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Investigator's Diary

Tuesday, 12/16/08

At Quality Egg of New England, the wire cages were stacked three rows high, typically with four to six birds per cage.

The cages were each about 16 inches wide and long and 20 inches deep.

All of the chickens were debeaked and many had developed neuromas – painful tumors on the remaining parts of their beaks caused by the debeaking process.

Wednesday, 12/17/08

A hen was stuck under her front cage wall. I pushed her gently, but she was wedged between wires and wouldn’t move. I pointed this out to a worker, who grabbed her by a leg and tried to yank her free forcefully. The hen cried out, flapped her wings and was briefly caught at her cage door before he yanked on the leg again and pulled her out. He then swung her around once by the neck and dropped her on the ground, nudging her with his foot to try to kick her into the manure pit below her cage. She reemerged on the floor, flapping her wings and thrashing. He casually kicked her one more time to send her into the pit.

Thursday, 12/18/08

This morning I saw about half a dozen live birds in a manure pit.

I discovered two decomposed hens in cages today. One was dried and only a piece of her ripped off in my hand when I tried to lift the carcass out of the cage.

Friday, 12/19/08

I found several dead hens in cages, as well as a chicken skull. One of the dead hens had a prolapsed uterus. I also found a live hen partially hanging out from under her cage. I picked her up and set her on the floor, where she fell over, unable to stand. A worker walked by, picked her up, and threw her from about six feet away into the nearest trash can.

Wednesday, 12/24/08

I found dead hens in cages, whose bodies had been trampled flat by cagemates.

Friday, 12/26/08

I found two hens with prolapsed uteruses. One prolapse appeared to have just developed, while the other was advanced, with organs spilling through the hen’s vent.

Saturday, 12/27/08

I found seven hens with their wings and heads caught in the wire of their cages. One hen’s wing had been torn and the skin had grown back around the wire.

I discovered a dead hen whose neck had been impaled by cage wire. When I tried to free her, a piece of her skin tore off in a strip, still stuck to the wire.

I saw a hen lying in a pile of liquid feces in the pit. She was completely immobile and her face was submerged in the manure.

Friday, 1/2/09

Two trash cans were overflowing with dead hens. Each had a live hen among them. One of the hens was mostly buried under dead hens. Both were visibly breathing and the one lying under dead hens made an audible call.

Saturday, 1/3/09

I discovered that one of the live hens I had found in trash cans yesterday was still in the trash can breathing and moving her head.

I found over a dozen dead hens in cages. One of the dead hens did not appear to have been dead long and there was a thick yellow discharge running from her vent.

Monday, 1/5/09

I found a chicken lying at the front of her cage without moving. I picked her up and a thick, milky liquid began to ooze from her mouth. I set her on the ground and she lay motionless with her eyes closed, breathing in gasps.

Tuesday, 1/6/09

I saw that a trash can had a live hen kicking her legs under several dead hens.

Saturday, 1/10/09

I witnessed a worker throwing dead birds out of a trash can into the back of his work truck. I said, “Sometimes there’s live birds in there.” He replied, “Don’t matter. Leave it there.”

Sunday, 1/11/09

I found a hen whose leg was stretched out and immobile in the cage. She didn’t move as I freed her, and her right leg did not bend as I gently set her on the floor.

Monday, 1/12/09

I saw a pile of about 30 dead hens on the floor next to a trash can that was filled to the brim with dead hens. I saw movement from the bodies of four hens in the pile.

I observed the truck used to collect dead hens with one hen twitching on its rear gate.

Tuesday, 1/13/09

A hen's head and wing were trapped under the cage’s front wall. One of her legs was stretched out and would not move or bend. She had a gash on her right side, leaving the skin split open and mostly yellow inside. A gash on her left side was red from fresh blood with a layer of dust partially covering the wound.

Another live hen, also trapped under her cage’s front wall, had the side of her face on a moving egg belt. I saw that the side of her face, including her eye, was encrusted in what appeared to be egg yolk and dust.

Sunday, 1/18/09

In a cage of five hens, one hen’s head was stuck under the cage’s front wall up to the base of her torso. Her eyes were closed and she was gasping. When I got her unstuck and lifted her, she began going into spasms.

Monday, 1/19/09

I saw a live hen in a trash can, head up, eyes open, and vocalizing under several dead hens.

Tuesday, 1/20/09

I found a live hen on top of a pile of dead hens in a trash can. She flapped her left wing and clucked. Several hours later I saw a worker throwing hens from the trash can into his truck. I walked by to verify that the hen I had found was still alive in the trash can, which she was. The worker then tipped over the trash can and dumped all of the hens into his truck.

Friday, 1/23/09

I found a live hen partially under a dead hen. I lifted the dead hen off of the live one and saw her spread her wings.

I found a single live hen immobile but breathing at the bottom a trash can. A few hours later the hen was amongst several dead hens.

Saturday, 1/24/09

I watched a worker throw five dead hens and then a live one into a trash can, the live hen screeching and flapping as she was thrown.

One cage had a broken water nipple. In the cage were four dead hens piled on top of each other, covered in a thick layer of dust.

Wednesday, 1/28/09

I saw a hen hung by her leg on a piece of cage wire. One of the workers hangs dead birds in this manner to keep them off of the floor and out of his way. This hen was breathing.

I found a hen in a cage, her stomach and legs facing up and her legs kicking slowly.

Sunday, 2/1/09

A live hen that I had seen in a trash can with dead hens two days ago was still alive in the trash can. I found three additional live hens in a trash can full of dead hens. One had a limp crest, discolored blue.

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