Around February, my family decided to rescue four hens from over-crowded, tightly packed and filthy conditions after they were rescued from going to slaughter. They had never before experienced the outside, the feel of grass or any knowledge on how to live like normal chickens. They were reasonably underweight and virtually redundant of any feathers.
Most people are either unaware or more of the case just unsympathetic to the way battery hens are kept for the mass production of eggs.
After 18 months of egg laying the hens are no longer wanted and are shipped off to be slaughtered as low quality meat due to the purpose of their initial rearing.
Our four hens took time to adjust and learn the basics such as climbing into their coop. There was a clear hierarchy amongst them with some mild fighting occasionally happening but the tightly packed conditions from where they came would have definitely contributed to that behaviour.
One of the hens, Doris (they were all given old lady names), was a lot more reluctant to explore the garden and would stay behind while the other three would follow anyone around the garden. All four took little time to become excellent at feeding from the hand and even Doris eventually became as friendly as the others.
An added benefit from rescuing these hens is free and fresh eggs every day! At first the egg supply was a little low but as the birds began to look a lot more healthier the eggs became more numerous and bigger with yolk more yellow than any shop bought egg.
As you’d have probably figured out, more space the merrier for chickens to roam about. Like most friendly animals they are very curious and often go exploring in bushes and can dig out plant pots to have a dust bath in! Also they can be quite the pooers, although nowhere near as bad as cats and dogs, it can be numerous (depending on the number of chickens) and frequent.
Overall rescuing a chicken will both be an added benefit to you with the additional friendly characters in the garden and the best eggs you’ll ever have, but also a life saver for those hens. I couldn’t recommend rescuing hens highly enough!
If you live in Britain check out these guys to find rescued hens:
Otherwise, with a simple search online you’ll find some in need straight away