Shadrach's Ex Battery and Rescued chickens thread.

micstrachan

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I got 5 ex batts at 16 months old. I had also taken in 5 older hatchery birds from a family member a couple months before. I lost one of the ex batts within the month to some kind of internal issue. She had gone to roost one night looking slightly off and she was dead by morning. I lost another this summer. She had actually taken over as flock leader when the groups were put together and was a feisty figure. The hatchery hens I had gotten were ranging from 4-6 years old and the matriarch of the group was an old Buff Orpington that this ex batt fought brutally to take over from. I didn't have any roosters at the time but I did have some young cockerels and pullets running around and she beat them all into submission as well. She was named Godzilla by a family member of mine as her vocalizations were remarkably similar sounding to her namesake. She was famous for politely mugging small children for their snacks and was always underfoot. My birds are completely free to roam and she simply didn't come to roost one night. I never found any trace of her. I still have the other 3 in my flock of now 37 birds, 19 of which are the hatchery chicks I was given this spring along with some chicks that have hatched out here over the years.

Godzilla, a bit beat up from enforcing her tyrannical rule.
View attachment 2915572

Godzilla again
View attachment 2915573

The hen in front here is the first one that died. The other is still around.
View attachment 2915574
Awww… Godzilla! What a fitting name. Thanks for (briefly) sharing her story.
 

micstrachan

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Ok, Shad, I’m all caught up. I know I owe some tax, which will have to be double tax, as I don’t have roosters (yet).

Thank you for starting this outstanding thread. It reminds me a bit of the Beekissed thread I refer to from time to time, except you are dealing with genetically inferior birds compared to what she had to work with for her recovery mission.

As you know, I currently only have hatchery stock hens. However, my dream someday is to rescue battery hens and/or unwanted roosters. If I can one day realize that dream, this thread will be extraordinarily helpful.

Just a heads up, later on, I will be asking for your advice. I’m not ready to make changes right now, but I know free ranging is healthiest for chickens. The trouble is, mine were mostly raised by me, with the exception of Cashew’s chicks. Cashew was raised by me, so probably some lessons a chicken-reared mama hen would have delivered were likely missed. You also know we have a plethora of predators, including a hawk that seems to be visiting daily (hubby saw it swoop over the yard recently while I was at work and said it was huge).

So between your experience with your tribes in Spain and your experiences with the birds you are caring for now, I would (eventually) like your opinion on how to change my current set-up, taking the landscape, predators, chickens’ genetics and experience, plus my work schedule into consideration.

Right now, I just want to follow your thread… watch and learn. But at some point I will request your advice, even though I know it might hurt my feelings.
 
Jul 22, 2020
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that's a lovely picture. How many hens did you have?
Thank you. I had 5 ex batts. 3 of them are still here.
That’s a really cool photo! Amazing that you were able to capture the one and only shoulder perch!
Thank you. I thought it was pretty special. She sat on my shoulder for the next 20 minutes or so as I was walking around the goat pastures.
Awww… Godzilla! What a fitting name. Thanks for (briefly) sharing her story.
Thank you. She was very special and it was hard to loose her but I would rather them be able to go where they please then lock them up. Although the operation that they came from is heaven on earth compared to the caged battery houses, it is far from what a chicken should really have.
 
Jul 22, 2020
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Minnesota, USA
I figure by now I have put myself in debt with the tax authorities so here are a few payments.

Interesting note on the pictures below, you can see just how overgrown the hen's beak got during her brooding. She shaped it back down to normal size pretty quickly but I found it interesting how much it grew.

Baby Magpie with mama Sundew. She hatched out two clutches this year. The first, she only sat on one egg and hatched out Chickadee (pullet). This second clutch hatched 3/4 eggs in August. Magpie (cockerel), Jackdaw (cockerel), and their yet unnamed sister.
IMG_20210809_090511651.jpg

I can't tell the two black chicks apart from these angles but the one with the white head is Magpie. Sundew decided she didn't like the jar on the feed so she promptly got rid of it.
IMG_20210813_072635637.jpg


This picture is from last fall. Sundew is a young pullet here and is front and center. The pullet on the far left, named Falcon, is mother to Jackdaw and was a prolific egg layer until it killed her a couple months ago.
IMG_20201118_152145545.jpg


I particularly like this picture of Jackdaw. This was taken in October. The pullet behind him is his hatch mate and is a full blooded sister to Magpie.

IMG_20211025_171928622.jpg
 

micstrachan

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Santa Cruz Mountains, California
I figure by now I have put myself in debt with the tax authorities so here are a few payments.

Interesting note on the pictures below, you can see just how overgrown the hen's beak got during her brooding. She shaped it back down to normal size pretty quickly but I found it interesting how much it grew.

Baby Magpie with mama Sundew. She hatched out two clutches this year. The first, she only sat on one egg and hatched out Chickadee (pullet). This second clutch hatched 3/4 eggs in August. Magpie (cockerel), Jackdaw (cockerel), and their yet unnamed sister.
View attachment 2915965
I can't tell the two black chicks apart from these angles but the one with the white head is Magpie. Sundew decided she didn't like the jar on the feed so she promptly got rid of it.
View attachment 2915968

This picture is from last fall. Sundew is a young pullet here and is front and center. The pullet on the far left, named Falcon, is mother to Jackdaw and was a prolific egg layer until it killed her a couple months ago. View attachment 2915971

I particularly like this picture of Jackdaw. This was taken in October. The pullet behind him is his hatch mate and is a full blooded sister to Magpie.

View attachment 2915975
Wonderful tax!!!
 

Perris

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In many places in the allotment run the weeds have just been cut back with a brush cutter. This just makes the weeds grow back stronger. I prefer to weed by hand if I want the area to stay reasonably clear.
I'm sure you know that a lot of our weeds are very nutritious for the chickens (and people!), so I just referee between them, pulling out the thugs and anything apparently aiming for global domination, or going to prolific seed!

It's like when a human doctor decides to specialise.

The avian specialisation is an extra year in Australia.
what about the equivalent of a GP? Is being a jack of all trades not an option now?
In Australia they can be kicked out of the profession for transgressing the code of conduct.
but not for not even trying to help? Only acts of commission, not of omission, are punished?
And of course there are consequences. Namely, dead chickens and disgruntled owners.
as happens with untreated animals too.

Veterinary care here is quietly being industrialised :(. Practices keep their premises and names, but are actually owned and controlled by big corporations, who hike the prices and treat the vets as employees (in return for handling the ever increasing bureaucratic burden, which is what incentivizes independent vets to sell out to them).
 

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