Chickens bred for their flesh have been selectively bred to grow very large, very quickly so that they can be killed at seven weeks old. This quick turnaround time increases industry profits of course. These baby chicks will never meet their mothers but will live in noisy, overcrowded, foul smelling warehouses. At seven weeks, still only able to peep, they are piled into crates, often breaking legs and necks in transit, without food or water, to be sent to slaughterhouses. There are no laws governing how chickens can be killed so any method is legal, including clubbing, stomping, and kicking. The industry justifies this by saying it’s the most cost-effective method available.
Chickens raised as “laying hens” are female chickens who have been selectively bred to lay hundreds of eggs per year. For comparison, their ancestors laid 12 to 20 eggs a year. Chickens raised to lay eggs are killed by the age of three because their bodies are simply worn out by this unnatural process. They spend their entire lives crammed five to seven birds in small wire cages that pull out their feathers and cut their feet. At a few days old these female baby chicks have their beaks cut or seared off without pain relief of any kind.
When eggs are fertilized to replace the “spent” hens with new hens, one of every two eggs is born a male who will grow into a rooster. Since a rooster can’t lay eggs and won’t grow large enough to be sold for his flesh, he is useless to the industry and is killed at birth. Male chicks are ground up alive or slowly suffocated in plastic garbage bags. Remember, there are no laws governing how chickens or any other “poultry” are killed.
Rescued chickens enjoy being together in small flocks, sunning, dustbathing, and scratching in the soil for food. They often have outgoing personalities and can live happily with humans, dogs, cats, and rabbits.