Monday, 30 June 2008

Rescued


"I am confused. I lived in the big shed with all my sisters, crowded in, beak to tail. It was hot and noisy and bright. We ate and squabbled and laid eggs. That was my life, until today.
Today a man came into the shed and grabbed me and three of my sisters. It hurt as he held us roughly by our legs and took us from the crowded shed into big, wide-open space. I was dazed and dizzy as we all four were thrust into a box and the lid taped down. Then it was dark for some time. There were strange sounds and the box moved as if we were in motion.
Then the box opened and a woman I had never seen before lifted us gently out into brightness. The air moved strangely, ruffling my feathers. The ground beneath my feet was strange, soft, tufted green. My sisters and I stood, dazed and confused, huddled together not knowing what to do.
Other beings which looked a bit like chickens watched from a nearby pen. But they do not look like any real chickens I have ever seen. They are covered in feathers with no bald patches, and they move confidently over the strange green ground, scratching and muttering happily to themselves, and gazing curiously at us.
We huddle together for comfort wondering what strange place this is, and what will happen here.
I am confused. Is this heaven or hell?"

16 comments:

willow said...

Oh the poor things. I'm so glad that they are now going to have a nice life in the countryside.

Moon said...

OOOOoooo bless its little ever beating heart!!!!!
And mucho mucho blessing on you for her rescue!!!

What her name? I vote for Norma Jean....
;0)

miss*R said...

it is heaven!! love you for doing this.. how could anyone keep a little hen in such dreadful cramped conditions that they lived in previously. I love chickens and they all deserve a life like you have given these girls xoxo

Reya Mellicker said...

It's heaven on a hillside in Wales, dear one.

What a sweet post. Made me want to cry. You know that good deeds strengthen the soul, right? Moonroot your soul is like a superhero. Bravo!!

The Dragon said...

Well done you for getting 4 more chickens and giving them a decent stab at life

Cottage Smallholder said...

Brilliant writing as ever, Moonroot. It bought a lump to my throat.

Jopan said...

how on earth do you go about rescuing such chickens? do you just go to the farm and demand chickens? i would love to do it.

beweaver said...

oh. What a lovely post... Poor but now lucky babies.

Moonroot said...

The new girls and I thank you for all your good wishes. I'm happy to report that they seem to be settling in well, they've figured out the new feeder/drinker and are comfy in their house. They were making endearing sleepy murmurs when I shut them away for the night just now. They're kept separately from the others for the time being, partly as 'quarantine' until I can be sure I'm not importing any illnesses or parasites, and partly so they can regain their strength and find their feet before being absorbed into the existing flock.

Jopan, if you or anyone else would like to adopt some ex-battery hens, a good place to start is the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, http://www.bhwt.org.uk/index.php. They co-ordinate nation-wide hen rescue and also have lots of helpful advice on their website.

In the case of our new chooks, I found out via the local grapevine that a local battery farm was offering what they call 'spent hens' at £1 each throughout June. These are hens which are a year old, and they are disposed of at the end of their first year before their egg-laying capacity starts to drop. The lucky ones get re-homed - the unfortunates left behind I imagine go for pet-food. I only wish I could have taken more than 4 - as it was I had told T I'd only get 3, but I felt so sorry for them...

If the BHWT can't help in your area, you could always find a local battery egg producer via the Yellow Pages and phone to ask if/when they have 'spent hens' available. My understanding is that most egg producers have a clear-out at least once a year.

Moon - as for names I'm thinking something that reflects their 'survivor' story. Perhaps Ginger, Babs and Mac (from 'Chicken Run') and Gloria (as in Gloria 'I Will Survive' Gaynor). What d'you all think?

Caitlin said...

What a fantastic thing to do, I must find out if we have something similar over here.

I hope the new girls live blissfully happy lives from now on.
Caitlin
XX

dragonfly said...

Wow...there is so much that goes on with our food production that I am not aware of...unconscious. Out of sight out of mind. No more. Thankyou for sharing this. I am sure it was really hard only taking 4.

:o) Elizabeth

Breezy said...

What a shocking photo. It really brings home the realities of life for battery hens. I'm glad they are settling in. Four who will experience a proper chicken life.

Leanne said...

as a fellow rescuer/re-homer of ex battery hens, I can only add how rewarding it is to watch their rehabilitation, and to see the joy they experience in being a free hen, living a proper henny life. Everyone should know fully what these hens go through- there shouldnt be any caged hens anywhere, anymore. Sadly I know that is a long way off

Leanne x

Mandy and James said...

Am so glad you have rescued them - after the life they've had they deserve a bit of good fortune - and falling into your care is good fortune indeed.

Moon said...

I love those names too....
a rose by any other name is still a rose..lol
Keep us updated as she gets healthier and grows her beautiful feathers back.
p.s.
I had thought of Norma Jean because once upon a time Norma Jean was a bit on the plain side with a less then wonderful start in life, but became the very beautiful Marilyn Monroe. Im sure she will be just as gorgeous with your love and tender care!
nemaste!

solsticedreamer said...

oh well done you for this rescue...the poor poor things...how lucky they are now.