Born into a life of misery: At the hatchery, chicks enter this world inside drawers of huge incubators, not on a soft nest of straw, as nature intended.
Males: Because only female chickens lay eggs, the lives of male chicks have no value to an egg farmer. Unwanted male chicks struggle to survive amid egg shells and garbage in a dumpster behind a hatchery for laying hens. They are just thrown out with the trash, like and old pair of socks, seemingly worthless. Some people mistakenly think that there is no death involved in the egg business, but they are sadly mistaken. To begin with, for every laying hen there is a dead male chick. At some hatcheries, if the males are not thrown away, they are ground up alive, mixed with grain and fed to the females.
Debeaking: The sensitive beak is cut off with the hot knife of the debeaking machine. This is extremely painful, the beak has many nerves in it. When chickens are so crowded together, they irritate one another, just as we would under similar living conditions. Chickens respond to such irritation by pecking the other bird. In natural living conditions, the offending bird would just move away; but in cages, they can't, so these "farmers" cut off the end of their beaks to minimize the injuries. Sometimes in the process, the end of the chicken's tongue is also cut off.
Cages: Egg laying hens are packed into 'battery cages' which are lined up in rows in huge factory warehouses. They are left in these cages for up to two years. There is not enough room to turn around or sit down comfortably. Because of the squalid conditions, many diseases infect the chickens, who are left, dieing in pain, with no medical care. By constantly rubbing against their wire cages, egg laying hens suffer from severe feather loss, leaving exposed, raw skin, making them even more prone to disease. Practically all egg laying chickens in the North America live in crowded, wire battery cages which are lined up in rows and stacked in tiers. The floors of the cages are simply wire. Because the chickens spend their lives in the cages, their feet grow painfully deformed and twisted. Also due to the improper flooring, urine and excrement from each cage falls into the one below, the chickens on the bottom row living, not only in her own filth, but the others' above her, as well.
"Battery Chickens" Photo Page