rescue chickens

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hedgerow pete

Queen Bee
Jan 26, 2009
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UK, Birmingham, Sandwell. Pork scratching Bandit c
Hive Type
as part of my zoo at the allotments i have to replace the last of my old age chickens so i am having some ex battery chickens, there are many web sites and people doing it so if you want a few chucks and have the time and space can i suggest you look at rescue chickens before something else, not everyones cup of tea but they work for me very well, i will also post some pictures of the chicken des res when its finished i have been working at the hospital all day and the pen all night, i was up there a t 6am on this sunday working on it trying to get it finished
I though ex battery chickens pecked each other too much if they are allowed to be free together because they just aren't used to it. Clearly not true??
For those that want to help but are a bit put of by caged ex bat hens, there is the option of ex free range/barn hens from comercial farms.

They come with all their feathers etc and are a bit more "user freindly" for a begginner.
I am heartbroken as I have just lost three of my four ex-batts that I had for 10 months. They were a pleasure to nurse back to health and allow freedom of my garden. Have felt such a failure and still not sure what went wrong, they seemed fine one minute and gone the next. I have been assured it was not my fault and that's the way it is with ex-batts. I still feel it was worth rescuing them and will do it all again. I have registered to rescue another six!

Well done hedgerow pete and beadons for rescuing your chooks!
It's a very noble thing to re-home ex battery chickens either from cages or free range.

I though ex battery chickens pecked each other too much if they are allowed to be free together because they just aren't used to it. Clearly not true??

They peck each other out of boredom and a certain amount of dominance as well. Also feather pecking is a sign of nutritional deficiency. When one of mine goes in the pot I will give the others a handful of the smaller feathers, they go mad for them, so clearly there is a need for something.

Esphil - battery hens have had such a hard life...........they have been bred to produce eggs in fairly large quantities. It's hard on their bodies - calcuim & protein depletion. Also because they lay so many, when something goes wrong with the laying mechanism, it goes wrong in a big way. It's not your fault, don't beat yourself up. You've done a fantastic thing giving them a good end life.

Thank you Frisbee. I just cannot help feeling guilty and sad. Like I said earlier I will do it all again and I am looking forward to my next lot of rescues.
Like most people, battery hen keeping seems to be immeasurably cruel. I have 4 pet chickens myself (and 2 years in am now sick of eggs!)
The farmer receives some ££ for these rescued hens, from BHWT, recouped from donations. The chookies would otherwise go into pet food/other low grade product, which would give very little profit: I would anticipate that the costs of slaughter and dressing would mean there would be no value left for the farmer to recieve much cash for the birds.
So: by rescuing battery hens, does it not add to the profit of battery farms? And therefore indirectly financially support the intensive industry.
They'll pay a "peppercorn" amount for them, about the same as what's paid by the petfood industry, so it neither supports nor (directly) undermines their animal Belsens.
A chicken can live for 6 or 7 years, so it is an admirable thing to give ex-battery birds a good life for a while - don't imagine for a second that they are destined for a swift and clean death if they're not rescued - heartless contractors treat them like beanbags when collecting them, hurl them into crates, they are then often stacked on the back of lorries, and driven long distances to the processing plants..........
Keeping some ex-batts is helping put nails into the "industry's" coffin - you'll tell all your friends, who will hopefully "get the message" about battery and broiler production, and you certainly won't be buying battery eggs! All the people I've met in hen rehousing have been smashing people who devote a great deal of time, effort, and often their own cash into "doing their bit" - more power to their elbows!
Keeping some ex-batts is helping put nails into the "industry's" coffin - you'll tell all your friends, who will hopefully "get the message" about battery and broiler production, and you certainly won't be buying battery eggs! ...........

I've no objection to folk keeping hens as pets, but this has nothing to do with the battery industry.

The issues are simply based on costs. For a great many people it's battery eggs or no eggs.

We should not forget that there are humans who are at a severe disadvantage in life, before we lavish luxury on hens, and tell ourselves how fine we are for it.


p.s. I didn't intend to single you out Brosville, - no offence meant, - it's just the way the thread developed. JC.
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Having been a free-range egg farmer I feel particularly strongly about the subject, and find the "cheap food" argument nonsensical. Have one free-range egg instead of two battery eggs if cost is really a true concern -usually the people who buy battery eggs also buy vast quantities of processed "convenience" foods at very premium prices as well.......
Firstly it is undoubtedly cruel - all of their instincts are denied - to scratch, to dust-bath - even to stretch, and often spend their miserable lives crammed into cages with other birds, standing for their entire lives on metal rods - kept in overheated conditions (keeps feed conversion rates high) - beaks trimmed to stop them pecking each other, and fed a "diet" direct from the bowels of hell........ broad-spectrum antibiotics (to keep them alive in the atrocious conditions), coccidiostats (to keep the worm burden "manageable"), whatever protein is cheapest on the world markets at that particular time (these days often GM), DPM (dried poultry manure) -much of the high protein food "goes straight through", so is collected, dried, and added to the feed......... then either a "straight" chemical colourant to give the yolks a "healthy" colour, or something like canthaxanthin, which is sold quite legally as "natural" despite being synthetically made, and being banned for use in salmon farming due to it's toxicity........
I wouldn't touch a battery egg on principle, let alone wanting to risk the chemical contamination - thankfully the more enlightened supermarkets are refusing to sell the damn things, and hopefully it will soon be about as acceptable as putting kids up chimneys......
Aged parent used to work in the occupational therapy department of the local
mental health establishment - there were a constant queue of people who ended up having had major breakdowns following working in a major local broiler plant - it demeans all those who take part in it, and some succumb to the evil they are required to carry out........
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I was sorry to read about your cockerel. I was in a similar situation with my chickens, fine one minute, dead the next! I have confirmation to collect another six on 1st August and I am looking forward to that.
I don't agree that rescuing ex-batts actively damages the battery industry in any way: I can see how it might influence my friends not to but battery eggs, but to be fair I'm not convinced any of them did in the first place - kind of "preaching to the converted" type thing. I don't think that matters though.

I don't agree with the cost argument either (aren't I contrary today?!). The majority of people buying battery eggs are doing so in products that contain them as an ingredient, not as an untouched egg-in-a-shell: pasta, sauces, mayonaise, pre-packaged sandwiches, etc. Most of these products aren't the cheapest option. Most people don't use that many boxes of eggs a week (bought as eggs, ie not as an ingredient in something else), it's all the "hidden" eggs that contribute to demand. I can understand (not sure I really agree with it though) the argument of cost of battery meat, but not so much eggs: pre-prepared packaged sandwiches, quiches, sauces, cakes, biscuits and the like are luxuries.

Battery /intensive farming should not happen. If consumers refused to support it, then it wouldn't- farmers would be able to make a living from free range eggs instead. I don't want any of my money supporting an industry which I find so repugnant.
I'm firmly convinced that a great many people wander about in a "denial bubble", and despite having seen battery hens on the haunted goldfish bowl, it won't have "registered" that's the price that's paid for cheap eggs, but if you plonk a bald and nervous chook with half it's beak missing in their arms it kinda hits home.
I'm also very pleased to see that some supermarkets are trying very hard too - particularly the Co-op - from their website -

"Free-range eggs
Since the end of 2006, all of our own-brand shell eggs have been Freedom Food free-range or organic, assuring higher standards than for standard free-range eggs. In February 2008, we decided to ban the sale of eggs from caged hens from all of our Food stores. We are also working to phase out the use of these eggs as ingredients in our own-brand products"

There's still a long way to go, but things really are moving in a good direction at long last - I'm encouraged and heartened - and to rescue a few chooks has got to be good all round - apart from anything else, they are some of the most endearing animals you'll ever come across!
Traditional battery cages are due to be phased out by 2012 so the argument thats its battery eggs or nothing falls down on that front. Until consumers demanded better it was difficult to get free range eggs from the supermarkets. Apart from the animal welfare arguments which are substantial it is about quality of food. In this country we have developed a culture that has little respect for food, that we pay as little as possible and ignore the quality whether it be meat, eggs or beer.
I grow my own veg because it means I eat better veg than the compost material available in the local shops, i buy my fruit from local suppliers if poss. for same reason (bit difficult with bananas etc.), I prefer local meat of known provenance, I drink less beer and wine but drink less of better quality and I prefer free range eggs cause they are better quality. I would rear my own if the council would let me and probably meat chicks as well. As my appreciation of food has developed I have become more choosey about what I consume. I hope that all these foody programmes do educate the British population to demand, as a right, decent food, and not allow the supermarkets to flood the place with cheap crap. Cause that is what happens when a supermarket has a near monopoly, such as in a small town such as ours. Forget any idea of competition, that goes out the window as the big supermarkets dominate and the food producers are forced to produce stuff at the lowest possible cost.
I say well done those with the rescue chicks and I hope that one day conditions wont be as abysmal as they are now.
Could this be the same humans who happen to be on benefits because of their depression, but can have lots of kids by different fathers, widescreen plasma tv's, fags and wacky backy

Ah yes, and they're over 65 and have to make a choice between eating or paying their energy bills, because they can't afford to stay warm and eat as well......... that's them.

The battery system exists simply because it produces low cost eggs. The supermarkets sell what their customers want to buy. It's the paying customers who have the final word. If they don't want battery eggs they won't buy them.

We need to focus efforts on the consumers, not the hens, and not be too self congratulatory about how kind we are to hens while we take low cost eggs off the shelves and ignore human issues.

it looks as if i have caused another heated debate, sorry, size 12's you know they get every where there is a lot of valid points raised for and against battery chickens, and to tell the truth i ant fussed either way, being a country boy i know how food is produced and have taken part in it production, you where on about the animals that they use to collect the end of life chickens, i have swept day old chicks up with a broom into buckets, i also admit to this, when you have several 1000 and i been thousand chicks to ring there necks and then stick in buckets to go to the skip i can garentee that i did not wring every single neck properly, so i am part of the creation of animal farms

in my favour we decided that with several items of food that we would produce it our selves, more than any thing it was to know where it came from and that it was clean of chemicals, I am a heartless child of single parent at the best of times evan more so when it comes to animals and i have always lived by this simple rule if you cant physicly look it in the eyes as YOU kill it, do you have a right to eat it??,

the other rule is never eat anything with a name as my kids will tell you thumper was delicous untill they found thumper missing the next day
Correct Pete,when your looking down the rifle scope at a deer or badger,you got to say,i'm gonna eat you.
Correct Pete,when your looking down the rifle scope at a deer or badger,you got to say,i'm gonna eat you.

I "value" the few pigeons that I shoot, prepare, cook and eat, far more than any supermarket bought joint of meat.

We currently keep 1/2 dozen hens for eggs, but my next stage is to go for table birds...OH will still give them names:toetap05:

I believe now in quality not quantity. It helps my pocket and waist line!

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