Is an ex- battery hen worth the trouble?


Gone Broody
12 Years
Mar 17, 2008
Be careful. A lot of battery hens are given live vaccines and they can shed the virus and infect your birds with those diseases. I would try to find out what those hens were vaccinated with before adopting them.


12 Years
Apr 6, 2007
Quote:Commercial flocks are also infected by or carriers of active chicken

I love the idea that people want to give these abused birds a life.

Just be careful and aware.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


13 Years
Jan 17, 2007
New Jersey
Betty is a hen that I adopted who had been 'debeaked'. I guess the level of difficulty eating depends on just how much of the beak is cut off. She did just fine.

To see her utter joy in discovering grass and bugs and sunshine - and love (she loved my roo BJ) - was the best feeling...

Thanks for wanting to help another hen find joy in this life.



10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
Evesham, Worcestershire, UK
Here in the UK, there are waiting lists months long to adopt battery hens. They can't get them out of there and processed (veterinary checks, jabs, etc) fast enough to keep up with demand. As far as I'm aware, there are no problems with feeding ex-batts normal layer's pellets. The Battery Hen Welfare Trust over here does advise feeding them crumbs or mash for the first few days and phasing in pellets gradually, but I don't know anyone whose hens had trouble eating them.

For a short time I had a couple of hybrid birds, originally bred for the battery farm but surplus to requirements so sold as pets, who had docked beaks (top shorter than bottom) and they ate and drank completely normally. They only didn't stay because my BO (who was massive in comparison) bullied them relentlessly and I couldn't resolve it to the point where I was happy that they wouldn't be having a miserable time. (They went back to the lady I bought them from and were both rehomed together to a chap with a load of rescued battery hens and a huge orchard for them to play in.)

There's no reason not to give these girls a chance - they will be in a sorry old state when they arrive, but they just need a bit of TLC and some boosted nutrition to help them re-feather, and they'll soon be right as rain.


12 Years
Jun 27, 2007
Quote:Gladly :) They were pretty ugly when we picked them up, the Hens much more than the Roo. Here are a few shots of the Hens:

first time trying a treat of chops

the shot below is about a month after we got them, they were just starting to get some feathers back

here are some shots of the 1 roo we rescued, we called him Snowball, he doesn't crow, doesn't top the girls and is literally like a puppy dog..wants to be touched and held, follows me all over the yards, loves to talk to us.

here he is talking to my Husband by the back porch, I snapped it with my cell phone so it's not a crisp photo

The Hens aren't as loving as the roo but I believe they'll come around. They are much more timid than your average chicken. These are Cobbs. We've had them just over 3 months and just started getting eggs from one of the Hens a few days ago..big monster brown eggs LOL

ETA: The Hens love love love running into the pasture and scratching in the horse can be seen by the "dirt" on their feet! I was worried that they might get stepped on since they move slower than our other chickens but they do great out there.
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11 Years
Nov 5, 2008
Cincinnati, Ohio
I got some ex battery hens (RI's)about a year ago. When I first put them in the coop they just stood there & wouldn't look at me. They just weren't used to moving around. Their top beaks were horribly done & are extra short & deformed. One hen looks like she has one large nostril accross the top of her beak. They have no problems eating or drinking. They love to free range everyday & catch bugs & eat grass despite their beaks. They lay eggs everyday. I would have to say one draw back is I just lost 3 this spring to internal laying. Poor things are bred for such high production I think they are more likely to suffer reproductive problems at a younger age than most birds. Otherwise they are just like all my other chickens.

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