The weather had other ideas and Saturday dawned cold, wet and pretty miserable. So the picnic plan was abandoned for another, sunnier and warmer day. By the time we arrived at the collection point, the weather had deteriorated even further! Ugh, what a day to have to collect poor, frightened little hens. It was raining so hard that the hens had had to be kept in the horse boxes they'd been stacked into when they were removed from their battery cages. Here's one of the good volunteers lifting them out ready for those of us who were there to collect them and bring them home.
Here the hens are being placed into open pens so that they are easily lifted out and placed into the new owners assorted boxes or crates. They look a pretty motley crew but in fact are in excellent condition by and large for ex-battery hens. It was raining so the plastic you can see piled up is to cover the hens in case it really started to belt down. They have never been outside in their lives before this.
Two more wonderful volunteers from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust - they are holding the girls up as the hens' claws have to be clipped before they leave the collection point. The hens have always lived in their cages so their claws grow long - no scratching at the grass or ground you see.
It's all done very quickly and efficiently; the hens are fine afterwards. Not too much off the claws but just enough to help them walk on the ground.
When they arrived home with us, we popped them into their new but temporary accommodation. Our existing girls are pretty strong and hens being territorial little things, we want the new hens to have a chance to regain some confidence and strength before being allowed to mingle with the others. In the photo below, you can see Madge and Ginger inspecting the new arrivals.
If we had not collected them, if the Battery Hen Welfare Trust had not organised to collect and pay the farmers for these hens, then today they would all be at the slaughter yard. A quick end by either electrocution or gassing and then they would have become either dog food or good old Chicken Nuggets. Yes, you read correctly... Chicken Nuggets. It's so easy to blame the farmers but we have to look a little closer to home I'm afraid. We are the ones who demand cheap eggs, cheap chicken and egg products so this is the result. If I buy a cheap cake from the supermarket then I can bet my bottom dollar that it will have been made with battery farm eggs. Poor little hens.
She'll be OK with lots of new, good food and fresh water and fresh air. In a day or so, when they have settled a bit from their stressful day yesterday, we'll move them onto a larger area where they can roam a bit more. Hopefully, we'll be able to introduce them to the others in a few weeks.
Two have names already.... Ellen and Betty... but the other two are currently anonymous so if anyone has some nice ideas for a couple names, please do send them through!
Warm wishes to you and I hope you are enjoying your weekend! Vxx