Date : 04-03-2009

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia on molting in egg laying chickens? After, layer chickens are reared for (18) months, their egg production cycle is finished. Therefore, some farmers are obliged to sell them while others try to make them reproduce eggs for another eight months. They do this by depriving the birds from water for (3) days, then allowing them to drink on the fourth day. The birds are also deprived from feed from (1-2) weeks depending on their resilience. On the twelfth and thirteenth day, they are fed at minimum, so they start losing feathers. This process is continued for two whole months where feed is increased to suffice for re-growing of feathers and restart of the egg laying cycle. Moreover, what is the ruling of Sharia on killing male chicks by placing them in plastic bags while alive and throwing them into the dumpster?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Islam teaches us to be merciful and show kindness towards all creatures; particularly when slaughtering animals. Shaddid b. Aus said: "Two are the things, which I remember Allah's Messenger (Blessings and peace be upon him), having said: "Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably. {Sahih Muslim, No.1955}.

The molting mentioned in the above question isn`t approved by Islamic Sharia since it involves depriving the birds from food and water, which contradicts the concept of kindness enjoined by the Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him). On the contrary, this act of unkindness is punishable by Sharia. Ibn 'Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace be upon him) said: "A woman was punished in Hell because of a cat which she had confined until it died. She did not give it to eat or to drink when it was confined, nor did she free it so that it might eat the vermin of the earth." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

To be on the safe side, it is better to sell the chickens upon the end of their egg laying cycle, even for a low price, so that the poor can benefit from their meat. The same ruling applies to chocking male chicks and not benefitting from their meat. The Iftaa` Council issued Resolution No.(20/1991), which you can check by clicking (Here) And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.