I put my name down for more rescue hens from Little Hen Rescue, the rescue took place over the weekend and I made the short journey to collect them on Sunday.
I’m gaining their trust very quickly by hand feeding and talking softly, allowing them to come to me in their own way and time. I plan to integrate them carefully with our other two rescue hens soon, once the usual hissy fits have subsided I will update again with new photos.
Yesterday I lost one of my beautiful ex-caged hens. Honey was rescued and spared slaughter last August by a wonderful hen rescue organisation called Little Hen Rescue. She came to our garden smallholding with 2 other rescued hens and spent the rest of her time as free as a bird. She was quite a character, quickly securing position as top hen within the little flock, even trying her best to intimidate my Coral hen housed next to them, through the wire.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed Honey had problems with her crop emptying properly, I kept an eye on the situation and helped her by massaging the crop contents and administering an oil to lubricate (suitable for poultry), to move the blockage along. This is important to prevent the crop contents from souring, or, becoming completely impacted. Usually this is enough to remedy the problem and for a few days it seemed to be working.
Honey started to withdraw from the flock again and the crop felt doughy on inspection, I checked her over and discovered a hard lump or mass underneath her which felt a bit like an egg (although she wasn’t displaying any signs of being egg-bound). I took her to see an avian vet to be examined, the hard mass that I felt was her gizzard which was now completely blocked. We agreed to see if we could try to shift the crop and gizzard contents along by giving her Metoclopramide injections, along with a probiotic and medication to prevent sour crop. I was told that it was most likely a tumour rather than infection or any other factor causing the blockage but I wanted to try a bit longer to see if we could turn the situation around. I brought her inside permanently to keep her warm, looked after her and prayed for a miracle.
Despite my best efforts of nursing Honey, she deteriorated very quickly within a few days. Her crop and gizzard contents had not responded to treatment and she was frightfully thin and very weak. Another appointment to see the vet was made, after seeing and examining her again the mutual decision was made to give her sleep to end any suffering, allowing her to pass away peacefully and humanely.
I’m comforted by the fact that she escaped the egg industry and a grisly ending, that she free-ranged and felt the sun on her back and grass between her toes. Anyone who gives a home to these girls knows they have unique personalities, you want them to live an unusually long and happy life.
Goodbye Honey, thank you for the laughs and cuddles. You were one funny, feisty little hen. Fly free x
To find out more about Little Hen Rescue, forthcoming rescue dates or how to donate to help fund rescue running costs, please visit their website: http://littlehenrescue.co.uk
I like the title of this post. It describes something positive, something happy and warming. It’s exactly how I felt yesterday, collecting our new rescue hens. Three little girls came home with us to start a new life, they’re a much-needed tonic for me and everything I can possibly give them will be a tonic for them too. I’m pouring every ounce of optimism and energy that I have left (after a very traumatic few weeks) into ‘fixing’ these lovely little hens. They truly are rays of sunshine.
They’re a bit hen-pecked I know, also very tired and extremely pale. One hen in particular is terrified of everything, including other hens, but she’ll come round once she realises she doesn’t have to hide or be afraid for her life anymore. I named her ‘Pumpkin’ because she travelled home on my lap wrapped in an orange blanket. The name just seemed to fit. It will take a little longer for her to adjust than the others (sometimes, as I watch Pumpkin pitifully trying to make herself invisible by crouching low to the floor or trying desperately to find somewhere to hide because another hen joined her at the feeder, I find myself drifting off and thinking about how awful her time in a cage must have really been).
Don’t allow their current appearance to mislead you, as sorry as they look they’re very interested in what this new life with us has to offer, adjusting to the new accommodation, environment, sounds, smells and us humans very quickly, they literally just get on with it and I’m always in awe of this reaction from newly rescued hens.
Just how long these dear little hens have left in this world is unknown, it could be months, it could be years. I don’t care about eggs, it’s not what they’re here for, whatever time they have it will be miles much better than they’ve previously known and hopefully I can put a ray of sunshine back into their lives too.
Quick edit: A little snippet video of Pumpkin, feeling the sunshine
Do you have room in your chicken coop and space in your garden? Can you offer a retirement home to ex-caged laying hens? Yes? Little Hen Rescue would love to hear from you!
Another rescue is scheduled for June 15th with the majority of lucky ladies going to Little Hen Rescue’s base in Norfolk, the rest to Cambridgeshire with collection points in Manea and Haddenham (small amount near Grafham Water).
Reserve your hens today via Little Hen Rescue’s website, choose where you’d like to collect your hens and email the appropriate area (Norfolk or Cambs).
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: http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk/Pages/Adoptinghens.aspx
Ex Battery Hens Forum (you can find me there), a friendly community to chat with other people who keep rescue hens http://www.exbatteryhens.com
I’d like to introduce you to a couple of sweet little hens, meet Willow and Grace. They were rescued yesterday by a hen rescue organisation called Little Hen Rescue (along with 300 others) from a farm operating the new enriched cages. A couple of the hen rescuers happen to be friends of mine and live locally to me.
I arrived at my friend’s place with my pet carrier packed with soft straw and a bowl of crumb. I was met with pale but pretty little faces and tired thin bodies, instantly my eyes were drawn to Grace. My friend scooped Willow up and handed her to me, painfully thin with a floppy comb I loved her instantly. In she went, into my pet carrier along with Grace and away we went. I’m keeping them in a very large dog crate inside my warm garage for now, just until they find their feet and put a bit of weight on their bones. The last thing they need is to be chased away from the feeders by my larger and fitter hens. They’re free to roam my large empty garage during the day, there’s plenty of natural ventilation and natural daylight. I can see them at all times to ensure they’re safe from predators and tend to their every need.
The enriched cage that my hens came from superseded the now banned barren cage, ‘enriched’ meaning to allow the hens that occupy these cages for 15 – 18 months before slaughter to carry out natural instinctive behaviour. The cages are supposed to give them a little more space, a scratch pad, nesting material and a perch. I will allow you to form your own opinion from these photos, but for me, I’d say a cage is a cage. Who’s to oversee how many hens are being kept per enriched cage? If you imagine barns of say, 20,000 hens, perhaps 2-3 per farm, you’re talking a lot of foot and paper work. I doubt it happens, in fact I’d go as far to say it probably doesn’t.
After a busy day of building a nest fit for a swan (Willow was a tad over enthusiastic) and dust baths in the ex batt crumb food, they’re settling down for the night in a thick bed of straw, safe from the slaughter man.
I’ve decided to give a home to another pair of rescue hens, recent events spurred me on to make contact with Little Hen Rescue again, to put my name down for their next rescue which is happening on 7th July. This rescue is for hens currently in the new ‘enriched’ cage system, barren battery cages were changed over to the new enriched cage system earlier this year – call them what you like but to me an animal in a cage is still barbaric, scratch pad and a bit of nesting material or not.
The birds are approximately 18 months old and up for slaughter unless homes can be found. I will be bringing home two ladies from the Cambridge collection point on 8th July, it has been a few years since I collected rescue hens and I’m super excited for the life they will have here.
Collection from Norwich and Cambridge with an occasional collection point in Essex. If you would like to give a home to some deserving hens, email to express your interest and book a time with the co-ordinator via the website here: http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk/Pages/Adoptinghens.aspx
If you would like to learn more about enriched cages, watch this video filmed inside a farm operating these cages in the UK. I will warn you, it will probably make your heart bleed.
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!
Little Hen Rescue is a Norfolk based poultry rescue, rescuing and re-homing battery hens, barn hens and other types of poultry including turkeys, geese and ducks. Little Hen Rescue currently have a large number of ex battery hens waiting for good homes, the space is needed to be able to carry out further planned rescues. Could you offer a pet home for some deserving ex battery hens? If you think you can, or you are in need of more information please contact Little Hen Rescue through their website:
Homes are what Little Hen Rescue really need at the moment, there are other ways of helping by spreading the word elsewhere – advertising in your local vets for example would be very helpful. Perhaps you feel you would like to offer a small donation? Donations are always gratefully received by Little Hen Rescue to help cover food, medical and transport costs. Little Hen Rescue is a non-profit organisation, they exist simply to improve the lives of current UK laying hens. They will from time to time take in other poultry where space allows.
On behalf of Little Hen Rescue, thank you for reading this appeal.
Little Hen Rescue are in desperate need of donations. On Saturday one of the 4×4 vehicles and it’s trailer transporting newly rescued ex battery hens was involved in a freak accident resulting in part of the A14 being closed. Many hens sadly died at the scene but there are injured hens that are currently being cared for.
Donations to help with feed costs is what LHR need most, £5 would buy a sack of feed. Please, even if it’s £1 go to their website and donate all you can. LHR wouldn’t normally ask but this is an emergency.
We have another ‘henniversary’ going on here, Becki and Hope, one year out of the cages today. I was a rescue co-ordinator this time last year for Little Hen Rescue and I helped to re-home just under 100 ex battery hens from my garden smallholding. I wasn’t planning on keeping any of the hens for myself, but for different reasons Becki and Hope bought a ticket to stay.
It was a rocky road for them both and reaching this milestone makes it all the more special. Happy freedom day girls!
For the past couple of weeks I have been tending to the needs of 3 new ex battery hens. These hens were being ‘fostered’ by friends of mine, lovely ladies who dedicate their spare time to caring for smashed up ex battery hens that cannot be re-homed straight away. They foster ‘off their legs’ girls from the hospital wing of Little Hen Rescue and give them one to one care at their homes. These 3 hens were ready for the next stage of their new lives, we had some room so I agreed to take them on.
We have named them Poppy, Dot and Ethel. Poppy was very bald, known as a ‘oven ready’. She was weak when rescued and painfully thin but she is doing brilliantly now and almost fully feathered. Dot and Ethel are leg issue girls, only two good legs between them but they get about in their own’ elderly’ fashion and seem to grab life by the scruff of the neck. Yeah they are slow and don’t particularly look ‘pretty’ (Ethel is de-beaked, probably as a chick GRRRR) but I think they are amazing, seeing as they could not walk at all about a month ago. One of our other ex battery hens ( Becki ) was a hop-along, she does great now and her slight limp is hardly noticable.
They are all doing well so far and a pleasure to look after, Ethel is extremely hand tame and a funny little character. She has the most adorable face although I realise not everyone will see what I do. Eventually her beak will naturally wear down. Dot and Ethel may never walk properly again, only time will tell with these two wonky girls. If they stay disabled then it may be best that they live together in accommodation suited to them,rather than being mixed in with the other hens. We shall just have to see how things go.
Little Hen Rescue have 500 ex battery hens looking for homes. If you have the space and time, please consider giving a few ex battery hens a home this Christmas, it will be one of the most rewarding things you have ever done.
Just a few photos of our two new ex-convicts soaking up the sun. Very pleased with Becki’s progress, the limp that she had has almost disappeared, I’m pretty certain that she was stiff from lack of exercise. New fresh feathers are already sprouting and both lay tiny little eggs.
What a big hat Becki has!
Its too soon to join some of the other girls, they need more rest to build up weak limbs and they both could do with gaining more weight. Some of their poops have been a bit iffy so they are being sent to a poultry lab for testing, just to be on the safe side. If anything is lingering then it can be sorted quickly.
I think they are enjoying life at our Battery Hen Haven!
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.
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.
A rescue is happening this weekend on the 24th January, over 2,000 battery hens will be freed from their cages, many with homes already lined up. There may possibly be a joint rescue with another hen rescue, a possible 7,000 hens could very well be free very soon!
If you have room in your life for some chickens please consider ex battery hens. They are so worth it.
If you would like to find out more please visit the following rescues: