Breeding a Better Chicken
While many conscientious eaters go out of their way to purchase pasture-raised eggs laid by happy chickens, it’s a little-known fact that almost all eggs have a hidden cost: millions of baby male chicks are killed each year at the hatcheries which raise egg-laying hens. Even humane, organic egg producers are reliant on these large hatcheries.
“It’s a dirty little secret, isn’t it?” says farmer Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm in Dixon, California, who has ordered thousands of Production Red chicks each year for his diversified organic farm. “Many customers have asked me about this practice, and I’ve been very truthful with them,” he says. “I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, but I wasn’t able to find a good solution until now.”