ethical! and the Egg Corporation.

2 comments:

  1. awful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend vimal, mumbai,i have read atleast 3 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a million once again, Regards, cornish hen recipe



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  2. للحصول علي خدمة نظافة جيدة تاكد انك تتعامل مع شركة تنظيف بالرياض لديها باع طويل في مجال النظافة العامة فتعاملك مع شركة متميزة فانك ستحصل علي اد اء متميزة فشركات النظافة عديدة فمثلا عندما تبحث عن شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض ستلاقيي شركة ركن البيت التي تمتلك امكانيات جيدة في اداء الخدمات المنزلية الجيدة بادوات حديثة ومواد مستوردة تقوم باستعمالها فمعك ايضا شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض اتي تقوم باداء جيدة لتسليمك خزان تمتلك به مياه نظيفة خالية من الرواسب والبكتريا كما سنمدك باعمال شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض التي تعطيك كل الامكانيات في امتلاك مسبح نظيف يحافظ علي اسرتك واطفالك بدون وجود اي اوساخ به ونقدم لكم الخدمة الخاصة بالمنازل والبيوت الصغيرة من خلال البحث عن شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض التي تستطيع ان تحل لك كل مشاكل التنظيف المنزلي المتعبة التي تعاني منها واليكم خدمة القضاء علي الحشرات بواسطة مبيدات عالية الجودة تقوم بالقضاء علي جميع الحشرات الصغيرة والكبيرة بواسطة شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض التي تقضي علي جميع الحشرات

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