Eggs with a conscience by Maree  Clarkson

W&N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm
Kiep’s nest in the chicken coop (Tarlton, Gauteng,SouthAfrica)

From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men.

~M. Frida Hartley

Free-range eggs are laid by happy hens that roam freely around outdoors in the day and snuggle up in their barn at night. They are fed a vegetarian diet of grains and pulses with no animal by-products or fish meal. You can buy them in large, extra-large and jumbo sizes.

The diet of omega-3 free-range chickens is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids are not naturally produced by the human body so it’s essential for us to include them as a part of a balanced diet. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that also protects the omega-3 fats.

Organic free-range eggs are produced in conditions regularly inspected by Ecocert, an international monitoring body, to ensure that organic farming practices are followed.

These hens feed freely on an organically certified wheat-based vegetarian diet that contains no animal by-products or fish meal. the yolks of organic eggs are naturally paler due to the wheat-based diet.

In the battery cage system (the dominant form of egg farming in the world), the hens are confined in cages with a sloping floor so that their eggs roll away in order to prevent faecal contamination of the eggs.

The cages are normally stacked on top of each other in houses with no access to natural light. The houses use various automated conveyor belt systems to bring the hens food, capture their waste and take away their eggs.

Because of the cramped conditions (sometimes less than an A4 sheet of paper per hen – for life!), alternative farming methods for eggs have increased in popularity. These include barn, free-range and organic (also free range, but with the additional requirement of organically produced feed).

“Freedom to behave naturally” (one of the 5 freedoms that all animals should receive according to the Farm Animal Welfare Council in the UK) is one of the greatest welfare concerns for the world’s egg laying chickens.

Research has shown that hens have a strong preference for laying their eggs in a nest and are highly motivated to perform nesting behaviour. Hens also show a strong preference for a littered floor both for pecking and scratching and for dust-bathing, and a preference to perch, especially at night.

Battery caging prevents all of this as the hens are kept in barren cages without perches or litter, and are so confined for most of their lives that they cannot even flap their wings.

Barn chickens are kept loose in huge warehouses. These chickens have the freedom to move about inside the barn on littered floors, and are provided with perches and nests. However space is usually quite limited. Free range systems allow hens to express natural behaviours to a much greater extent. Free range chickens have daily access to large outdoor areas. This enables them to dust bath, forage for food, flap their wings and move freely.

Organic systems are similar to free range systems but in addition the hens are fed on organic feed (grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides).

Free-range egg production in South Africa is regulated by the Agricultural Product Standards Act. Woolworths free-range egg supplier farmers are fully compliant with the regulatory requirements and the requirements for free-range production as stipulated by the South African Poultry Association. 
Taken from Woolworths TasteMag

The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but rather, “Can they suffer?”
~Jeremy Bentham

  1. 11th February 2013 – FEATURED in Image Writing
  2. 24th March 2013 – FEATURED in Artists Universe
  3. 7th April 2013 – FEATURED in Women Painters
  4. 14th July 2013 – Placed in the TOP 10 of the challenge Eiers in ’n nes / Eggs in a nest in ‘Afrikaans’ – 3rd place
  5. 14th July 2013 – FEATURED by RedBubble in EXPLORE
  6. 1st February 2014 – FEATURED in Everyday Women
  7. 8th February 2014 – FEATURED in A Place to Start

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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    LESLEY Bover 3 years ago

    WOW fantastic piece and love the information my friend, Brilliant … xox Lesley xox …

  • Oh Lesley, SO glad you like it! and thanks for that fav, much appreciated! xxx

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 3 years ago

    Ag kyk hoe mooi!! ;-) Love it!!

  • Ag, baie dankie! Vir daai fav ook, groot waardeer! xx

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Mechelep
    Mechelepover 3 years ago

    Love it….

  • Glad you like it Mechele, thanks for the fav, much appreciated!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Marsha Elliott
    Marsha Elliottover 3 years ago

    Instant fav….love the liveliness of the nest!

  • Ah, thanks for that fav Marsha, glad you like it! xx

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 3 years ago

    Terrific image, Maree! Good information, too!

  • Thanks so much Dottie!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Ercan BAYSAL
    Ercan BAYSALover 3 years ago

    Very nice work…

  • Thanks a lot Ercan!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • WoolleyWorld
    WoolleyWorldover 3 years ago

    i love this Maree!

  • Wow, that’s great Maree, thank you!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • LisaMM
    LisaMMover 3 years ago

    Beautiful drawing and wonderful info. thank you :-))))

  • Thanks ever so much Lisa!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • davvi
    davviover 3 years ago

    love it,very intresting.

  • Thanks a lot Davvi!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AngieDavies
    AngieDaviesabout 2 years ago

    Thanks for including all of the information with your lovely watercolor!!!! I always buy cage free eggs and hope others will also!

  • Thanks for the fav Angie! I won’t eat any eggs unless they’re free range.

    – Maree Clarkson

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