Look at the amazing difference in my Rescue Hens!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Willowfield, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Willowfield

    Willowfield In the Brooder

    I got 2 rescue hens from Barbara at the 'Nuthouse Hen Rescue' also known as 'Northern Ireland Battery Hen Rescue' in Moira. They were to keep my other hen company after losing her companions. They were rescued from a free range egg farm and were saved from slaughter at only 18 months!

    Barbara had many poor souls needing homes and although many had terrible feather loss, I had to choose 2 in the best condition as I was worried about my own healthy and dominant Bluebell hen bullying them. I named them Chocolate & Brownie and they settled in well with Bluebell tho she sadly died not long after as a result of an infection.

    They had to be taught to scratch for food scattered on the lawn and forage free range, as although they were 'free range' they were used to eating from metal feeders, but it didn't take long, especially when they got a taste for sweetcorn and breadcrumbs!

    Their recovery was slow but rewarding. They weren't bald as most factory birds are, but each had bare patches, thinning feathers, and really droopy pale combs. Frankly I've seen rescue hens in much worse conditions and almost bald make miraculous recoveries in loving homes, but I'm very pleasantly surprised with my birds progress. Just look at the colour of the combs in the before & after, not to mention their weight gain! Talk about stuffed chickens lol !

    Chocolate was in the better condition with her comb not so droopy and she was feisty enough to send our dog Tara off with a peck when she got too close! Brownie was really droopy and pale and had a huge bald patch on her chest but she is just a wee dote.

    I have found them to be great companions, they love human company (much more than my previous hens from a breeder) and come running to be picked up and cuddled. I would highly recommend rescue hens, and they usually continue to lay if you're interested in eggs (I'm not so I just feed them back to them with the shells ground up) and mine have continued to lay, though at a reduced number, right through winter this year!
    I love them :)

    IMG_20170726_135150.jpg IMG_20170724_154316.jpg Chocolate Mar 18.jpg Chocolate & Brownie Mar 18.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  2. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    Wow - what a difference! They look fantastic now! Sadly 'free range' can mean having a large concrete area where they can go outside. They are very lucky to have found their way for you, that's for sure.
    puffypoo22, 007Sean, N F C and 2 others like this.
  3. LowLady

    LowLady Songster

    Jan 13, 2018
    They look fantastic now! Thank you for rescuing and loving them! Although mine did not come from farming situations I’ve rescued 18 chickens from 2 different situations.
    puffypoo22, 007Sean, N F C and 2 others like this.
  4. happyhens1972

    happyhens1972 Songster

    Jul 24, 2013
    Worcester, UK
    They look fantastic...well done you! It was rescuing ex batts that started my chicken obsession nearly ten years ago. I don't have any at the moment but hope to rescue a couple when the weather warms up a bit. It is such a rewarding experience watching them turn into 'real' chickens...healthy, happy, able to run and flap and perch and peck. I shed many a tear watching my original six girls turn from practically bald, scabby, floppy combed, weak legged wrecks into plump, beautifully feathered, mischievous little madams! As you say, they are very human-friendly, despite what humans have put them through, and my last one, Hesta, lived to be eight years old, laid until she was seven and a half and hatched me a brood of 16!!!!! chicks by sneaking off and doing it on the quiet! Gosh, I sure adored that hen! xxx
  5. Willowfield

    Willowfield In the Brooder

    Thanks, yes I'm very pleased with them. Yes, unfortunately free-range here usually means they're kept in excessively large numbers in sheds with doors so they can access outside. The reality is that hens, being hens, will guard their territory including those at the doors, so few actually make it outside. Not to mention, despite having their beaks singed or cut off, they still peck each other and cause damage, and their feathers are in terrible condition. It's obvious from their drooped pale combs that they are not in good health or happiness. It's certainly nothing like the 'Disney' style adverts of farmers in the field shaking out treats to fat brown fluffy hens gathering round him!
    JaeG and puffypoo22 like this.
  6. Willowfield

    Willowfield In the Brooder

    That's great, isn't it so rewarding to rescue and give these poor creatures a happy life.
    LowLady likes this.
  7. Willowfield

    Willowfield In the Brooder

    Thanks, I love them. Yes, hope you can rescue more soon. Sorry to hear about Hesta but you can take pride in the happy life you gave her. It breaks my heart how animals are so forgiving of humans, despite the horrific cruelty inflicted on them by some. Eight years is a good long life, you obviously cared a lot for all of them, and of course got joy in return (and eggs)! I never had a rooster so no danger of chicks from hidden eggs, and our dog Tara usually found any that weren't in the coop! Tara fetched an egg !.jpg
    JaeG and puffypoo22 like this.
  8. N F C

    N F C is it nap time yet?

    Dec 12, 2013
    It's nice to see the before and after photos...they look great now!
    JaeG, puffypoo22 and Willowfield like this.
  9. Willowfield

    Willowfield In the Brooder

    Thanks, yes i can highly recommend doing this, they're great :)
    JaeG likes this.
  10. LowLady

    LowLady Songster

    Jan 13, 2018
    It is ! The first 3 turned into six then a whole rescue flock of 12. This makes me want to save ex battery hens now !
    Willowfield likes this.

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