I wasn't going to write a blog today. I was super busy and I am just in no mood to open my soul to anyone. Then I went on Twitter today and Ryan Gosling got my tail feathers up. No not that way, I saw a story that Ryan Gosling is encouraging Costco to sell Cage Free Chickens. Well this sent me on a rant so I decide it is time for me to educate Dear, sweet Ryan Gosling and those of you who manage to get through this blog. Ready?
Ryan Gosling is apparently of the opinion that Cage Free chickens are so much happier then conventional raised chickens. Those are the chickens raised in cages one top of the other. They may be a little happier but not much. You probably have this image in your head of chickens who are raised cage free running around a barnyard just as happy as can be while Farmer Brown is milking the cows and pink pigs are oinking. Yeah, that isn't happening. Chickens raised cage free are likely raised in a very large open barn with about a foot of space per chicken and likely never actually go outside. Sad isn't it?
What about Free Range Chickens, you ask? I am so glad you asked. Free Range chickens are allowed outside but for how long? Some of the information I have read says they are suppose to have at minimum an hour a day out of doors to be called Free Range but I have seen others explain that nobody really knows how much time qualifies them to be considered Free Range. Here is the kicker, there is no requirement that any of that time outside actually requires grass or dirt meaning they could be on concrete the whole time. In Texas or anywhere really hot, that means 100 plus degree concrete and you can fry eggs on that stuff.
So you know all those Organic, Cage Free eggs you probably have been shelling out about twice the money for thinking you are getting eggs from happy chickens? Sorry to break it to you but unless they say the chickens were "Pasture Raised" the chickens are not happily dancing around the yard all day running around like crazy, eating bugs and being...well chickens, like the chickens that are pasture raised.
I love my chickens and I love watching them play and run and be...chickens. I can't imagine the poor things caged or even stuck in a barn with a foot of space not able to move. It is cruel. My chickens have a big backyard, a deck to hide under for shade, trees to run around and dirt and grass to dig in. We give them treats and those spoiled little brats hear me say "Chick, Chick, Chick and they come running because they know I have watermelon, cherries, bread, bananas or something delicious for them to nibble on. Some of them will even eat out of my hand. Most of them have tried to eat my toes. All of them have names. Not one has laid an egg for me yet. I have laughed at them, worried about them, and been completely disgusted at the things I have seen them fighting over eating. They are chickens acting like chickens are suppose to act.
So in conclusion, Ryan Gosling's heart may be in the right place but his knowledge of chickens is really lacking. It's okay because he isn't the only one. My chickens are happy and they are running around from 6am until 8:30pm every day, eating totally weird and icky things all day. That's what they are suppose to do.