Sunday, 23 October 2011
Cruelty Free Feathers
A 3 week old chick It has decided the barrier to help keep them warm is no problem to get over
Cruelty free has become quite the buzz word in the feather jewelery trade. The term cruelty free was first used within the cosmetics industry to say that their products were not tested on animals.
Animals have been used as test subjects from everything from house hold cleaners shampoo and pesticides. To determining how much of something is lethal LD50.
Now we know that birds are raised primarily for three things. To eat to lay eggs or as ornamentals.
Birds we eat regularly chicken and turkeys ducks geese pheasants.
We get eggs from chickens and ducks primarily ( I know most people who read this will have never have had eaten a duck egg )
Ornamental birds kept in large outdoor aviaries include peacocks guinea fowl pheasants etc.
As well as parrots parakeet’s cockatoo’s finch’s buggies etc.
So let’s take a brief look how the main birds used for feathers are raised.
Hens for egg production are kept in 3 basic ways.
1/ Free range birds have complete accesses to outside fresh air greens and bugs.
Sometimes also referred to range confinement birds have a house that they are locked in at night and the range area is fenced to protect the birds from predators there are lots of things that want to eat my birds L
2/ Free Run birds are housed in buildings on litter and have no accesses to outside
3/ Battery birds are kept in cages with automatic waterer's and feeders eggs roll away to be collected.
Chickens raised for meat are basically 2 types
1 Commercial broilers as there name implies these birds are bread for one thing to eat and gain weight fast. They grow so fast they are normally harvested at 8 weeks.
They are raised in very confined cramped spaces on the floor. They grow so fast and so big their legs often cannot support their own weight at harvest time.
These are the ones you buy in the store.
these are straight run chicks hatched by me 3 weeks old If you are wondering why the red glow its from the heat lamp and the red color discourages the young birds from pecking at each other
2/ Roosters raised from dual purpose breeds. These are older varieties of chickens that the males (cocks) get to be a good size to eat.
When the grower or farmer raises straight run chicks (mixed hens and cocks) the males are raised with the hens sometimes but not always separated at about the 8 week mark. They are normally harvested at around 12 to 20 weeks depending on breed they often have free range accesses to the outdoors as well.
Some of us use the feathers from our harvested cocks.
a Plymouth barred rock rooster with part of his harem yes ladies he is where grizzly and chinchilla feathers come from
Roosters raised for feathers.
The roosters raised for their long showy saddle feathers have been around for a long time and due to selective breeding practices they produce longer and thinner saddle feathers.
These roosters as you can imagine are well cared for as you can imagine to protect their valuable feathers.
So for rooster and chicken feathers what is cruelty free?
My own opinion
1 Naturally moulted feathers collected from the flock.
This is Russel our dorking rooster as you can see by the photo hes looking a little ragged
he has molted out his tail feathers which are now slowly coming back
2 Trimmings from wing feathers yes chickens can and do fly.( I know some will have a problem with trimming birds wings) it does not hurt them and is the same as getting your hair cut. to stop them from flying out of their enclosure, as the minks and the raccoons would love to have a chicken dinner
3 feathers collected from duel purpose birds during processing.
Making the most use of the whole bird they way your great great grandparents would have.
4 Feathers from commercially raised roosters that are just raised for their feathers.
However I would not label this cruelty free because one cannot personally vouch for the manner in which they were raised. Without visiting the farm.
Next instalment pheasants peacocks ducks geese caged birds