Chicken Issues–Housing, Sex, and Attitude

According to a recent Feedstuffs article, Denny’s–one of America’s largest full-service restaurant chains–says it will commit to sourcing and serving 100% cage-free eggs in all of its U.S. restaurants by 2026. Denny’s is the first within the family dining segment to commit to 100% cage-free eggs.
Due to pressure from consumers and new laws, the chicken industry is changing. Many food outlets want to advertise as cage-free, and other terms such as free-range, organic, natural, and hormone-free enter the lexicon battle. These terms can be misunderstood and misused—the Internet features a running debate about cage sizes, production techniques, and other issues in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the consumer.
Three past CAST blogs featured information about issues and practices—mainly focused on the backyard chicken phenomenon. For more articles and insights, go to the complete blogs linked to in these three excerpts:
Backyard Chickens and a Sex Problem 
Some accuse so-called hipsters of buying into the backyard chicken trend until they get disillusioned, often dumping the chickens when fresh eggs don’t magically appear. A recent article analyzes the situation, and sure enough—the problem boils down to a matter of sex. When urban farmers order hens for their new Green Acres pursuit, they sometimes receive a certain amount of roosters with the shipment. As you might expect, the males generally make a lot of noise and bother the productive females. They don’t even taste very good. Apparently, sexual misidentification is hurting this backyard chicken movement.
Which Came First? Backyard Chickens or Varied Reasons for Having Them?
Backyard chickens are the rage for various reasons—fresh eggs, homegrown meat, and family projects. My sister and her husband recently built a sturdy coop on their farm and stocked it with twenty chickens, but in their case, the reasons are more complicated—dealing with kids, dogs, and a grade-school smoking habit.
The Ugliest Rooster in the World
For several mornings in a row, the ugliest rooster ever born started up his cockadoodledoos at 5:00 a.m. outside our bedroom window, and by the fourth sunrise performance, I’d had enough. I hopped out of bed, ran through the back porch, grabbed a pitchfork that was leaning next to the door (really—this was Grant Wood territory—you had to have a pitchfork ready in case of emergency), and acting like a man possessed, I went after the rooster. He was ugly but not dumb. Within seconds, he wiggled his way deep into a wood pile thirty feet from our house, and even though I stabbed and probed, he won. His pathetic whining made me think I had possibly pricked his feathers a bit, but I gave up, and walked back in to a deserved assessment of my performance from my wife. “You looked pretty manly in your tighty-whiteys and carrying a pitchfork. I was actually pulling for the bird.”
by dan gogerty  (top pic from dailygreen.jpg and bottom pic from

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