Gov. Jerry Brown, taking a page from his Republican counterpart Chris Christie of New Jersey, announced that the first round of his state’s egg-laying hens will be released back into the wild.
Mr. Brown, a Democrat, asked the Public Health Department this month to postpone a series of far-reaching health measures planned to take effect in March and April, after his office learned that several farms had changed their poultry management practices.
Rather than release the entire flock, which as many as 168,000 birds could take about three years to raise from fertilized eggs to productive broiler chickens, Mr. Brown said, “we’re going to take one hen at a time, allow them to go out and breed, and bring them back in on a small scale.”
Ditto for the state’s and many others’ laws on the slaughter of pigs.
The simultaneous steep declines in the rates of pig and egg-laying hens’ egg cases have boosted speculation in some circles that new limits on bird flu transmission may come out of the South.
— Ryan Hutchins
Mr. Christie, whom the governor of New Jersey likened to Benjamin Franklin, said Monday he would release 18,000 chickens from cages in the state, putting the first sign of easing since farmers began trapping and killing them last fall.
He said state health officials told him they would begin releasing chicken farms in which pigs are kept as part of a fattening routine, calling their eggs “antibiotic-free.” The pigs, he said, had little potential to transmit the disease.
— Ann E. Marimow