There is nothing quite like watching an ex-battery hen walk on grass for the first time. Confined to a cage for her whole life, she doesn’t know how to walk normally, her gait awkward, almost moving in slow motion. It fills your heart with a combination of sorrow for the life she has lead, and shear joy that she is now free. The only thing that can improve that feeling is knowing that you yourself are directly responsible for her freedom. This is the feeling that you get when you become a "Mother Clucker" to one of our rescue hens. At 18 months old, these girls have so much more life to live, and so much love to give!
Battery hens are known for being loving and charismatic companions, with a surprising love of humans considering we are responsible for their previous pain. But in a battery shed, the hens are left alone in the dusty darkness, so they have no idea that it is human greed that is responsible for their situation. They remain in this shed for 18 months, after which they start to slow down their egg laying and are deemed no longer economically viable for the farm. This is when they are culled, or in our case, this is when we rescue and rehome them. An 18 month old hen is not old, she is basically a baby!
In preparation for our upcoming rescue, let’s revisit a few of the ladies who have found their best lives living here at the sanctuary and beyond:
Cranberry came to us from the sheds suffering with a dislocated hip, as well as both of her wings previously broken and a previously broken leg. Months of being in a wheelchair, intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation eventually paid off and she recovered! She is a real character, always exploring the chicken coop with her distinctive walk. You would never know the pain she went through. She is super friendly and now such a picture of health. To the left is a photo of Cranberry when she was originally rescued.
When battery hens are very young, the tips of their beaks are cut off to prevent them injuring their cage mates through peaking that they may do, due to boredom or frustration. Unfortunately for Poppy, whoever tried to cut her beak was too rough, and appears to have bent her top beak in the process, so that it sits off at an odd angle. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to bother her one bit! She is a very cheeky and friendly hen, always up for a good chat, and always running off to explore the great wide world. She loves to give Rojelio the rooster kisses on the cheek too! Recently, Poppy went on to her forever home, passing the baton to the incoming batch of rescues who will soon get to call Happily Heifer’s hen hospital home.
Lucy is a free woman! We open the coop door each morning to let everyone out, and Lucy immediately flies up and out, off to spend her day in peaceful solitude. You’ll find a cluster of eggs atop a bale of hay, these are Lucy’s of course. She is living her best life, going wherever she pleases. She doesn’t let her past trauma hold her back whatsoever.
This October, our goal is to rescue as many hens as we can possible fit in our hen trailer, 300! We currently have homes for 138, so need more people too come forward as hen parents and adopt.
Please consider becoming a hen parent this October and spread the word, there is no better way to add a chicken to your family. You save a life and gain a loyal companion all in one swoop! If you have space in your home and your heart for two or more hens, please reach out. Every single life counts!