Two years ago we took in some rescued ex-battery hens. We took in 4, as that seemed a good number. You have to get a minimum of 3 so they have company, and if introducing them to an established flock you need a few to help the introduction go smoothly, or the new (scrawny) hens will get picked on….
Rescued hens awaiting new owners.
When we lost our first hen, we thought it seemed a bit too quiet with just 3. We decided to take on 3 more to make it up to 6. The reasoning being that if we lost 3, we would still have 3, and we could get another 3…. 6 as a number worked really well.
It’s really rewarding looking after rescue hens. Just seeing them become fitter, healthier and friendlier is wonderful… and of course there are the benefits of the eggs…. Gloriously bright & tasty yellow yolks, like nothing you’ll get in the supermarket.
In fact recently we had to buy some free range eggs from Sainsburys supermarket (we needed some for a cake, and had run out). They were top of the range supermarket free range eggs… the best they had to offer…. and in comparison to the ones our hens are laying, even the best supermarket eggs lacked colour and flavour.
Anyway… We lost one, so dropped down to 5. Then a friend said he had 3 hens that he wanted to pass on, as his wife wasn’t too keen on them. I figured that 8 wasn’t too much of a step up from the 6 we’d had.
So…. his 3 joined our remaining 5, and up until early 2012 we had the 8 hens….
And then we lost two due to old age & complications. We were back to 6.
Early this year, T2 bowed out…
…and so did Mel.
Ex-batts can have quite short lives.
This is due to their breeding, and what they have been through.
Then last week another took a turn for the worse and passed away. We were back to 5, so we put our name down for 5 new rescue hens to make the number back up to 10…. yes, not 8… Well, the garden looked so empty without a good sized flock…
And then in the same week, before we had picked up the new girls, another of our old girls passed away… We were down to 4….
I quickly changed our order to 6 new rescue hens. We still wanted 10… 10 was enough. A good number. No more though.
Today we went to pick them up…. and the lady in charge had managed to rescue 100 extra hens and was offering to up people’s orders…
… which is why I drove home in the old Land Rover with 8 new rescue hens…. These ones were ex-free range, so in better health to start with.
Hang on… we’ve got neighbours…
The 8 lucky ladies
Hulahoop, Sonic, Lotus, Pingu,
Charger, Porsche, Phantom and Knickers
joined V8, 22, Ginger and Bunty.
That’s it… 12. No more.
They have good sleeping quarters, as Cluckingham Palace has two wings, each easily sleeping 6 birds – and 4 nest boxes.
Cluckingham Palace is full.
More photo’s of the 8 new ladies here.
Chris has more hen & animal related stuff over at Crispy Snippets.
If you want to look into ex-batt and ex-free rescue, then get in contact with the British Hen Welfare Trust. (Website or Facebook)
If you want a good start in getting a hen-house – or extending what you have – then contact Hen House World and tell them I send you! They are really helpful, and if you don’t mind damaged/returned parts, they can do a real good deal if you’re handy with the tools (It’s how I made Cluckingham Palace).