Friday, 22 May 2015

A Life of Freedom

Two weeks ago I opened up my collection point for Fresh Start for Hens. Fresh Start for Hens are an organisation that I volunteer for. They rescue the hens before they go to slaughter and find them homes. Every few months I open up my garden to these little beauties. I give them all a health check; which takes a while when you have over 50 hens. I give them fresh food and water and sit with them until their new owners come and collect them, to take them to their forever home.  
This rescue, the hens were all barn hens, I was quite surprised at the feather loss to be honest. It breaks my heart to see them like this but in true hen character they were all active and tucking into the feast that was provided. They never fail to make me laugh, they have their own little personalities too. Some are really nosy and will come and see what you are doing. They all had their first taste of grass. They mowed my lawn for me which saved me digging the flymo out at the weekend(yes I strim it all as we have no lawn mower). This lady above had this piece of grass hanging out of her beak for a while, she made her claim on it and was not letting go. 
As I carried out my head count of the hens I found I had one extra hen. Having lost one of my girls earlier in the year to egg yolk peritonitis, I had room for one more. That is when I saw her. A scrawny, almost featherless hen who looked paler than the rest. I quickly started to make a quarantine room for her. Once her space was ready I scooped her up away from the rest of the group and allowed her to rest. I carried on with the rescue. Slowly but surely I waved the rest of the hens off on their new journey. A journey that carries them to better places. Places of freedom, places of grass a plenty, places where they feel the sun on their backs and wind through their feathers.
Turning my attention to my new lady I checked on her, she was so timid. Her little head poking out to see me as I talked softly to her. 
My youngest daughter is as crazy about animals as I am. I picked her up and carried her outside. She asked why the hen had no feathers, she felt compassion towards our new, frightened hen. She then asked her name. I told her that she had no name at the minute. A puzzled expression came across her face, then she announced that she had a good name for her. I thought here we go, we will have a new Disney princess. She then surprised me, she named her Lucy. So here she is, Lucy the hen with a few feathers on her tail and some on her wings, everywhere else is bald. She has a wound on her back that is healing and feathers are now starting to grow. I will update on her progress soon. I urge you to buy locally sourced eggs, from farms that show you their set ups or buy from neighbours who keep hens. Better still why not keep a few hens of your own, you will never taste a better egg.

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