Sunday, 29 March 2009

Rescue day for our new hens....

Yesterday was the rescue day for our four new hens. We had to be at the collection point between the hours of 2pm and 4pm so we planned to drive to the town of Maldon (home of the superb Sea Salt for cooking) and to have a little picnic by the water, take a few photos and then pootle slowly along to collect our girls.

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.

Then back into their little pens to await their new owners.

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.

Once again, we were lucky with the girls we were allocated and all are pretty well feathered. Just very pale and quite stunned at all that happened to them over the course of the day!

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


  1. Hi again, thanks so much for your kind comments on my blog about the threat at my children's school. I have to admit, I count my blessings every day that someone up there gave me a signal and told me to join blogger! It has been my salvation, allowing me into a world of supportive wonderful women, you included dear friend!! Thank you!

    So on to your rescued chickens!! I read the post twice, just to take it all in, cuz I was so fascinated by it. We too have had battery chickens, named Dots (but we called her Dottie) and Hennie (might be good names for your two name-less ones!!), and they were pretty scrawny too when we first got them. They only lived about 3 years or so, and then suddenly died and we never knew why. My daughter pampered them like little children. In the mean time, she now has taken in a peg-leg chicken named Beanie, and a homeless black chicken named Paris. Our rooster, who was a lonely guy after Hennie and Dots passed away, loves his two chickens. We would gladly add more to the bunch, but don't due to lack of space. Bless your heart for saving these lovely ladies. I myself always pay more for eggs just so that I will not support batteries where the chickens are in such horrendously tight quarters. I feel it is worth the money, knowing the eggs I eat are laid by free-land chickens who have a better life. We dare not think how many chicken lives are lost each day just for Kentucky Fried Chicken!! Take care, and thank you for always finding time to visit my blog. - Debby

  2. What I like about blogging is the inside view I get of other ways of life. Already I've read about photographing monitor lizards in India, and now rescuing chickens in Germany and England. Wonder what else I'll read about this morning? And then I'll be writing about my little corner of New York City. Lovely way to spend a rainy Sunday morning. Better than doing the Sunday Times puzzle, which I finished in bed last night.

  3. how about gretchen and penney? fine names for some wonderful birds......hope you are getting better weather today. we are getting yours from yesterday, soggy and cool. oh well, take good care, jack

  4. I love the idea of rescuing the hens - I don't know of anything like that over here, but will look for it. Our goats are rescues, and so is our Cairn, Rosie. The ducks came from here and there. We will soon be looking for more hens, so will investigate rescues.
    Your girls will all settle in soon, I'm sure, and give you gorgeous eggs for a very long time.

  5. Hi Veronica, What a great post. How I would love to keep chickens. I almost have my hubby talked into it. I wonder if we have recue programs here in my part of the US. I'm so glad there are folks like you out there. Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my blog. I sure enjoy your visits.


  7. Dear Veronica, as you know I am Brazilian and I never heard the word "rescue the hens"...were they in danger? Sorry for asking. Anyway, I suggest the names Lee Marshall and Davidson Lee (lol)well, too long names, or Dada and Dede (lol). Well, I hope you find a warm day for a picnic. Have a very nice week,

  8. Well, those hens are lucky you found them, V. I have never heard of chicken rescue, or of "batteries". I'm not a vegetarian, but I do believe in treating all creatures well, and I think hens are beautiful! I'd like to have some one day as pets! You are a lovely person. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  9. What fine brown hens! They must have felt cold and scared due to the weather!

    Madge and Ginger are such fine hens! Very plump lol!

    I don't know if you know Gone With The Wind but what about Scarlett and Rhett for the new couple? Or Bonnie and Clyde! :)

  10. Dearest Veronica,
    It's really funny that your hens got their names.. Hahaha.. You're such a thoughful and soft-hearted person to look after your chickens like that. I hope to see more of your chikens. If you have some more problems, maybe you might consult with my blog friend here who is a Veterinarian. Try to find RJ in my friend's list. He's now in Australia.
    Thanks and have a lovely ady, my friend..

  11. Fantastic post, Veronica! I learned so much how one takes on battery hens! I gave up eating meat years ago after learning about the horrid practices of factory-farmed chickens and other animals. I eat a little fish occasionally, but not a lot. Many eat meat, and if it's done humanely, I quite go along with that, as the whole vegetarian thing is a personal/spiritual choice. You are doing a very wonderful thing taking on these sweeties and giving them a new life! Love the names you've chosen so far...For the remaining two, what about Penny and Patsy? :o) Keep us posted on this adventure of yours--very exciting! Happy week to you all ((HUGS))

  12. Hi Veronica, I wanted to tell you thank you for the comment on my 'corners' post. Though I love my home I would trade for your 'snug' any day. I just love that word,snug. Thank you so much for visiting me in my little corner of the world. It means a lot to me.
    Love, June

  13. Wow! That was very detailed and well written! The more I kept reading, the more fascinated I became with your story. I definitely learned a lot! Thank you for sharing.

    By the way, thanks for visiting my blog too. It's nice to meet you through jackc. I love meeting new people through blogging. How wonderful the web is, enabling us to connect across miles.

    Happy day! I'm hoping too that you'll get some sunshine soon .

  14. Hi Veronica,

    What a lovely tale of battery hen rescue. I know that your new additions will be well cared for and will soon settle in their new surroundings. How lucky for them that they found you!

    Marie x

  15. I am so glad you take those hens & give them such a great home.
    If you get stuck, I dont mind if you name one Meggie!! haha.