Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Video (hopefully) of Joan - complaining (as usual) that she wasn't allowed any Bombay Mix!

LOL, she's a funny girl! Shortly afterwards, when I managed to appease her with cucumbers for them all, I managed to grab this:

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They're all so gorgeous :wub:
Moved the girls into their new lodgings on Saturday - they've now got a house like this:
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It's lovely and big, with nest boxes twice the sizeof their old ones, so Peggy & Betty are very comfy in there when they go to bed, and Joan has thicker, longer perches to settle on :)

As it's got felt on the roof and the ramp., I've siliconed every single join, so there's nowhere for red mites to get in from the felt now. House is Diatomed and Poultry Guarded :)

So... that means we *could* possibly have more rescued hens, although I think I'll wait for a while, plus getting someone to transport them back to me is difficult as thanks to my back problem, I can't drive.

I'm thinking of getting an automatic door opener for this house - I'll have to modify it to spring load the door so it opens in a drawbridge style, and it wont be able to close at night, but as long as they can have an early start to their day, it should be okay, I think.
Here's some recent photos of the girls - their feathers are starting to grow back, and you can definitely see a difference in them over the past month! :)

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Joan keeping me company after my back op:
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Betty - annoyed because the kitchen door was shut!
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and Bets again - that's her investigative pose!
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Well - the girls now assume our house is theirs, and spent most of the weekend chilling out in front of the fan in the kitchen! I washed the shower curtain, went into the downstairs bathroom to rehang it, all looked lovely - pulled it back to find all three girls on the bathroom mat staring up at me LOL - was hilarious, and they quite rightly assume they can do whatever they like :D

More photos of the girls:

Joan (front) and Betty sunbathing:
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Peggy hard at rest:
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Peggy staring at me, as I was staring at her to see what the heck was hanging out of her nostril... (was dirt)
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Here are some more of the girls - well, just Joan in these two as she's a sucker for the camera :)

She hops up onto the wall, then onto the patio table every evening when we sit out while they roam the garden, and after nibbling my nose on Tuesday, she decided to peck my tooth as I was laughing - it's hard not to laugh when a hen puts her head 1 inch away from your face and stares at you - LOL, she's a funny one :)

If she's not out FR with Peggy & Betty, she'll be guaranteed to be found in the kitchen by the fridge/freezer, or in the bathroom, LOL!

Joan relaxing in the chair next to mine:
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Again, it's Joan - waiting for the freezer to open so she can help herself to her frozen peas:
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I'll have to get a video of them chasing Mark up and down the garden when they see him carrying the tub they now know contains their live mealworms.. never seen any animals go that crazy for any treats before!!

Their feathers are starting to grow back - going to be so weird not having half bald little hens making themselves at home in the garden ;)

Yoghurt Time!

L-R: Peggy, Betty & Joan

They all have little bracelets on now (sounds prettier than leg rings!), so the neighbour that pops round to check on them during the day can tell them apart - Peggy = Pink, Betty = Blue & Joan = Yellow.. photos of them modelling their new jewellery to follow soon xx

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Well.... Joan (the bossy one, who's now as gentle and affectionate as can be) laid a double yolker yesterday! She even flew up and sat on my arm the other day!!
Another 2 hours spent in the rain with them yesterday - they won't leave me alone now, lol - they see me coming out into the garden and press themselves against the mesh to get to me, then go pelting round to the back cause they know they're either getting mealworms, getting to go out and free range, or both!

They've all twigged that when I'm out with the trowel, I'm either cleaning their house and run out, or digging up some worms for them - they all got a bit over-excited yesterday, and while I was trying to clean out their run, they all gathered round, stealing the poop from the trowel, and got very disappointed it was poop and not a juicy worm, lo!

The Girl's First Day of Freedom!

Everything was ready - the house, large run, feed, grit - everything... I can't remember being so excited!
After calling Linda to register for 3 ex-batts, she put me in touch with a lovely lady called Juliette, who collected my hens along with her 6 from Linda and Robert, and they finally arrived with me on Monday, 7th June 2010.

They settled in pretty much immediately, and although Mark and I already had the names in mind for them, each of them had a character which fitted their names perfectly, so they chose their own :)

They couldn't believe they were finally free to move around - for the first time, they had solid floor under their feet - no more wire mesh.. they had grass to stand on, dirt to dustbathe in, food and water readily available, and the freedom to wander around and do whatever they wanted to do. They were all hypnotised by the sun, and the sky - they'd never beed outside the factory before.

After a week in a 3 metre run, and going FR as soon as I got home to stay out there with them, Joan and Peggy were bullying Betty, so my hubby went out and bought two large runs for them so they had more space during the day. The change in the girls is amazing, and they're all alot happier and getting on better.

They're eating and drinking for England, pecking happily at the grass, and are already on pellets. I've wormed them , and their feathers are already beginning to grow back :D

They adore mealworms, so after getting through a packet of the dried ones, I've ordered them some live ones for this week - they should love those, and they've got another packet of dried until the wigglies arrive :)

On the evening of the third day, they decided it was time for bed at 9.15pm, so off they trotted, with Joan making sure everyone got in safely!

Joan is the top hen, with Peggy taking spot #2 in the pecking order, with poor old Betty at the bottom. However, since I'm a sucker for the small and weak, I've been helping Betty dig for worms, so she's become my shadow and follows me round every time she sees me with a trowel, lol :)

Here (hopefully, if I can do it right) are some photos of the gorgeous girls, and their extended run - we were going to build an open top one, but since Mr Fox came to eye them up on Sunday, we've decided against it, and their house and runs are totally fox-proof now :)

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The girl's day run

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Joan :) ♥ She looks a bit off-colour, due to her trying to eat a wasp yesterday morning!! She's back to normal now thank goodness :)

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Betty :) ♥ She was the only one to come up towards the camera, and seems to love having her photo taken, the poser!

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Peggy :) ♥ Just about to dig yet another 6 inch deep hole by the shed! As soon as I fill them in, she comes running back to dig it all up again, lol!

I love my girls to pieces already - and since arriving Monday, we've had 18 eggs in a week!! They're funny little ladies, with massive characters and I'm totally besotted with them... and as I love to let them out to free range, I've spent 75% of this weekend sitting out with them so they can forage and dustbath in the flower beds with me keeping a very careful eye over them to protect them from Mr Fox, and they get at least 2 hours out of their runs every evening during the week so they don't get bored. Bought them some parrot toys today and some seed and grit blocks, so hopefully they should give them something to do.

Thanks to Linda. Robert, and all the volunteers for everything you do, for all the hens you save, and for letting us lucky ones adopt them to give them (and us!) a very happy life xx

Welcome to our ex-battery hen blog!

Thanks to Linda & Robert, founders of Free At Last, the ex-battery hen rescue group, we were priviledged enough to rehome 3 beautiful ex-battery hens on June 7th 2010.

These little ladies have had an appalling life - each hen crammed into a tiny cage with 4-5 others, and each with under an A4 sized space in the wire mesh cage to spend 15 months of their lives.

If the hens aren't rehomed by a wonderful charity like British Hen Welfare Trust, or Free At Last, they are sent for slaughter.

More about battery hens here.. be warned - it's hard reading:

Chicken Farming Facts

There are currently over 20 million battery hens in Britain.

A hen enters a cage at 20 weeks (after artifical incubation) and will remain in the cage for an average of 52 weeks before slaughter.

Each hen has less space than an A4 piece of paper in which to move around, leaving:

- no room to flap and stretch

- no means to dust bathe

- no perch on which to roost

- no nest to lay an egg in (they never actually see what they produce)

- no natural daylight

70% of eggs produced in the UK still come from battery hens.

Only 6% are produced by barn reared hens.

24% are produced by free range hens.

On average a battery hen lays only 15 more eggs a year than a hen that has been kept in barn or free range conditions.