On a recent trip to the grocery store, I noticed a new brand of eggs on the shelf. “Comfort Coop” eggs. The label read, “More space to stretch, perch, groom and nest.” The fact that someone is promoting that they give their hens all the room they need to stretch, perch, groom and nest – that they are actually given enough room to flap their wings, instead of being jammed in a tiny cage so small where they cannot move, flap, groom—or nest, naturally—turned up my internal temperature a few degrees, I’ll tell you. Are we supposed to read that and think, Oh, my, how wonderful that these “comfort coop” eggs are coming from chickens that are treated with TLC and actually allowed to MOVE around an inch or two. Their website is even equipped with video cameras so you can watch the chickens as they move about in their Oh-so-spacious (right) quarters.
Please! Whatever happened to chickens that are OUT OF THE CAGE altogether, roaming around the barnyard, stretching, grooming, strutting their stuff as they pluck worms and bugs from the ground and poke about in the remnants of last year’s garden? How do you think chickens “groom” anyway? By taking baths in dirt! Read this quote from a local chicken farm: Hens love to give themselves dust baths. When it is warm outside, your hens will look for a new place and scratch down until they reach nice, fine dirt. They’ll flop onto their backs, close their eyes and just roll around. They get the dirt way down into their feathers until it reaches their skin. When they are done, they’ll shake it all off and feel fresh and clean. Now, can you tell me how these “comfort coop” hens are going to do that living their lives in a tiny metal cage? Hens are about the easiest and most care-free animals to keep and they seriously require no care aside from a little corn, a nesting box full of straw and a source of water. These “comfort coop” eggs and the message they send to the consumer is just another way of trying to get over by making their product—and their methods—sound better than the rest. Get together with a friend, build a little chicken coop – and make your coop one that chickens can truly live in the way God intended.