There is a link between forced molting and Salmonella enteritidis bacterial poisoning of force-molted hens, their eggs, and the consumers and handlers of eggs and egg products. (Hens’ immune systems break down under the strain of starvation causing severe bacterial infections in their ovaries and other vital organs.) Molting refers to the replacement in birds of old feathers with new ones. In nature, birds replace all of their feathers in the course of a year. A natural molt occurs most often and obviously near the onset of winter in response to the shortening hours of sunlight. At this time the hen lays fewer or no eggs, devoting her energies instead to staying warm and renewing her plumage, calcium, muscles and fatty tissues for the cold months ahead. The egg industry exploits this natural process by forcing an entire flock to molt simultaneously. Deprived of food and essential nutrients, the hens stop laying eggs, and their feathers fall out. This is done through starvation or food deprivation for as long as it takes for the flock to lose 15-20% of their body weight. This is not a time when force-molted chickens are able to develop those reserves and new feathers. Unlike force-molted hens, chickens molting naturally do not stop eating, they are not traumatized, and they do not become sick with Salmonella infections the way force-molted hens do. Forced molting is based on the desires of egg producers, rather than being a natural response of the hen’s body to the season of the year. OUR HENS ARE FREE FED EVERY DAY YEAR ROUND. WE DO NOT FORCE THEM TO MOLT. THERE IS A LOWER RISK OF SALMONELLA FROM OUR EGGS THAN ANY COMMERCIAL PRODUCER FOR THIS REASON.
Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!!!