Easter is just around the corner but hold tight before you start dyeing eggs because you should learn where they come from. This post doesn’t contain any graphic imagery, but is a quick overview of the egg retrieving process. Below, I’ve attached awesome tutorials for decorating fake eggs instead of real ones, which let’s face it, are messy and fragile anyways!
The life of an egg-laying chicken in the U.S. usually lasts about 12-18 months and the hen produces up to 450 eggs in that time. Chicks are delivered to producers within two days of hatching and are placed in typical layer pens, or a pullet house, where their beaks are trimmed in the first week and they are moved to layer pens after 10-15 weeks. The hens’ diet is manipulated at about 18 weeks of age to support egg production and reaches peak production at about 30-32 weeks of age, which continues to decrease afterwards. Once they’ve reached about 50% production, producers will force molt the flock of hens, meaning they will stop feeding for 7-14 days so the hens will stop producing and rejuvenate their reproductive systems in order to produce more eggs. Natural molting happens for chickens in the fall, when they regrow all of their feathers and cease production. The hens drop lots of weight at this time and sometimes die. Some producers even opt for a second round of forced molting after they decrease in production once again. When a hen is done producing altogether, she is sent to a spent hen facility where she is slaughtered. At these facilities, the hens are attached to a machine, hung upside-down by their feet, where their throats are slit and they are then put into a scalding tank, where their feathers are removed. What is really sad, is some of the hens miss the knife and go into the tank still alive.
This is the average process of the egg industry, but obviously varies from producer to producer, and definitely local farmers. There are cage-free eggs, but those hens are still being forced to produce more eggs than they should be able to and then sent to be slaughtered later on. Obviously, if you get your eggs from a local farmer these inhumane practices are probably not in use, but why bother wasting eggs to decorate with?
So this Easter, head to the dollar store and grab plastic, wooden, or craft eggs to decorate with paint, mod podge, or glitter. Here are some fun and cruelty-free ways to make Easter eggs that are just as beautiful! (Click image for link to tutorial)