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How many eggs does a hen lay each year? Well, that depends…

Here is a brief history of the journey of egg-laying hens, from natural conditions to current industrialised factory farming.

1. In nature: Hens in the wild lay approximately 12 eggs per year, in the spring. In this time they build a concealed nest, lay their eggs there and hatch them, nurturing the hatched chicks up until independence. In rare cases, wild hens will go through a second offspring cycle, laying another approximately 12 eggs in the summer.

2. In traditional farms: 2,000 years ago, domesticated chickens were documented to lay up to 60 eggs per year. Many generation later, around 100 years ago after thousands of years of consistent genetic ‘enhancement’, hens laid roughly 120 eggs each year, over both spring and summer. In autumn and winter egg-laying would cease, allowing for vital biological regeneration for the reproductive system - thus still retaining strong similarity with the natural reproductive cycle.

3. Industrial chicken coops: Today, hens are forced to lay eggs at a breakneck pace, of over 300 per year - almost one every day! The rate of egg-laying has been intensified largely through aggressive genetic modification, however also through the manipulation of light - a process designed to speed up the period of cessation in between egg-laying and regeneration, during which the hens are starved for 10-14 days and the coop is darkened. In this way, poultry farmers are able to significantly reduce the period in which hens do not lay eggs (a.k.a. the ‘autumn’ and ‘winter’) - and thus save expenses on food and electricity.
The consequences of such modern egg-laying factories are catastrophic for the hens, and include injured ovipositors, broken legs (largely due to the eggshell production rate that exceeds the hen’s nutrient intake rate), and accelerated ageing (which often results in slaughter at a young age).

"(Génesis 1:26-27) Y dijo Dios: `Hagamos al hombre a nuestra imagen, conforme a nuestra semejanza; y ejerza dominio sobre los peces del mar, sobre las aves del cielo, sobre los ganados, sobre toda la tierra, y sobre todo reptil que se arrastra sobre la tierra.´ (27) Creó, pues, Dios al hombre a imagen suya, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó."

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