The weather has been glorious for nearly 2 weeks which means the hens have been enjoying lots more free time in the garden. I like to be outside with the hens while they free range, to keep an eye out for foxes. We are surrounded by farmland and I just won’t take the risk. The hens are all looking good after their late winter / early spring moult and egg laying has started to increase. We have 13 ex battery hens at the moment which is quite enough to be getting on with, we certainly have a constant egg supply! I cannot remember the last time we had to buy eggs.
It suddenly dawned on me last night that during my short absence from the blog I missed out an important date - Chrissie and Auntie Marge celebrated a year of freedom on 22nd February this year! From the photo above Chrissie is second on the left and Auntie Marge is first on the right, as you can see they look amazing for ex battery hens. Chrissie has health issues but she is doing OK.
The other 2 hens in the photo are Becki and Hope, they are also doing very well. Hopefully they will celebrate a year of freedom next month too, fingers tightly crossed.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 29, 2010
Well it was bound to happen. Our flock has expanded yet again.
In May I volunteered to help Little Hen Rescue rehome ex battery hens by rehoming hens from our garden. It was a very emotional experience, watching the hens go to their forever homes with keen, kind and very excited folk. It was heart warming to say the least. With the help of a friend and family members, we rehomed 94 hens. Unfortunately there were also a few hens off their legs, basically just too weak to rehome at that point and needed TLC. They were all put safely together on blankets, given food and water and then taken by a friend of ours to be cared for one to one.
After the long exhausting day I was full of mixed emotions. Elated for the hens that were sleeping on straw for the first time in their miserable lives, sad for the hens still enduring the battery farm and missing one of the poorly girls. I just could not get her from my mind, she kept me awake at night thinking about her. Of course, I knew she was being well cared for but my mind kept drifting back to her. I kept in regular contact with their foster mum and was updated on how all the girls were getting on but it was not enough. I had to give her a home here with us and our other nutty ex batts.
So, now I have 2 new hens. Whoops did I say 2 how did that happen? I have named them Hope and Becki. Hope is the hen that I could not shake and Becki is named after a friend. Hope is walking well and very skittish. Becki is still lame on one leg so she needs a bit more care. They are bonding together nicely and will remain together until they are a little stronger before being introduced to Chrissie, Auntie Marge and Brenda.
They had a lovely day yesterday in the late afternoon sunshine, dust bathing on the lawn and soaking up the warmth into their tired out bodies. Its tear jerking watching an ex battery hen experience these simple pleasures for the first time. Although I have witnessed it many times before, it still gets to me.
Wish them luck.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 3, 2009