Some Brief Chicken Chat


December 18, 2012

Care of Bonnie Shulman

 A rooster at Riverdale Farm care of Bonnie Shulman

The world treats chickens as commodities, their wings to be nibbled with beer, but watch these flightless birds living freely on a farm sanctuary, and you might never want to eat one again.

Chickens enjoy living together in small flocks, sunning, dustbathing, and scratching in the soil for food. A mother hen will fiercely protect her young brood, while the rooster proudly keeps watch over the flock. He alerts the hens if he senses danger, and when he finds a tasty morsel for his family to share, he calls them excitedly.
Most surprising, perhaps, to the person who has never seen a live chicken, is their intense beauty, their feisty personality and their clear love of life. They are charming and endearing. Once you’ve watched chickens living joyfully and in peace, you will never be able to watch those Swiss Chalet commercials on TV again. You know — where a happy family eagerly anticipates dinner while behind them, bodies of broiler chickens turn on a flaming spit.
According to the United Poultry Concerns,, a non-profit group promoting the humane treatment of domestic fowl, “every year, 9 billion baby chickens are raised and killed for food in the U.S. During their 45 days of life, these “broiler” chickens live in semi-darkness on manure-soaked wood shavings, unchanged through several flocks of 30,000 or more birds in a single shed. Excretory ammonia fumes often become so strong that the birds develop a blinding disease so painful they rub their hurting eyes with their wings and cry in pain.”

There are many plant-based alternatives to chicken. Read the Veggie challenge stories on and find out how others came to spare the fowl and feast on the faux!

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