Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Battery hens

While we are waiting for the youngsters to come into lay and knowing that we have only two girls, i decided to rescue a couple of battery hens. It's amazing, my local branch of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) rescued over a thousand birds recently and all found new homes, and i only had two.
Me and the girls picked them up one Saturday. I have to admit they were tatty but not as bad as I had expected. Their combs were floppy and pale, and they had an awful lot of feathers missing. We named them Bella and Cinnamon and settled them into the shed. They seemed very happy and one of them even layed us an egg within an hour of getting them home.
We had to adapt a chicken run kindly given to us by the neighbours to house them in until we introduce them to the rest of the crew. The youngsters are a bit smaller so we didn't want any problems. The run was a long corridor with corrugated plastic roof and a door at one end. I put cat boxes full of hay in there so they could have somewhere nice to go to bed and to lay.
Unfortunately Cinnamon decided after the first day that Bella needed to be picked on, and begin to relentlessly attack her. Pecking her and going for her with her claws everytime she tried to eat or drink. So, we had to adapt the run again. This time putting a wire partition in the middle and a new door at one end. This meant that they each had their own half of the run but could still see eachother through the mesh.
When the cats are in bed the hens come out free in the garden for a bit, which they LOVE. You can imagine they have only ever seen the inside of a battery cage. They strut about, scratching and making adorable happy chicken noises. There run is next to the youngters so they can start to get used to them now. When they are out they seem to get on okay, so hopefully they will all be together soon.
They are laying well and my eldest daughter makes cakes with the eggs before they have even had chance to cool! Soon we will be over flowing with eggs but i'm sure my sister and my parents will gratefully receive them!

1 comment:

Little Veg Patch said...

Isnt it amazing how their natural chickeny instincts kick in so quickly? Great to find another person who has made room in their life and heart for these fab little ladies.