Back in March we constructed our new Chicken pen. Our chickens have been loving it and so far we have not had any attacks from predators.
I have been wanting to get some more chickens for awhile, but Mat wanted me to wait until we moved into the house. Luckily I waited, or we wouldn't have had the room for the girls.
On Friday I received a call from NSW Hen Rescue. I had previously put my name down to take four ex-battery hens. The original four hens were adopted by someone else. I was asked if I still wanted to adopt some ex-battery hens as they were going to a battery farm that night and rescuing them. Of course I would take them, how could I not.
Yesterday morning, we adapted the pen a little bit and I went a bought some new food that the chickens could eat (they cannot not eat normal layer pellets as most of them have had their beaks cut) and I drove 30 mins to meet one of the rescuers.
My girls are four of the fourteen that were rescued from slaughter on Friday night. They are between one and two years old.
We have named them Rosie, Daisy, Ruby and Gracie.
Their condition, it brings me to tears. I was prepared as I had seen pictures that they would have feathers missing and would look pretty rough. Seeing a part bald chicken is a shock. Prior to reading about the plight of battery hens, I thought I was doing my part by not buying caged eggs. Sadly it requires a lot more than that.
Rosie the chicken, she is the most traumatised by what has happened. She seeks comfort behind the wire of the coop, and rarely ventures out into the chicken pen. When she does, it is crouched down, and she will schooch along, knees bent occasionally having a roll in the dirt. She has also fared the worst from her life in a cage and is missing most of the feathers from her front.
The question that most people have asked me when I have told them that we are getting ex-battery hens is whether they will still lay eggs or not. Truely, it would not bother me if they never laid another egg as long as they lived. I took them so they could have a better life - actually so they could have a life. However, despite not expecting eggs - each of the girls have laid an egg today.
So there you go. Hopefully over the coming weeks, with good food, lots of water and sunshine and a big coop to run around in they will start looking a lot better.