the chook and the quoll

I haven’t eaten eggs for a while because really, per mouthful, there’s as much misery in an egg laid by a battery hen as there is in a slab of steak fresh from an Indonesian abbatoir. And I don’t really trust the free range branded ones either. Sure they might get to run around in a yard for a few hours a day but they still have their beaks cut off. And the website does say that they cut their beaks off when they are chicks so the nerves aren’t as sensitive so it doesn’t hurt them. But, hmmmmm.

I’m hoping to go to the farmers markets tomorrow and talk to the Happy Hen man to find out just how happy his hens are and if they’re still wearing their beaks. I did have some eggs about a month ago. A friend I met at TAFE gave me half a dozen and they really did come from happy hens. Her hens run around all day in the paddock with the horses then sleep on her daughters bed at night. Her daughter dresses them up as well. I’m not sure how happy they are about that part. It was funny because I hadn’t had an egg for so long that it kind of upset my stomach when I had one. Rich little suckers they are.

So I’ve had Daz on a mission to find some real eggs for me. He’s driving around the countryside all the time so I told him to be on the look out for signs in driveways saying eggs for sale. And he found some!! But he knows I won’t eat them unless he goes in and inspects the hens and can see for himself that they are happy and fully beaked. This woman probably thought he was doing under cover investigations of some sort. But yes they have their beaks, and yes they just run around the farm all day, and yes when you buy a dozen eggs they come with feathers and shit on them and they’re all different sizes. Because I always find that a litle disturbing, when you open a carton of eggs and they’re all exactly the same size. Like clones.

And she only charges $4.00 a dozen. I couldn’t believe it. I pay $6.00 per dozen for the best free range option I can get at the supermarket. (I still buy eggs for Daz and Kimba, they have been very good about the lack of meat but they draw the line at giving up eggs).

So did you get some – I said!! Did you get some for Lloyd??

Well no – he said. Because there aren’t any hens at the moment.

The quolls killed them all.


I couldn’t believe it. Just when I thought I might be having an egg on toast the bloody quolls killed all the happy hens. Not so happy anymore. And they don’t eat them, they just rip them to pieces.

But she showed him her new little chicks that will one day lay me some lovely free range, shit covered, odd sized eggs. I hope she’s fixed her fences.

Oh, quolls, they’re a little Australian marsupial. A carnivore marsupial.

12 thoughts on “the chook and the quoll

  1. errrrr I’d never heard of a quoll before. Yet another odd lil Australian animal! There was some comedy Robin Williams did a long time ago about how God was high when he got around to making some of the Australian animals, or at least the platypus. oh here: Just the platypus.
    ANYway, that is sad about the hens! And good for you for being so conscientious about your eggs. I just started buying them again but I’ll buy whatever. $4 a dozen is pretty good for happy beaked hen eggs. I didn’t know about the beak thing for a long time, maybe till recently or else I’d forgotten till recently.

    • Lol, wow, he looks young!

      I was telling a guy about how they de beak the hens in those places and I don’t think he believed me. I think if more people were aware of how battery hens live they’d look for free range eggs. I remember Jamie Oliver did a show once about egg farms and it was pretty graphic, I think it opened a few eyes.

  2. Aww, I’m torn by the fact quolls look so cute (and they’re endangered!) but they’re so nasty to chickens. I’m guessing they’re like large rats in your area?

    I gave up eggs because of the issues you mentioned and because it’s such a pain to find eggs from humanely-raised chickens around here. My parents however insist on buying eggs from Costco, which come in these giant cartons and which they never eat, not since my father’s heart attack 20 years ago. It seems like such a waste. I suppose I could throw them at the house of this family whose teenaged kids have been lighting firecrackers between midnight and 3:30 a.m. this past week. (It’s Independence Day weekend out here, which gives all the idiots here an excuse to blow up stuff.)

    • Well I didn’t even know we had them around here but it’s one of those things, once you start talking to people about it, everyone has a story. Turns out a couple of friends of ours have had the same thing happen. I think they’re more like a small cat.

      I found some eggs at the farmers markets yesterday. I was asking the woman about them and she said her father had rescued about thirty hens from an egg farm and then he saved a few more and now they are happy and laying eggs. And they were only $5.00 per dozen which is cheap here.

  3. They remove beaks ? Really? How do the poor things eat then? Seriously, this is the first time I hear of de-beaked hens. Nasty. Very very nasty and inhuman.
    I think I’ll think a lot before eating cakes from now on..

    • They do it because its so crowded in those cages the chooks have to live in that they peck each other and can hurt or kill each other. So rather than have less hens they take off a good slice of beak. They can still eat but I’ve spoken to a couple of people who own rescued hens and they say they can’t really forage and peck around in the dirt but they can eat from a trough or container. Once you start looking into the dairy and egg industries you can see some pretty awful things go on in there. You’ll have to make you own cakes – with happy hen, fully beaked eggs! Or eat Oreo’s – they’re vegan.

  4. I could send you eggs from my friend’s happy chickens (and they are ecstatic as far as chickens go) but they’d probably be a bit funky by the time they got there. If I ever get a fence and a safe place where the roaming marauding felines can’t get to them, I’m going to get some hens from my WandaWoman and have us some fresh-squeezed eggs.

    • They would require a solid effort with the bubble wrap for sure. I thought about getting some hens but our yard here is just too small. The council encourages it, they run classes and help you set up the pens.

  5. Definitely only free range, and crossing fingers that they are happy until I have a chance to really go in and make sure that they are happy-happy.
    I have hopes that I will be able to get my egg and fresh produce from some local farmer in the future. I don’t care if things are oddly shaped or aren’t according to size.

    • There were two people selling happy hen eggs at the farmers markets which was good. It’s nice to eat an egg without feeling guilty about it. And knowing that they are rescued hens is nice as well.

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