At the end of last year I blogged about one of our chickens, Rose, the fact that she seems to have been stuck in some kind of strange moult since like forever. I’m afraid to say she still has not feathered up. In fact, she is worse than ever. Now I don’t know whether or not she is just one rebellious old boot, preferring to be a scruff monster, or, that maybe just maybe she is on the change. OMG.
I have noticed that she now has tiny spur like knobbles on the back of her both her legs, the very part of the leg that spurs would be present if on a cockerel. Also, her wattles now hang much lower than before, they are noticeably bigger and boy like. When Rose came to us in April 2008, although a tatty teddy she was pretty well feathered for an ex batt, OK apart from missing neck feathers but still not bad at all. Not long after her arrival she just went into a permanent state of moult. All different parts of her and stages that have seemed to take such a long time to finish, so much so that she would start a new moult somewhere else on her body before she had. She lost all her head and neck feathers, regrew them but then lost them all straight away. This has been going on for some time now. She has this habit of over preening herself, pulling and plucking new feathers as she does it. But then again she does have a twisty beak so perhaps preening is just not easy for her.
I can rule out a few potential reasons such as being bullied, boredom, lice, mites, lack of protein, poor quality feed etc but I still cannot work out why she is like this. Right now she resembles a scrubbing brush. She is healthy, laying OK (but not as often as she was for that matter) and doing everything that chickens like to do. I cannot work it out. If someone out there has the magic answer I would dearly like to know. I would love to see Rose fully feathered and looking beautiful. Perhaps she is just, well, getting on a bit?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 20, 2009
Little Hen Rescue desperately need homes for the last remaining battery hens of a farm due to shut down. The slaughter man has been booked by the farmer for 29th June, these hens will be slaughtered unless homes are found ASAP. After spending 18 miserable months of their short lives in a hell hole, never seeing daylight or grass, never knowing what the sun feels like on their backs, they will be held by the legs and roughly put into crates, loaded up like rubbish and killed. All for cheap crappy eggs.
Many co-ordination points have and are being set up to accommodate as wide an area for re homing as possible. If you can give a home to some very needy hens, or can help in other ways ie putting up posters or donating, please contact LHR @ http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk
If you have been thinking about re homing some ex battery hens but are unsure, please feel free to join the Ex Battery Hens Forum for very friendly and helpful advice http://www.exbatteryhens.com
If you are a blogger, please pop a post on your blog to help raise awareness.
Please, support LHR and help them to get these hens out.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 6, 2009
Our original 6 ex battery hens have been free from their cage for one whole year today. Its true to say it has been an emotional journey at times, but a journey that we are glad to have taken.
Our first flock of 6 ex battery hens have made our first year of hen keeping very rewarding and enjoyable. Compared to other people we know, we have in fact been very lucky and had very little go wrong with the girls so far. Bumble foot has been the most annoying and stubborn ailment to clear up, resulting in Lily having to have an operation under gas to remove painful bumbles on both feet. Obviously the girls are knocking on a bit now so we shall probably be facing a few hurdles in the near future. Hopefully they will go on to enjoy their lives for another year yet, who knows.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 20, 2009
Would you like to re-home some ex battery hens? Free At Last hen rescue based in the Bedfordshire area, need new homes for the next rescue which is scheduled for Saturday 25th April. If you are interested in giving some ex battery hens a new life, please please visit the Free At Last website for more details and contact information.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 9, 2009
Apologies for not updating the blog recently, its been kinda busy round here lately with one thing or another. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to complete all the tasks / jobs that need doing. I will be honest, the new ex battery hens have taken up a lot of my spare time, but, I chose to dedicate this time to their care and needs. Its been hard going with them lately, a lot of worrying and finger crossing moments. They are very very worn out little girls and will take a lot more of my spare time to get them to a stage where I don’t feel the urge to keep checking on them, just in case.
Chrissie has been doing OK recently with regards to laying. She has been putting smashed eggs into the nest box, which to most would not be OK at all, but I see it as a huge improvement to how she was. Since rescue day she had been passing 2 soft eggs at a time roughly every 3 days, which of course is not doing her the world of good and making her feel pretty awful. Aside from her egg system blips I am pleased overall with how she is progressing. She has gained a little bit of weight, not much, but enough for me to notice. Chrissie appears to be top hen, I had my money on Auntie Marge being the triumphant one. Her crop occasionally doesn’t empty properly in the morning, so I do spend a lot of time sorting that out. She is one brave little lady, even taking on Emily, the largest hen from our other flock whilst free ranging amongst the bigger girls. They had to be split up ASAP but Chrissie did not want to back down. Just goes to prove how tough ex battery hens have to be, to survive.
Auntie Marge, well what can I say about this very comical little hen? Apart from being extremely greedy she makes the most of her new found freedom by not wanting to miss a thing. She is very inquisitive, fast on her legs and will jump very high to grab at anything you may be holding in your hands. Even if its not food! She is still very very bald but starting to produce feathers here and there.
Last but by no means least is Brenda. She had been doing very well but she has been a bit poorly the last few days, again egg related. I’m on to it and she seems to be OK at the moment. So there we have it, 4 weeks this Sunday out of the battery farm. We are still very sad about losing Shazzy, thank you to everyone who left us a comment about her.
I shall end this post with a photo of Auntie Marge, enjoying the sunshine warming her bones.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on March 19, 2009
The new girls appear to be settling in quite nicely. After blitzing them for lice and worms (which they had) they are looking so much brighter. They are getting stronger each day too and quite mischievous, which I like to see.
Shazzy and Auntie Marge went to the vet on Thursday evening. Shazzy is very rattly and Auntie Marge had a bit of a water bum on rescue day which concerned me. It has reduced in size considerably, but seeing as I was taking Shazzy to the vet anyway it made sense to take Auntie Marge for a quick check over. She was perfect company for Shazzy too to reduce stress. Auntie Marge is OK, the vet was happy with her and does not feel that her bottom is anything to worry about. She is laying and seems quite a perky little hen and she certainly knows how to fill her crop. To the point of bursting! Shazzy however needed a course of baytril, as expected, for a nasty respiratory infection.
Brenda, Auntie Marge and Chrissie so far have laid perfecto eggs. Shazzy is passing broken soft shell little numbers. I know when one is on the way because she looks ever so sorry for herself for a while, then, once she passes it, she is fine. She is receiving all she should to help with strong shells, so, along with her meds, her system hopefully will recover soon. All in all I am happy with their progress so far. Their diet also includes more protein for feather growth, which is working as a few of them have little spikes in a few places. Awwww.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 27, 2009
Yesterday was the new hens first full day of freedom. How did they spend it? Why, eating of course! They certainly have an appetite and are looking a little better than they did on Sunday. We are keeping an eye on Chrissie at the moment. She bolted like a bullet from the coop this morning straight to the drinker and drank very excessively, making her crop swell like a balloon. She seems OK at the moment, we shall see how she is tomorrow. Auntie Marge has a swollen balloon bottom, again being kept under close observation. I have a vets appointment on stand by for Thursday with an exotics specialist (chickens are classed as exotics) just in case.
Excuse the awful blue tarpaulin, its a temporary screen to keep next doors super models quiet. Yes, you guessed it, they are not happy. Oh no. Hand bags at the ready plus plenty of lip gloss. Witches.
Another perfect egg in the nestbox this morning, not sure who is laying (quite frankly I am surprised that they are) but Shazzy claimed it as her own, announcing to the world that she is now a proper chicken. As you can see they are skeletal. Heartbreaking isn’t it? This is what intensive farming for cheap sh*tty eggs does to them. Disgusting!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 24, 2009
Its here! Today is the day we collect another 4 hens. They will be among 140 hens being rescued by Free At Last hen rescue.
We are expecting ‘hand bags at dawn’ type behaviour from our existing flock, so it is sensible, we feel, to house the new hens separately for the time being. The new girls will just be too weak to cope with our other 6 very fit ex batts, pecking at their heels.
Yesterday my dad and Rich built the new enclosure and coop. Only one slight blip with putting the roof sheets on the enclosure but it all came right in the end. I’m amazed that the swear jar remains empty. The positioning of the new housing being right next door to the main enclosure, will enable all the girls to see and interact with each other safely. This should help with introductions later on. Well that’s the plan anyway.
We are setting off in a couple of hours to collect the new girls. Yay!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 22, 2009
Have you ever considered rehoming some ex battery hens?
Battery hens that are deemed no longer productive to farmers are slaughtered. I will spare you the gory details of the undignified end to their already miserable existence.
These hens will be aged just 18 months old and would have spent most of their short ‘life’ in a CAGE. Row upon row of cages filled with 5 (sometimes more) hens jostling to stand on a wire bottom tilted cage the size of an A4 piece of paper. They have no means of expressing or carrying out natural behaviour. They NEVER see the eggs that they lay, see natural daylight or stretch their wings. Most are bald or ‘oven ready’ due to feather pulling from other hens, an act performed out of pure frustration and understandably boredom. Many hens die in their cage, sometimes unnoticed by the farmer, especially if they are in a top tier cage.
Just because the farmer does not need them any more does not mean that their egg laying days are over, they are just not producing enough eggs to make them commercially viable. Please consider re-homing a few ex battery hens and give them a home in a better environment. They are no harder to look after than a rabbit and will reward you with fresh eggs.
Likewise, please reconsider before buying eggs from caged hens.
Free At Last hen rescue are based in Bedfordshire. Their next rescue will be 22nd February. If you would like to re-home some hens from this rescue please visit their website for more details: http://free-at-last.org.uk/
For helpful and friendly advice regarding caring for ex battery hens, please feel free to join the Ex Battery Hens Forum: http://s1.zetaboards.com/Ex_Battery_Hens/index/
Please, give a little brown hen a chance at life. Thank you.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 11, 2009
Little Hen Rescue are appealing for homes for 4,000 battery hens being released from their cages on 7th & 8th February. They are determined not to leave any behind to the fate of the slaughter van.
If you would like to give ex battery hens a home, further information or to leave a donation please contact Jo at http://littlehenrescue.co.uk
If you would like to join in with discussions about caring for ex battery hens please feel free to join The Ex Battery Hens Forum http://s1.zetaboards.com/Ex_Battery_Hens/index/
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on January 30, 2009