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Hormonal implants to stop egg production

 
pollinator
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A vegan on facebook is trying to convince me that eggs are unethical and that egg production leads to all kinds of chicken illnesses, diseases, or maladays, including ovarian cancer.

She says that someone who is compassionate toward chickens and rescues them from slaughter isn't TRUELY rescuing them unless they are also giving the chicken a hormonal implant to prevent them from laying eggs for maybe 6 months or so, to give them a rest.

She says further that chickens are not "meant" to lay eggs on a daily (or near-daily) cycle, but should only lay one clutch (I presume she means annually, not in the lifetime of the chicken), and modern chickens only lay they way they do due to selectively overbreeding to maximize egg production.

The hormone is called Suprelorin, or Virbac, or possibly Suprelorin Virbac.

Does anyone know anything about any of this? I couldn't find any results in the forum search.

Although I find myself in much disagreement with both the premise and the conclusion, I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I don't know how I feel about "needing" to provide a supplement to stop hens from laying. It sounds very anti-nature to me.
 
gardener
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I agree with you Chad as I have much disagreement with both the premise and the conclusion of such an idea. In my opinion, those who are truly compassionate about chickens need only provide a safe coop and lots of grass and sunshine to let chickens be chickens.
 
pollinator
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#1 Your friend is wrong, wild Red Junglefowl lay 200-300 eggs per year, many domestic chicken breeds lay fewer than that, and very few lay more.
#2 Ethics are personal, feel free to ignore any ethical claims that don't agree with your personal ethics.
#3 Of course domestic chickens are 'unnatural', they have undergone thousands of years of selective breading.  Selective breeding (in breeding) tends to lead to genetic defects, this has nothing to do with how many eggs a hen lays.  Giving artificial hormones to domestic chickens doesn't make them more "natural, quite the opposite.

If people didn't raise chickens for meat && eggs, those chickens wouldn't exist.  Chickens generally live a pretty nice life, food and water provided for them, protected from predators, etc.

If the fact that chickens have been bred to fit a specific role bothers you, you might consider raising an older 'heritage' species that is less specific, or dual purpose chickens that are broody and let them breed as they choose.
Araucana perhaps, they only lay about 130 (blue) eggs per year, or perhaps an Australorp,  Brahman, Orpington , or Barred Rock.

Or you could go all out and raise Red Junglefowl, the progenitor of chickens.  They are available for sale:
https://www.cacklehatchery.com/red-junglefowl.html
 
pollinator
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James Freyr wrote:I agree with you Chad as I have much disagreement with both the premise and the conclusion of such an idea. In my opinion, those who are truly compassionate about chickens need only provide a safe coop and lots of grass and sunshine to let chickens be chickens.



Yep.  Chickens take care of their own "rest period" in winter.  As long as they have clean water, access to good food, and a dry place to shelter, chickens are good to go.  The idea that pumping them full of some hormone is in the best interest to the chicken is a very odd idea to me.  Anyway, how is she qualified to say what is best for the chicken?
 
Chad Sentman
pollinator
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Todd Parr wrote:Anyway, how is she qualified to say what is best for the chicken?



My best guess? Hubris.
 
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