How to Help to Eradicate the Battery System?

First, an update on the Smallest Smallholding:

I have been flying about like a madwoman this weekend. Literally flying from room to room, inside to outside, driving around in the car with hands clutched agains the wheel and urging people to STOP DRIVING SO SLOWLY. I’m not a maniac, it’s just if I’m going somewhere, I want to get there. I’ve got a million and one projects on the go or in the pipeline, work, interviews (like buses, nothing for ages and then two come along at once), interview preparations, more work and trying to keep the house ticking over without disappearing under a sea of fluff, washing and paperwork.

I’ve been trying to get a number of jobs done at the Smallest Smallholding; nothing exciting, just a few bits of ‘groundwork’. Things like weeding out the veg plots, raking under the hedges, finishing putting up the fencing and chipping a mile-high pile of dogwood, buddleia, hawthorn and pyracantha cuttings. I’ve still got to prune the fruit trees, dig in some sort of nutrition into the veg plots before I start sowing and planting, clear and clean out the greenhouse (and pots), transfer the last of the compost heap, chainsaw down the dogwood and cut down ALL the hedging before the blackbirds start nesting. And Rich still has to make me that (berluddy!) staging.

SO much to do. I’ve found that lately I get up, go outside in my pyjamas and have a poke around. Then I get sucked into a job and can be found hafway through the morning still sporting my pyjamas and donning a rake/spade/fork/hoe. And I’m usually wearing Rich’s shoes because they’re easier to slip my feet into if I’m nipping outside. I wonder what the neighbours think.

But I digress. I’m just really keen to get through all those jobs so that in effect, I can start with a clean slate at the beginning of this growing season. And I’m running out of time!!! So to try and get it all done, the plan has been to try and get outside at least once every other day for a bare minimum of an hour. It seems to be working so far, but then the weather has been holding out. The prolonged snowy weather we had gave me a serious case of the itchy-twitchies and I’m trying to take full advantage of any dry weather we’ve got.

The chickens are doing OK so far this year – Maureen is yet to pop out an egg, despite chicken-folklore citing Valentine’s Day as the day that a hen will traditionally come back into lay. OK, we had unprecendented levels of snowfall, but let’s face it, Maureen is an ex-battery hen who is around 3 1/2 years old. That’s pretty old for an ex-batt and she’s doing remarkably well. Yoko is still very large, but seems to be getting on with things. She’s still bellowing when the mood takes her either from the cover of a hedge or shrub, or when waddling behind Maureen when she fancies a jaunt about the place.

I’m still seriously thinking of getting a few ‘spring chickens’. We had rotten luck with Cynthia, Pattie and Yoko’s health, which has made me wary of getting more ex-batts. But I can’t help but just feel like I NEED to give them a good retirement. Somehow getting ‘ordinary’ hens from a stockist would feel almost frivolous when I know that there are so many ex-batts needing a home. Champion of underdogs, me. But keeping ex-batts has made so many people around me aware of what goes on behind closed doors, and that’s something that I feel is so very very important. It means that I’m helping to influence more people to think about where they get their food from, and how they need to change their shopping habits. It’s vital that as consumers, we need to support farmers in the switch from battery or barn systems to free-range. We also need to support our small-scale local farmers too, buying locally where possible. But I think one of the main problems is getting people thinking about the ‘hidden eggs’ in cakes, biscuits, confectionary etc. In many ways that’s much more of a challenge.

So with easter upon us, and the image of chicks and hens all around, I think it’s a great time to get people thinking about the tens of millions of caged battery hens, and how they can help to eradicate this type of intensive factory farming. So I’m wondering whether my fellow bloggers would be interested in promoting some sort of ex-battery rehoming/battery egg prevention campaign on their blogs and possibly offline? Just a thought.

Oh, and incidentally, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs stil use battery eggs in their ingredients. So it’s safe to say I’ll be abstaining from them. Even though they’re really, really tasty (see my sad face here). Come on Cadbury’s, get your act together and get with the programme…


  1. Hi Lucy, I’ve been reading for blog for ages and really enjoy it.

    I’d certainly be up for putting up a web banner or something to inform people about battery eggs, especially an angle that tackled the “hidden” eggs.

    And boo to Cadbury’s… I had one the other day but that’ll be it for me now. Very much Sad Face…

    In fact, that made me think about putting something up on Facebook and Twitter… what about a series of short facts etc that people could use to spread the word? (eg about Cadbury Creme Eggs etc)

    I’d love to get some ex-batts but I don’t have anywhere for them to live while they get used to their freedom as my lot live behind electric netting in an unfenced orchard.

  2. It’s true, I’ve never thought about the ‘hidden’ battery eggs. I’ll be banning creme eggs from my house this Easter as well. I can’t bring myself to buy anything other than free range eggs now, even if I’m feeling particularly poor! I’d be willing to support some sort of anti-battery egg movement on my blog, maybe a banner or something for the sidebar? And I’m sure that my friends Jo at,and Welshpurpletree at would be interested in supporting this sort of thing as well. You could get quite a movement going!

  3. Oh ******, really? I love Cadbury’s eggs!!!! but I too will now be abstaining from them if that’s the case. Let me know your thoughts on the ‘battery egg prevention campaign’ – happy to promote anything like that over at my blog

    Just love the image of you gardening in your PJs and Rich’s shoes … that is so me. ha ha. Glad that things are busy for you and hope you are thriving on it!!! x

    PS. Writing this again as think the last comment got outed!

  4. Have you mentioned ‘hidden eggs’ previously? I think I came across the reminder recently. I was blogging on similar lines to you, yesterday. I think it would be great to stamp out battery eggs altogether. In theory most of the supermarkets have stopped selling them as eggs, but as you say they still exist in so many other products. I have been buying mayonnaise and tartar sauce with free range eggs, but couldn’t find a horseradish sauce that fitted the bill. I may end up experimenting with grated horseradish and the mayonnaise and be glad I don’t have to grate the horseradish myself.

    If we made more ourselves instead of buying the ready made option, and cakes are easy enough, we could always choose free range eggs or even our own hen’s eggs.

  5. Count us in Lucy. We chip away at the issue alot on our blog, hoping that it might fall into the laps of people who are willing to change their shopping habits. And of course there is our forum which helps to educate and rehome a few poor ladies.

  6. I think it is true of most products with eggs as an ingredient. There are very few that use free range.

    I think everyone needs to just NEVER buy battery eggs or keep their own Chickens. We don’t have ex rescue but at least we are totally out of the cycle of trying to find free range to buy.

    It is amazing how little space you need to keep a few happy Chickens. I just wish more people would give it a try.

  7. It had never really occurred to me to check for free-range eggs in the ingredients of things, especially not Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. It’s appalling that large companies can get away with effectively hiding information like that.I’m seriously going to think twice now about buying anything which might have battery eggs in, sauces, cakes,etc. Creme Eggs are now firmly off my shopping list.

  8. Booooo – Cadburys!? Gutted. I’ve been fighting the temptation in the shops…..

    I would love to get hens, but cannot justify it – specially with 3 Beagles in the garden!! And the local fox.

    The ‘hidden’ ingredients in food really annoys me – takeaways/pre-prepared/pre packed sandwich meat – stuff with battery chickens/cows/lamb, egg produce with battery chickens, its why I’ve stopped eating pre-prepared food a few years ago, and literally try and make EVERYTHING from scratch that is meat based. Takeaway? Nope, I’ll try and make myself thanks! Phew. Nigella/Delia -budge over, I am the goddess! Ha ha. Cat x

  9. A Great Post… Please check out

    We are very interested in helping old battery hens…

  10. Have you tried adding herbs and spices to their food? I devised a mix to add to the food, and another to go in the drinking water, and NO, I’m not trying to sell it. It’s a subject that I want to cover in my own blog, but I seem to spend as much time in front of a screen, and that isn’t sustainable.



  11. Hi Again

    I finally got around to writing the article about herbs for health.
    You can find at on my blog here



  12. Thanks Deano, will take a peek.