We are now the proud ‘parents’ of four former battery farm hens. We adopted these from The Animal Sanctuary and drove across to Dairy Flats last Wednesday to collect them.
They were part of a group of several hundred hens saved from being killed after reaching the end of their very first egg-laying cycle. This is usual practice for battery farms – they don’t wish to feed the hens when they go off the lay (the latter state being a natural part of a hen’s yearly cycle). Hens can’t keep laying eggs non-stop without a rest and usually go ‘off the lay’ for a few weeks when the days start to get a little shorter.
Our four new girls are in their own separate area, in their own house and sheltered amongst native vegetation.
For the very first time in their lives they can walk about freely, feeling the dirt under their feet and waking and sleeping by the natural day.
They don’t yet know how to perch, but have already figured out how to take a dust bath. We think this is pretty cool.
We’ll keep them apart from our other hens until their feathers have grown back some, and they are more confident in their surroundings. Then we’ll gradually introduce them to the flock and … in time, allow them to roam freely with their sisters.