All posts tagged ex battery hens
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 21, 2013
Would you like to re-home some rescue hens? Little Hen Rescue regularly need pet home for rescue hens to live out the rest of their lives. They currently have hens looking for homes that were recently rescued from enrichment cages, most are well feathered and still capable of laying but this can never be guaranteed.
From my own experiences of keeping rescue hens what I can guarantee is this; any new hen rehomer will quickly adore their new feathery friends and form a close bond, you’ll suddenly wonder where missing hours in your day went until you realise they were spent watching these lovely natured hens finding their feet, visibly enjoying being a real chicken for once in their lives. I cannot stress enough how rewarding it is to witness the changes as they blossom into beautiful garden hens with just a little TLC. It’s certainly one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Collection points from Norfolk, Cambridge and Essex with the main bulk of hens being kept at Little Hen Rescue’s base in Norfolk. If you can offer a home to some deserving hens then please get in touch with Little Hen Rescue by applying via LHR website:
Ex Battery Hens Forum (you can find me there), a friendly community to chat with other people who keep rescue hens
Hen Rehoming Hub: Find a hen rescue near you!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 4, 2013
I wish this post was about beautiful red poppies, just like the ones currently growing in the wildflower area of my veg garden. Sadly, this post is about the loss of my beautiful hen, Poppy. She had a heart attack yesterday, it was all very quick and a huge shock.
Rescued in 2009 from a battery farm, she came here as a tiny bald hen. Her feathers started to grow back, the colour returned to her once pale face and she grew in confidence. I watched, as she blossomed into one of the most beautiful hens I’ve ever cared for. Recently she bonded well with my bluebell hen, Myrtle. Typical of her calm nature.
I shall miss her terribly and I’m sure Myrtle will too.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on August 4, 2012
It’s been a while since I posted some photos of the hybrid hens, these were taken last month. Emily and Poppy, the old ex-battery hens make an appearance too.
Our Speckledy hen lays dark brown eggs. She’s lovely and very placid unlike the white Coral hen, she’s a lunatic!
Myrtle the Bluebell hen loves hanging out in the herb patch, it’s her favourite place to have a dust bath.
Emily, our old ex-battery hen has taken quite a shine to our Coral hen, Fleur. As you can see, Emily is a big old bird!
Hermione and her fabulous ‘hair’!
Myrtle hanging out in the herb patch again, we gave her the correct name!
Each hen lays a different coloured egg which makes it really easy to tell who laid each morning, this can be useful sometimes. I was hoping our Skyline hen would lay blue or green eggs, turns out she lays pastel colours instead but they’re still pretty!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on July 27, 2012
It has been a tough old ride with my chickens lately. Yesterday morning I opened one of the coops and discovered Dot, one of my old ex battery hens had died suddenly in the night. Another of my old girls, Ethel was diagnosed with cancer a while ago. She was doing really well on supportive care but recently time had caught up with her and today she was finding her condition hard to cope with. It’s heartbreaking to see a hen literally use every muscle she has to take a breath. I believe the death of Dot worsened matters, they were literally joined at the hip. Today I took Ethel to my very supportive avian vet and allowed her to go, ending her suffering.
Goodbye old girls x
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 1, 2012
One of my old hens, Lily, was sadly given sleep at the vets last Friday morning. Even though it’s never an easy decision to make (for any animal), this was the right decision for her. She was a rescue hen and experienced 4 years of ‘freedom’ with us, which of course is a lovely achievement but this also made it much harder to let her go. It’s odd not seeing her in the garden, she was part of the furniture and a huge character. My thundering big hen. I miss her and I believe her partner in crime, Emily, misses her too. I’ve never known a chicken to react the way that Emily has, as if she senses the loss.
Lily and Emily were very bonded, Emily kept calling for Lily and appeared quite distressed on Friday. This left me with a problem. Emily was now on her own. I have other ex battery hens here (housed separately), they’re all quite physically challenged with thing or another, definitely not a good idea introducing Emily to them. Being a big fit hen she would be too much for them to cope with and probably cause them unnecessary stress. Hens are flock animals and much happier with the company of other hens, I had to get some friends for Emily to eventually bond with even though I really wasn’t in the mood for it.
I’ve been lucky with the rescue hens that I’ve kept over the years, being regular layers I’d never really thought about keeping other chickens for this purpose (although I’ve always admired certain types of hens for their looks). For some time now eggs have been like gold dust, it’s not really surprising considering the ages of my current hens and the conditions they endured before being rescued. Those who read my blog regularly know my feelings concerning battery or intensive farming methods, I’ve given homes to ex battery hens for the last 4 years. In all, around 17 rescue hens have spent their ‘retirement’ here. I’ve nursed many a hen back to health (very satisfying if a little mentally exhausting at times), some had a few months of freedom, some had many years. That’s how it goes sometimes.
So, for the need and pleasure of collecting our own fresh eggs, plus the worry of Emily being too much for poorly ex battery hens, I decided to buy some point of lay hybrid hens. It felt alien to me, ‘picking’ different coloured hens from a free range farm rather than having pale-faced scraggy brown hens gently placed into my boxes. On a rescue re-homing day there’s not usually any choice or time for ‘cherry picking’ the hens waiting to be rehomed, I often took what was given with joy in my heart and excitement of knowing the lovely life that awaited them, once we reached home. Rescue hens are usually silent in the boxes on the way home, they have no idea how much their lives are going to change for the better, no matter how long or short.
On the way home from the free range farm with my hybrid hens at the weekend, I could hear clucking and screeching coming from the boxes. The pecking order had already begun. I didn’t feel the usual excitement of having new hens, in fact I had a banging headache, and I knew why. Guilt. My decision to buy hybrid layers (or posh hens as I call them) was a difficult one for me to make, I adore all types of chickens and this is something I need to remind myself of at the moment. I will get over this phase I’m sure, I’m still raw from losing Lily and it’s all new to me, having pretty hens in the garden.
At the moment Emily is making sure the new hens know who’s boss, thankfully they’re far too quick and nimble for her to do any real harm. She’s doing a lot of chasing, ‘donking’ them on the head, shouting and food guarding. I’ve placed extra bowls of food inside the enclosure to make it more difficult for Emily, and to ensure the new hens eat. Bed time is amusing, the hybrids want to roost outside in the enclosure or up on top of the coop roof! I’m not used to having hens so agile! Once it’s dark I go out and gently place them back inside the coop, they need to know where to go at dusk just in case I cannot get them back inside once they start free ranging. At least then I know they will return at some point. It will all sort itself, it takes time.
No firm names for my hens yet, I’ve not really had a chance to think about that. What I need to do is bond with them first, perhaps then I will stop feeling so guilty for not adopting more ex battery hens.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 14, 2012
We collected six scruffy ex battery hens (our very first hens) from a Bedfordshire based hen rescue called Free At Last, four years ago today.
I’m really chuffed to announce that two hens from the original six that we collected are still here, still laying when the occasion takes their fancy and most definitely still scratching up the flower beds and chasing flies.
To find out more about Free At Last hen rescue, visit their website:
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 20, 2012
Sorry for the silly post title, couldn’t resist.
A few days ago I collected an enormous egg from one of my chicken coops, I literally blinked in amazement upon first seeing it. I could tell simply from looking at the massive egg that Lily hen had laid it – you recognise colour, shape and patterns of each of your hens eggs. Well I do anyway! The first thing I did was check her vent and general well being, everything looked OK so I picked the egg up for a closer look. The shell was firm and the egg was unsurprisingly heavy, but heavier than I had originally expected. I began to suspect a double yolk egg, so I cracked it open. This is what I found….
As you can see from the photo, there’s a normal yolk and what looked to be either a yolk covered in shell or a smaller round egg. I decided to open up the other strange-looking ‘egg’ to see what was inside…..
You can clearly see that there isn’t a fully formed normal yolk, I believe this to be a wind egg? Correct me if I’m wrong. Even though I was amazed at the contents, I know of all sorts of strange stories with eggs (not just from ex batts) from running my ex battery hens forum . Lily is fine and back to laying normal size eggs, her diet and general health is good so it isn’t anything related to that. She is, however, pretty old for an ex battery hen. Egg laying can present problems in older hens, so my wild guess would be that it’s something to do with her age.
I hope she doesn’t lay another one like this in a hurry.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on June 20, 2011
This is Becki, she’s an ex battery hen and I’ve had the pleasure to know her for 2 whole years. Her story is a funny one in the sense that she was never meant to end up staying here in the garden smallholding, alongside another hen called Hope. I was a rescue co-ordinator along with a friend of mine called Becki for Little Hen Rescue during one of their biggest rescues to date - 10,000 hens rescued over a number of weeks from a farm closing down.
Becki and I rehomed some of these hens from my garden. A few of the hens were just too poorly to rehome straight away so we kept them back to be collected by a person who fosters hens and looks after them until they’re healthy enough to be rehomed. One of the hens caught my attention immediately, she was dying. We saved her life there and then. I eventually named her Hope and she bought a ticket to stay. I couldn’t just take one (not ideal for introductions to my flock) so Becki hen got a ticket to stay too. At the time Becki hen was a poorly girl with a very sore leg, my friend Becki noticed her amongst the hundreds of hens roaming around so she gently scooped her up and put her somewhere quiet to be given some one-to-one care. So that’s how Becki hen got her name.
Becki hen looks so different now, her leg completely healed although she will always have a slight limp. Sadly Hope passed away last year but I will never forget her. Happy 2 year ‘henniversary’ Becki hen!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on May 23, 2011
I’m chuffed to bits to announce that today marks the 3rd anniversary of freedom for a couple of my original ex battery hens, Lily ‘Savage’ and Emily have been out of a battery cage for 3 whole years, whoopee! Believe it or not both hens are still laying quality shelled eggs every single day, usually taking a small break during the winter months for moulting purposes. I was trying to work out their ages last night and I reckon they’re either 4 or 5 years old which is pretty good going considering battery hens are not bred to last.
They really are the most amazing girls, funny characters and completely friendly despite Lily’s nickname Savage. You see, she is quite partial to the odd mouse if she can catch one – nothing to do with hurting people. This time last year I still had all 6 of my original motley crew – Dolly, Lizzie, Rose and Mrs N completed the line up, what a bunch of HUGE characters they were. As I watch Emily & Lily tucking into their favourite treat of sliced grapes a tinge of sadness washes over me for the other 4 girls we sadly lost, but I look back over the two years of freedom they did have with fond memories.
It’s more than most ex battery hens could ever dream of.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 20, 2011