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April 1, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Chicken shift.

Foghorn Leghorn and lightning strike PD short film "Crowing Pains." Warner Bros./USPD:, cr not renewed/

“Holy chicken.” (Foghorn Leghorn.1947″Crowing Pains” Warner Bros/USPD/

Vegetarians may have to help me out here, but I’m pretty sure there’s no place in the Good Book that says “Through a chicken, thou shall know me.”

They talk about “on a wing and a prayer”, but that was strictly Hollywood.

These days, best chicken out.

If dwarf-tossing is frowned upon, it’s probably foul to do the same with chicks (no matter how cute).

The Christian group’s Youth Leader had lofting ideas, but tossing a chicken around the room as a team building exercise isn’t flying right with animal activists or the general public.

Bound to be a more humane, less messy way to teach how to trust or depend on others to step up and do the right thing. Everyone knows someone will drop the ball, uh, chicken.

Saying “Oh, no harm intended. The chickens weren’t hurt and are back on the farm now” is a little like saying “On, the shark is only tasting you.” No intent, no harm? Unwilling to admit the obvious.

Sylvester the Cat and Foghorn Leghorn. 1947"Crowing Pains". Looney Tunes:Warner Bros./(

“Fight for our rights? Have you not noticed we are chicken?” (USPD/

Obviously, while some are cagey about what is really going on, there may be a grain of truth in the Massachusetts legislators’ concerns farm animals.

The proposed measure which would affect conditions for hens, pigs, and veal calves, started with a petition of 95,817 certified supporters, so legislators are shuffling their feet.

Small farmers say their caging of hens is humane, prevents them from attacking each other, and keeps egg prices low.

Others (supported by animal activists in Washington D.C.) say stacking chickens in small cages over one another, having the birds balance on chicken wire floors, and never letting hens stretch their wings is cruel.

You decide.

Watch this video of farmer Peter Diemand talking with a reporter as they stroll among cages of chickens on Wendell farm which has been in operation since 1935.

Barnyard Dawg or George P. Dog talking to an egg.. 1947"Crowing Pains"Looney Tunes/Warner Bros./USPD:, cr not renewed/

“A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even knowing you are slightly cracked. (USPD/

It’s true consumers can crack open an industry with their purchasing choices.

Grocery stores offer a range of eggs from free range chickens, cage free chickens, vegetarian fed chickens,  little chickens free (of hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products feed) or the cheaper cartons from factory/large farms (which could be barns with rows of stacked cages or big open barns full of chickens walking around the floor – maybe in “daylight” 24 hours a day.). Will the proposal limit consumer choices?

Some 300,000 laying hens in Massachusetts are laying low and paying close attention. Other states, too.

Sally Strand parody of Sally Rand. "Hollywood Steps Out." (USDP:, cr not renewed/

Chick or the egg? You’ve been waiting for that. (USPD/

Want to really know where your food comes from?

How about eating backyard-to-table instead of farm-to-table? Give a cluck for Christmas or birthdays even.

Here’s something to get you started. VIDEO: “How to start raising chickens at Home”

Painting of chickens and children in a yard, 1865. Albert Anker, 1831-1920./USPD. artist life/

Oh, don’t fool yourself. They all promise this, but you know who ends up doing all the work.(USPD/

Chicken? Thought so.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge





  1. shoreacres / Apr 1 2016 6:57 am

    Even buying “free range” at the grocery isn’t always the answer. I was amazed to find that “free range” could mean, “We’ve left a door open so our ten thousand chickens can go out into that itty bitty yard, if they want.” That’s not quite what most people envision. Eggs from the farmers’ market is my solution. Knowing your chicken-raiser personally eliminates a lot of problems.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 7:37 am

      Who knew you’d even have to read fine print on egg cartons? And even then who knows the truth – words are twisted so much now (pardon me while I gnash teeth about a former president for making that acceptable). The farmer’s markets are both doing so well (but not Kemah’s by the tracks which was dumb and ended up with people hauling in veggies from the grocer’s supply like the stores) As you say, best to know your chicken! (And outta here to enjoy this last of the glorious cool weather!) Thanks for dropping a comment in this nest

      Liked by 3 people

  2. easyweimaraner / Apr 1 2016 7:04 am

    after a super horrible adventure we only buy the eggs from our neighbor :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    • easyweimaraner / Apr 1 2016 7:04 am

      I mean from his chicken lol


      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 7:41 am

        The chicken must be the real voice and manager of that business. Nice you know your feathers (and don’t chase them..roosters can attack viciously – even the ordinary ones…my mom had scars on the backs of her legs from childhood chicken chores…we never had chickens because of that.)
        Thanks for flying a comment into this barn

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Jay E. / Apr 1 2016 7:08 am

    A camp near us has a game called “Chuck the Chicken” wherein opposing teams attempt to throw chickens through basketball hoops. Barry the Bouncing Bonus Bass is worth 10 points.

    Thankfully, they are rubber chickens (and fish).

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 7:44 am

      That sounds hilarious. As good as donkey basketball (try throwing a basket while trying to not fall off a wandering donkey).
      You really need to post some pictures of all that. Does that bass sing as it makes points? Or is that only the ones on the wall? Thanks for scratching the ground to find a great comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jay E. / Apr 1 2016 8:20 am

        No, it doesn’t make noise. Hundreds of rowdy campers put a beating on regular rubber, let alone electronics purposefully thrown at walls, backboards, and the floor.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 8:31 am

          OH, it’s not a little kid’s summer camp activity…competition and growing up (and technology) spoils so much. HA HA

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jay E. / Apr 1 2016 8:32 am

          Adults enjoy it, too. I have a t-shirt around here somewhere with the chicken on it.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 8:50 am

          Pictures! pictures! People need fun – and what’s more fun than a rubber chicken? We need more playtime

          Liked by 1 person

  4. betterphotos4you / Apr 1 2016 7:24 am

    Buying Locally, I agree with shoreacres, KNOW our farmer, If you are over 50, you will Remember the real eggs, that actually had real Orange yolks, and tasted good, And for Chiggen meat//Meh, trust your farmer, or, raise your own chickens, No Red meat, To many growth hormones etc..Alan, love the play on words “Chicken S…….” lol

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 7:51 am

      It’s good to buy local and know the source. A real concern is the restaurant food which you don’t have a clue where it came from. That’s probably the biggest destination for factory farm products. And eggs are used in so much. Some places make their reputation on buying local and do let you know about sources, but most?…and there’s all that chicken from China now. Aa a result many are returning home/entertaining at home where the food is cheaper and better quality….and you don’t have to wear shoes if you don’t want to. HA HA. So maybe it is eggactly perfect? Thanks for cracking a comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. D. Wallace Peach / Apr 1 2016 7:56 am

    I hate seeing the inhumane ways that animals are treated. We’re an eat-local family. All our eggs and meat is pasture-raised and if we can’t get it here, we don’t eat it. I know that isn’t an option for everyone, but as you said, most grocery stores are now offering some better choices. It doesn’t hurt to avoid the antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals either. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 8:28 am

      Growing up we rarely ate out and either ate what was from the farm/pastures (with a bit of venison from hunting) or what was frozen/canned during the summer. We begged and whined to eat fancy food at a restaurant. Now it’s all back to where we started: cooking what we can find locally fresh/ carefully sourced which is better quality than what you get eating out (and cheaper in the long run). We grew up with small herd pasture fed cows – and it does taste different. Makes sense it’s healthier, too. Sooner or later, it may be found many modern ills appeared from the change in agriculture scope. Hug your small farmers! Thanks for adding a comment of taste

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Paul / Apr 1 2016 8:43 am

    i have a question. I buy fresh chicken (local) or sometimes frozen boneless chicken (amalgamation of various chicken parts) and as such I have an idea what a chicken looks like – how big, how much meat etc. I also love KFC. When I get a KFC breast, I can eat and eat and eat and eat and then usually put 1/2 of it away for later. Just how big are KFC chickens and how come the breasts have cartilage as big as my pinky and meat as big as my thigh?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kate Crimmins / Apr 1 2016 10:51 am

    I’ve got an egg man. He has chickens running around in a huge pen happily gossiping about the rooster next door. It’s not that much more and they are tasty (the eggs, not the chickens).

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 2:14 pm

      Years ago here, there used to be egg men, milk men and even ice cream deliveries. Then came the jumbo marts with such low prices. Nobody ever thought we should have saved the local deliveries- even if you had to make sure you were home and ready when they appeared. Worth scheduling time to greet the real chicken! Thanks for scratching together a comment

      Liked by 2 people

  8. heretherebespiders / Apr 1 2016 1:32 pm

    Diemand’s farm didn’t actually look that bad. Might be cleaned up for the cameras, I suppose. The hens they showed looked perky enough, and clean.
    I’ve talked about it on my blog before, provenance. Any whole food (meat, veg) that claims to be Irish must have the name and location of the farmer on the package. Anything from another country must state where it is from. It seems a good plan – if you live in Idaho (or Ireland), why would you buy potatoes from Israel, for example? Being able to go to the farm if you do desire is a plus – now, not many of us would take up that challenge. I drive by a chicken processing plant daily and some days…it reeeeeeeeeeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 2:22 pm

      See, now that’s why I searched for that video.It’s an old family farm – and they seem to know what they are doing. It was clean and the hens were all moving around not sickly looking.
      The only thing that bothers me is the stacking of cages on top of each other. They shut puppy/act mills and breeders down for stacking like that. And if those cages are open chicken wire as it looked, those little chicken feet must be unhappy like rabbits’ in some rabbit cages. Cleaning solid cage floors would be gross and time consuming as well as creating disease potential.
      In any case, the farm looked 100 times better than some huge factory barns crammed with chickens all over the floor in 24 hours of light – and stressed out birds attacking each other…like the Tyson ones north of here…the ones with armed guards preventing anyone from coming in.
      I do like the idea of the farmer’s names on the package. Much happier to support a farming family than a monster brand.
      We’ll see which lobby group is stronger with the proposed measure in MA. (Once again, it’s all about money and politics)
      Thanks for flying in with a comment

      Liked by 2 people

      • heretherebespiders / Apr 1 2016 2:52 pm

        A chicken is not a puppy, but I do wonder about poop dropping on the lower hens. Birds do do doo doo constantly. Couldn’t quite tell if they staggered the cages backward to prevent that? I’m sure the wire doesn’t feel good – and I did have a bunny in a cage like that as a kid, and the little toe-pads poked through the mesh. It’s a good thing to point that out, I’m sure.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 1 2016 3:09 pm

          Memo to self: do not come back as a lower level chicken. HA HA.
          After a very short time, the Rex bunny (that someone other than I cave in and purchased one Easter…and it was sooo not a miniature but a giant Rex that barked. We had the only guard bunny on the block), Bunny ended up in rabbit heaven living in the 3 sided + a gate added open air atrium with all the dirt, bushes and plants any bunny could ever want…and eventually shared with a long haired guinea pig liberated from disgusting science room zoo (good idea teacher, bad implementation). They had good lives with happy toes. (and we are nuts)

          Liked by 2 people

        • heretherebespiders / Apr 1 2016 3:26 pm

          Not nuts at all – I think a barking bunny and a whistle pig are great rescues! I wish I had room for all the unloved furry and scaled ones.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 2 2016 8:23 am

          RC Cat muses that it is sensible to have a No Vacancy sign out – several in fact…we suspect she has them out in invisible ink.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Larissa Thomson / Apr 1 2016 2:43 pm

    Hi Phil, what a timely and interesting post. It breaks my heart to see/ hear how any animal can be treated so cruelly. My dad had chickens and he called them his ladies. He loved his birds.

    Some areas here in Vancouver are allowed to have backyard coops, which I think is wonderful! Unfortunately, my neighborhood / city hasn’t allowed them yet, but I’m waiting… It’ll be, “HONEY!! GET YOUR HAMMER OUT!” as soon as they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 7 2016 7:45 am

      Little Ladies is the perfect nickname for them. Some of them have those cute little pantaloons and some have lovely ruffs. And they are always dressed to impress. Small/family farmers usually respect their animals unlike the big factory farms that only see “product”. People would do better to know where they food comes from and how it lives.
      It’s been amazing locally how many readymade coops are available now. I just remember old rusty chicken wire and watching where you step. (During one visit out West TX I was excited to see that their chicken slept in trees – who knew chickens could fly that well? Practice, space, and threats must make perfect. HA HA) Modern hens seem to have demanded that they should be treated like princesses that they are. Thanks for hammering up such a great comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Larissa Thomson / Apr 7 2016 9:19 am

        In trees?!! Wow! Who knew?! Kinda reminds me of “Danny the Champion of the World” by Roald Dahl, except that those were pheasants. Have you seen the animated movie “Chicken Run”?


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 7 2016 9:36 am

          That was a funny movie. Apparently vintage/old breed chickens can and do fly – or they figured out it was fly or get chomped by coyotes. Move fun than a chicken coop.


  10. The Hook / Apr 1 2016 3:36 pm

    The title alone was worth the price of admission.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Erik / Apr 3 2016 6:47 pm

    I’m fascinated at how you find your pictures, which are always perfect. The picture of Sylvester and Foghorn is just uncanny for the topic.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 4 2016 9:32 am

      It is interesting how the world offers almost everything that anyone needs – if you’re looking. As you know, each day is the Great Adventure! Thanks for not being chicken to peek into this coop!


  12. Cynthia Reyes / Apr 4 2016 11:21 am

    Gosh, I’m really glad you got that ‘f’ in the title.


  13. roughseasinthemed / Apr 5 2016 2:53 am

    They were meant to be outlawing battery chickens in Europe but it will probably be 2050 the way Europe performs. If that.

    Our local cicken man gave us a few of his chickens. Poor things only lasted a few months, didn’t lay and couldn’t understand fresh air and space. Our oldest chickens/cockerel have been in the 8/9/10 range. Lost track of how old our cockerel is actually. Maybe more than ten.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 5 2016 11:25 am

      If they say stacking dog and cat crates is inhumane at puppy mills, but chickens? The ugliness of chicken farms and feed lots are something people don’t want to look at – too ugly. The armed guards at the chicken gates might be a clue something isn’t right? Sadly the chickens at the Young Life Christian group meeting didn’t go back to enjoy a lovely farm life. It died. They are sorry if “we did anything that brought about the premature death of the chicken.” Unclear on the concept of all living things worthy of respect.
      Your chicken sound like they were stunned by culture shock, but no doubt their last days were kinder than many have. We never had chickens growing up. My mom’s chore as a kid was to feed chickens and get the eggs. The rooster hated her…she had scars on her legs from sneak attacks. Nope. No chickens.
      Thanks for scratching up a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughseasinthemed / Apr 5 2016 12:03 pm

        Stacking reminds me of the Monty Python sketch. ‘I look down on him.’ Or rather, ‘I poo down on her.’ In fact when I was still looking at battery chicken abuse, they hadn’t graduated to that. Or if they had, it wasn’t mentioned. Merely, debeaking, declawing, no space to turn, lights on 24 hours a day for forced laying, and cheap food. They were lucky. They didn’t have some chicken pooing on them, anf chickens poo. A lot. Wasted resource too. Best source of nitrogen rich manure for the garden.

        My mum loved the chickens. Maybe they didn’t have a cockerel. Ours is a darling 🙂 A gift from Juan the gippo. Cracking cockerel.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 5 2016 12:31 pm

          Chickens do poo and it is good for gardens, lawns, and plants…so another reason letting them wander around is on a real natural farm….Not so good for your fenced own backyard or patio…some suburban moms have been a bit surprised by that. Pigeons or seagulls should have been a clue.
          Hope the new pup is doing well!

          Liked by 1 person

  14. angelswhisper2011 / Apr 6 2016 1:59 am

    *whispers* Psst…Philmouse… I can’t help it, but I Always go for the chick… 😀 Pawkisses to you all 🙂 ❤ ❤


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 6 2016 7:38 am

      It’s not their little peeps and squeaks – it’s all the lovely flapping of feathers – and those flipping tails are worth flipping over! RC Cat nods in agreement. Paw waves in thanks

      Liked by 1 person

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