Keep chickens in cages where they belong
I read that our legislators are considering mandating that all eggs sold here must be produced by cage-free hens. The work load in the Capitol must be leaving them with plenty of time for trivia. This is more important than our economy or health?
I read that at least one legislator, from Gilbert, objects.
Prior to reaching the age when I could join the Army during WWII, I worked on a chicken farm. At that time, all chickens were cage-free.
Those birds will eat anything, including animal excrement and that from other chickens. Since the food value of eggs depends on what the hen ingests, there was no control over egg quality or contamination.
The University of Connecticut had a chicken research facility at Storrs. That lab tried to educate farmers that egg quality was dependent on what chickens consumed.
The lab was able to produce eggs with green yolks through a specially formulated chicken mash.
In order to control what chickens consumed, they needed to be essentially isolated from an open environment, i.e., cages.
This step also limited the spread of disease through a flock. This step also produced eggs that were cleaner and more uniformly sanitary. Under the old open range method, we spent much time [collecting] eggs by hand.
They looked cleaner, but were not really sanitary. To this day, I will not eat free-range eggs. There is no control over what those hens consume.
I am not interested in being served chicken manure just because that egg comes from a happy hen! My hat is off to the legislator who objects to this irresponsible proposal.