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Dude, look at those chicks
April 9, 2004 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Happy Easter, everybody! Nothing like a natural abomination to ring in the season! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, those are real live baby chickens dyed in various pastel colors. How do they do this thing? They inject (non-toxic) dye right into the eggs. Who does this thing? These guys, a hatchery in Alaska (no information about the chicks on their web page). Amusing? Horrifying? Strangely delicious-looking? You make the call.
posted by logovisual (31 comments total)

 
They are very pretty and quite interesting. Dyeing the eggs doesn't seem much worse to me, ethically, than that stuff they use to make farmed salmon flesh look orange.
posted by sciurus at 4:49 PM on April 9, 2004


Finally, green eggs to go with the ham.
posted by trondant at 4:49 PM on April 9, 2004


The dye, which the farm insists does not contain chemicals, [...]

What's it made of, then? ;)
posted by abcde at 4:51 PM on April 9, 2004


Uhh... so I guess they know injecting chemicals into chicken eggs don't hurt them because... what, the chickens told them?

This reminds me of that fad a few years ago where people bought those "neon" fish, which were created by taking a translucent breed of tetra fish and injecting neon phosphourous into their cartiledge.

Ultimately, I think it just sets a bad concept in the minds of young children... something like this just begs for 4-year old timmy to be sitting at the table with the tub of egg dye and suddenly looking at snowball on the couch and wondering how cool it would look if his cat was neon green.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:56 PM on April 9, 2004


My vote's for horrifying and disgusting.

Not only is it cruel and very fucked up, it's just plain nasty that these idiots are teaching young children that people have the right to do whatever the hell they want to other living creatures.
posted by dobbs at 5:20 PM on April 9, 2004


Uhh... so I guess they know injecting chemicals into chicken eggs don't hurt them because... what, the chickens told them?

as far as im concerned: i have no problem with a woman having the choice to kill her unborn child. and i most certainly don't hesitate pouncing on those succulent chicken wings in the grocery store. why would i have a problem with a chicken farm injecting their young with colored dye, something that has no evidence of causing permanent harm?

you have to admit that they're cute as a button! just like that cuddly teddy bear i saw atthe zoo the other day.
posted by poopy at 5:20 PM on April 9, 2004


I don't see how it's cruel. Fucked up, maybe, but in a good way. Chickens are more or less plants, anyway, right? They're gonna get eaten whatever color they are.
posted by majcher at 5:23 PM on April 9, 2004


Just wait until those kids do the incubate-the-egg-until-it hatches project in elementary school, and decide it's stupid because the chicks all hatched the same boring yellow color.
posted by ambrosia at 5:48 PM on April 9, 2004


poopy, you have to admit that that's a really bad analogy. This is more like injecting your womb with dye so your baby is born looking like she stole candy from Willy Wonka.

Also, I never said abortion was harmless, clearly it's harmful to the embryo you're removing. Comparitively you're sort of proving my point. But that's like saying chemotherapy isn't harmless to cancer. Duh. I agree that they're cute, but you can't say it's definitively harmless when you're, you know, turning chickens green using a method only capable through injecting eggs with dye.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:48 PM on April 9, 2004


turning chickens green using a method only capable through injecting eggs with dye

Or, to be fair, by painting them meticulously with a brush. But we don't go for drudge work like that here in America. YANKEE INGENUITY GOD DEMMIT (does Alaska count as Yankee? It's pretty far north of the Mason-Dixon...)
posted by logovisual at 5:52 PM on April 9, 2004


poopy, you have to admit that that's a really bad analogy. This is more like injecting your womb with dye so your baby is born looking like she stole candy from Willy Wonka.

XQUZYPHYR, i find this story amusing because there are many people out there who take great offense (including myself) at baby chicks being injected with dye yet have no problem with going to their local grocery store and buying a pound of grade a choice beef. no analogy is needed really because we're all hypocrits. what's predictable is the usual outrage over this story and at the same time, the usual justifications for much worse acts that really do cause harm. i'm not saying that abortion is wrong (i believe in it), but lets please call a spade a spade (which you have). maybe then we can gain a little respect in our convictions.

and i never said 'definitively harmless' so please don't try to distort my words. i only stated that there's no evidence.
posted by poopy at 6:21 PM on April 9, 2004


born by a blue mother? *cries*
sciurus , abcde , dobbs and ambrosia got points, i'm gonna go and easter sulk somewhere.
posted by dabitch at 6:28 PM on April 9, 2004


I think they're positively adorable.
posted by pemulis at 7:02 PM on April 9, 2004


i only stated that there's no evidence.

Which you're probably also wrong about. You have no idea what dyes are being used here. It's probably your standard FDA food colors.

I'll email them and find out.
posted by betaray at 8:31 PM on April 9, 2004


Compared to the average harms inflicted on chickens, this is nothing. But that's a lame excuse. Hmm. They're cute, so I'm trying to justify this somehow. All my reasons sound lame, sorry.

I'll just admire them and admit it unsettles me enough that I wouldn't inject the needle myself.
posted by beth at 8:35 PM on April 9, 2004


My vote is on strangely delicious-looking.

And yes, beth, compared to the average harms (Macromedia Flash) inflicted on chickens, this is nothing.
posted by stringbean at 9:03 PM on April 9, 2004


I'm actually a hypocrite in reverse, really - I'm a vegetarian but really, I find this fine.
posted by abcde at 9:15 PM on April 9, 2004


I am unabashedly for this. The chicks aren't harmed, and I think it's damn cute.

...and I say this as someone who once dyed his cockatiel's white head feathers a rather attractive red, so take it as you will.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:27 PM on April 9, 2004


Damn, now I have to show my mom these chicks.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:32 PM on April 9, 2004


I don't think this is a new thing. I remember pink and blue baby chicks being sold at Easter time at the Kresge store when I was a little girl (early 60's). I always wanted one, but wisely my parents said no. I don't find the coloring nearly as awful as the obsolete (I hope) practice of selling live baby chicks to small children as pets.
posted by marsha56 at 12:43 AM on April 10, 2004


i've heard of chickens with dyed feathers being sold for easter for years. for that matter, my grandfather [raised in the '30s] still tells stories of the blue-colored rooster chick he got one easter, and how he later had to slaughter it because the crowing was annoying the neighbors... unnatural? sure. worse than subsequently killing and eating said chickens? i wouldn't say so. unless you object wholly to humans eating meat, you really have no business protesting.
posted by ubersturm at 2:59 AM on April 10, 2004


yeah, I'm with abcde. I'm vegetarian, and don't have a problem with this. They've just been manic-paniced. (Those are some punk chicks!) It's temporary, fun, and harmless.

I have to say, I really think it's bizarre and hypocritical if you are fine with killing and eating them, but not with turning them green for a couple weeks. I don't see how that can be justified.
posted by mdn at 6:15 AM on April 10, 2004


Like Marsha56, I remember tha fate of easter chicks when I wuz chidruns; this isn't so bad, trust me. Besides, people dye themselves and worse all the time.
posted by cookie-k at 7:34 AM on April 10, 2004


Wait, wait, we are all wrong! Soon PETA will tell us how evil this is. Read my [chicken] lips.
posted by page404 at 8:56 AM on April 10, 2004


What I find most disturbing is the willingness of people to accept at face value the claims that dying the chicks is "harmless". Perhaps it is, but bear in mind that those quoted in the article are running a hatchery, where insensitivity to animal suffering is a prerequisite and practices like burning the beaks off of chicks and tossing live males into meat grinders are still common. It seems to me that many people in the meat industry, like others in the tobacco industry or the Bush administration, are willing to spout any ridiculous nonsense to make their practices appear less callous than they really are. Since they insist that the dye "does not contain chemicals", I think its self evident that they are lying or, more likely, just don't care enough to understand what they're doing to the chicks. Myself, I'm a bit curious about what dying an entire animal does to its eyes.
Anyway, count me as creeped out. I mean, sure, they're cute but that's because they're chicks, not because they're blue.
posted by Zetetics at 9:22 AM on April 10, 2004


What I find most disturbing is the willingness of people to accept at face value the claims that dying the chicks is "harmless".

I'm sure they're using the same sort of vegetable dye east villagers put in their hair, and gatorade puts in their juice. There's just no reason to expect it to be harmful. They look healthy, they apparently grow up to be normal chickens, and there is no hypothesis as to what exactly about it would be harmful. Therefore, it seems silly to get excited about it. And unless you're (meaning anyone against this) a hardcore vegan, it seems pretty hypocritical. If you're a hardcore vegan, I respect your position but personally think you're going a bit too far. If you're not, wtf are you getting upset about?
posted by mdn at 10:36 AM on April 10, 2004


Apparently this has been happening for a while, but usually for research purposes.

That said, awwwwww. Something about chicks, bunnies, kittens and baby monkeys gets me right. Here.
posted by precocious at 11:11 AM on April 10, 2004


What I find most disturbing is the willingness of people to accept at face value the claims that dying the chicks is "harmless."

Don't you think a hatchery that has been doing this for years knows something about what it does to the chickens? I'm sure they know far more about the aftereffects than I do, which makes them the experts.
posted by kindall at 11:12 AM on April 10, 2004


The egg injection method is safer for the chicks than the old way of spraying them down after hatching, which caused many of them to get respiratory illnesses and colds from being wet. I'd be interested in hearing how many die now as compared to using the spraying method. I'd imagine the number might be lower.

But really, my first reaction is HOW CUTE!
posted by Orb at 12:20 PM on April 10, 2004


wtf are you getting upset about?
I don't think I am especially upset about this.
I am, however, sceptical. I'm not sure what kind of dye they're using and I still see no reason to expect it to be harmless. I'm not even sure how one would verify the claim that the dying is harmless ( although, precocious' second link is interesting -thanks for pointing that out). Many otherwise harmless chemicals have harmful effects at early stages of development or in large doses.
Other people have used food colouring for dying chicks but even food colourings are considered harmless only because they usually are used in such small doses. As far as I know, nobody has catalogued the effects of injecting the stuff in utero and bathing an embryo in it.
As for them being experts, again, claiming that the dyes contain no chemicals is just silly. After that, I can't take them seriously, let alone trust them as experts - especially not on issues of animal welfare.
I agree that there are worse things than this but, for lots of reasons listed by others, my presumption is that we probably shouldn't be doing this without a good reason.
Chicks really are stunningly cute in their natural state. Blue ones honestly don’t look more cute to me.
(For what its worth, I am vegan-though, perhaps, not hardcore)
posted by Zetetics at 1:38 PM on April 10, 2004


I'm not sure what kind of dye they're using and I still see no reason to expect it to be harmless.

I see a perfectly good reason to believe it's harmless. This is a hatchery doing this, right? Which means that their entire business relies on healthy chickens of various ages.

Using a process or dye that's harmful to the chicks would be literally directly damaging the company's assets.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:27 PM on April 10, 2004


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