Friday, 16 September 2011

Home to roost.

There are some new additions to my family of waifs, strays and unwanted. I have adopted some ex-battery hens from The British Hen Welfare Trust. On Thursday they rescued 170 hens from 3000 that were due to be slaughtered as they are deemed no longer profitable at 72 weeks old. 170 because that was the maximum number that were assured homes.I have room for five, so P and I went over to the North East to collect them.

This is them at the pick up point shortly after being freed from their cages earlier that morning. They were in better shape than I expected, having spent their lives in appalling battery farming conditions.

It's great to see their character and personalities emerging.

Here's Lorna with her left leaning comb.

And this is Betty with her right leaning comb.

This is Peggy with her lump above her eye

This is Mary

And this is Thelma
who is far bigger than the others, has spurs, is definitely top chicken and had me concerned that she was actually a cockerel! But those in the know assure me that hens have spurs sometimes, so unless she starts crowing I'm not going to worry.

They have designated the cat carrier as the communal egg laying place
And this morning produced these
. There was a fourth but it was eaten before I decided to photograph them! So only one didn't lay. Hmmm. No. I'm not going to worry about Thelma, even if she is a big, non-egg laying, spur wearing girl.

They seem so happy pottering about and being hens. They have space to flap their wings, scratch the ground and be busy. Already they are spending less time plucking each other's feathers out, which is the only stimulation they got in the battery cages, which allow each hen an A4 space to live out her grim existence.
After 72 weeks of standing on wire a little grass underfoot must feel good.

And having the choice to be out in the fresh air or in the coop is proving to be a novelty that they enjoy.

I've got nothing done since they arrived because they are such interesting and endearing little creatures. Fingers crossed that they adjust ok so that they can enjoy a quality of life that's been denied them so far. They certainly deserve it.


  1. Oh Mari... they're fab! I love the personalities, and Thelma has already endeared herself to me just cos she's different! Good on you for taking them, they're lucky hens indeed. And so pleased you've been rewarded with eggs already. Some people I know have had to wait a while for eggs to appear while the hens get used to their new free status. x

  2. It's great to meet your brood. Looks like they're going to be very happy in their new home. Well done you.

  3. Thanks girls. They're very time consuming - I'm getting no writing done at all!