Towards our goal of reaching self sufficiency in our (rented) city home, the weekend before last, we adopted 3 x battery hens.
Meet Nim, Poe and Mai.
I found a locally run project to rescue x-battery hens that are bound for the slaughter yard. The hens are typically around 18 months old, and whilst they still have a number of years left in them of laying, they’re beyond their laying peak and are no longer ‘commercially viable layers’. They are a little manky looking at the moment, they've not been treated well - including some serious de-beaking. These girls have been in vet care for 2 months before I even got them, so I hate to think of the condition they would have been in to begin with.
They slept in a box in the bathroom for the first few nights, and free ranged all day over the weekend while my husband and brother in law set about making a coup for them. They’ll continue to free range all day to their hearts content, and roost in their coops to keep them safe from cats at night. I think all up with materials, the coop cost us about $80 to make.
Nim, deciding that the new coup would do very well thank you very much,– with electric saws, and sanders going, she very calmly refused to move. She has paint speckles all over her now where she sat with me while we painted the coup.
Nim has been a special case, none of the chickens like her –she had to be kept separated at the adoption centre because they made her stand in a corner all day. Thinking that with just the 3 chickens and a new environment, she might find her niche in the pecking order, I happily took her home. I was wrong. They still don’t like her. Funny thing is, she doesn't seem to be interested in ‘hanging out’ with the other chickens anyway! I have to make sure she gets her share of feed, and they appear to be slowly accepting her, at least to the point of not making her stand in a corner all day anyway. She’s a beautiful chicken, we have high hopes for them all. We may possibly add another 3 chooks to the flock, one at a time of heritage breeds in the future.
You can see clearly the debeaking here on Nim - they chop off the top beak. Eventually the bottom should wear down to make it even, in the interim, we just need to be careful with what we feed them. They don't recognise anything non granulated as being edible at the moment anyway.
I am not a fan of poop on the verandah, but all in all, I love the new additions to our garden and home. They certainly make the yard more complete. I can't wait for them to settle in properly and start learning how to be chooks.