Henniversary for Becki Hen

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!

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15 comments

  1. HAPPY HENNIVERSARY BECKI HEN!

    She looks so well, lovely story to go with it too.
    Sent a little thought up to Hope xxx

  2. Blimey moses where have two years gone, I only just spotted this on facebook.
    Happy henniwotsits Becki, you look beautiful.
    xx

  3. Well done to you and her. That makes her older than ours and one of them seems to have stopped laying already. They must be about 3 years old now as we’ve had them 2 years and 3 months. Yours must be best part of a year older.

  4. Karin, where has the time gone? It only seems a little while ago that you were just getting your chickens!

    I have 2 oldies, I’ve had them just over 3 years so they must be at least 4.5 – 5 years old now. They’re both laying everyday too. Is your hen approaching a moult? One of my other girls is just starting again and has stopped laying.

  5. If we ever get to move to the dream place with space for hens etc I will be in touch, battery farming makes me mad, and the thought of being able to help rescue some birds is a good one.

  6. Robin, the hen who has stopped laying, layed soft shelled eggs for a couple of weeks before she stopped laying. We gave them all a course of Vermex in case she had worms as I read that could have caused the soft shelled eggs, but there was no change afterwards. She looks healthy in all other respects and doesn’t appear to be moulting. Even if she is, none of them have completely stopped laying before. It is a bit of a mystery, but I’m assuming she’s just used all her eggs up.

  7. Have you tried increasing her calcium? There are many ways to do this, I’m sure you already know this anyway. As much as I like the idea of Vermex/Verm-X, being herbal etc I really only trust Flubenvet as a poultry wormer.

    There are other reasons for drop in laying, such as bacterial infections. Brachyspira is one example, this can cause a significant drop in laying or cause hens to stop altogether.
    Hens with the disease won’t always show obvious symptoms of feeling unwell, Brachyspira can be spread by rodents, flies and wildbirds.

    I’m sure you’re right about your hen, after all, you know her better than anyone else.

  8. We give the chickens grit with oyster shell, although I have read that this isn’t a good idea. I’m not sure what other ways there are to increase their calcium, but the other two are continuing to lay regularly.

    I’m not sure how I would know if she had an infection if she has no obvious symptoms.

    If you have any suggestions I would certainly consider them, Karen.

  9. Mine have constant access to poultry grit (to help grind food in the gizzard) and they have a small pinch of finely crushed oystershell added to the mash. There are many calcium supplements available to buy such as Zolcal D, lime stone powder (I’ve never used it but others rave about it) and good old Poultry Spice is high in calcium. A liquid tonic (goes in the drinking water) that I give my hens daily is Orego Stim, brilliant stuff!

    You could send a sample of her poopies to Retfords Poultry, just to make sure everything is OK, they are quite reasonable and can send meds through the post if needed. I get a calcium supplement from them for my birds. I hope this helps Karin.

  10. Yes, they have grit, but the oyster shell in it is quite coarse. The poultry grit is different from the first batch and hubby thinks the shell is coarser than before, but they’ve had it a while. On the other hand, Robin seems to peck Betsy’s feathers more than Amber does, so perhaps that is a sign she needs more calcium. Perhaps I should hunt down some finely crushed oyster shell and if that doesn’t work try a calcium supplement. I’ve got some poultry spice so shall start adding that straight away. I’ll see what hubby thinks about sending a sample off for analysis.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Karen. I’ll let you know what happens.

  11. Hi Karin,

    I’m going to shock you now, you would be surprised at what a hen can eat/crush in her gizzard….one of my hens for example regularly eats mice – WHOLE! I personally find it digusting but I cannot stop her doing it. Each morning I fully expect a crop problem so I do my normal check, amazingly nothing remains in the crop. Oyster shell, even in large pieces or jagged bits generally doesn’t do any harm. However, I prefer to give mine finely crushed oystershell to avoid possible crop problems which is something that ex battery hens can get from time to time – let’s not forget, their diet has mainly been powdered mash!

    Usually, if a hen is pecking at feathers to eat then I would suspect a need for protein. Feathers are mainly made up of protein and moulting hens will go for them if their levels are low. To combat this I feed dried mealworms, especially during the moult. But, it still could be a need for calcium. Whoever said hens were easy?!

  12. I knew chickens eat mice, although I thought that might be the bigger chickens not hybrids. We noticed a mouse had been in the feeder a while back, but presumably something has eaten it as there has been no sign of it lately. We thought a fox had it, but maybe one of the chickens spotted it one morning or evening. So, the chickens could have picked something up from the mouse.

    For now I shall give them dried meal worms and poultry spice and see if that makes any difference. I did get some sunflower seeds to add to their feed a while back in case they were low on protein, but I have forgotten about them lately.

    Thanks for all your advice, Karen.

  13. My girl is 6 yrs old now, though we lost her sister last week, and she is still laying at least 3 eggs a week. She went into a megga moult 2 yrs ago, oven ready, but is beautifully feathered and has a gorgeous red wattle now.

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