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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Rescued Chickens

As you know, I have a lot on my plate right now.  I'm in the throws of renovating my rental property and trying to reclaim my tornado ravaged yard.  Although the coop has been here for two months, getting chickens was the last thing on my mind!

Then, the call came from my daughter.  She runs a rescue farm for abandoned and abused farm animals.

"Mom, I have forty chickens I'm rehabilitating from the horrific conditions in a battery farm (that's a mass egg production facility) and forty more have just come in from an experimental facility.  Can you and Aunt Lynn come for your chickens now?"


Now???


I hastily erect a chicken wire run and dash to the farm store for a bag of feed.  The next day, my sister and I head out on the 1 1/2 hour drive to the farm.

Farm Girl gets her Aunt Lynn's chickens first.  Lynn's are from the battery farm and have been under rehab for a month.  ~

Lynn is holding her first egg before she even leaves the barn!

Okay, which ones are mine?  Farm Girl looks imploringly at me.  "You're my mom and I'd like to give you the best ones in the barn, but....". 

Oh no, the dreaded 'but'!

"I really want you to take the three worst." ~ 


Gertrude is blind, Maude is undersized and terrified of everything and Do is barely able to stand.  They have numbered tags pierced through their wings.  Their combs have grown huge and floppy in the overheated barn and hang over their eyes.  Spending their whole lives standing on a wire grate has left them with long claws that curve around the wire. Jammed together, six to a cage the size of a microwave, their feathers have been rubbed off or burned off by the urine from the ones in the cages above.  They've been bred to try and get chickens that will lay more than one egg a day.  Seriously?  When is enough, enough?

So, my girls have come home with me and I'm doing my best to make this the best place any chicken could ever hope to live! ~

Gert and Maude want to stay under the coop

Do doesn't seem to know how to lie down.

It takes sixteen weeks to restore the chickens to health and teach them the things they don't know how to do.  They don't know how to preen, perch, peck or scratch in the dirt. They can't negotiate a ramp and don't know to go to the nests at night.  Their bones are so brittle that they can easily break a wing or leg and I'm handling them very gently. These girls have only been rescued for two days!  

Here's the first time they have ever walked on grass, in the sunlight ~


The last photo is taken on their third day here.  I think they are looking much better already!

Stay tuned for the tale of  "The Chickens, The Cat and The Raccoons!"








24 comments:

  1. Oh Maureen, what a story! My eyes welled up. I see you've moved on from collecting cats to collecting other creatures!

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    1. It's a little tricky mixing cats and chickens up, so I found! I don't remember having this problem when I had chickens thirty years ago.

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  2. I'm with Deborah - my eyes welled up too. How could anyone treat a living creature so badly.
    The difference with the chickens is noticable already. Gert, Maude and Do will thrive with your love and care, and I'm sure you'll get very attached to your new girls !
    x

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    1. You can sleep with a clear conscience tonight, Fiona. Your country banned this form of egg production. I'm ashamed to say Canada is one of the last hold outs on a barbaric practice!

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  3. Really looking forward to hearing updates. My partner and I would like to do some urban chicken farming someday soon and the idea of rescue chickens is very inspiring.

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    1. I'll keep you posted on how they are coming along. They really are sweeties!

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  4. Oh my god...such deplorable conditions these poor animals have to live in....this needs to stop!!

    Thank you for taking the time to take care of these three, you are a true blessing and yes, they are starting look much better....looking forward to seeing the updates.

    Take care, Cathy

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    1. I had no idea of the conditions in battery farms until I saw the first ones my daughter took in. I've only eaten free range or free run since!

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  5. Thank God there are people like you and your daughter in this world to try to undo the cruelty of people without hearts. Bless you for your efforts. By the way, I managed to get two eggs per day from some of my 24 Rhode Island Reds, (which are bred for meat, not eggs). It was not intended, but as a result of excellent living conditions, free range plus purchased feed and lots of love. Your girls are looking great already and should be lovely, fat cluckers by the end of summer. Marilyn

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    1. You want to be careful saying 'fat cluckers' too fast! lol These ladies are retired, so I don't really care how many eggs they lay. It is exciting when you find one, though.

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  6. Oh my gosh, that is so sad what happened to the chickens, and then so happy that they got rescued! After only a few days they look so much better! What a wonderful story...

    Cindy

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I could have bought a couple of your paintings with the expense of them so far! Sigh. I'll get one eventually!

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  7. Oh wow, they DO look so much better in that last photo. I don't know that I would have recognized that they are the same birds. Your TLC is already doing them good.

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    1. Thanks, Terry. You'd be surprised how quickly they learn!

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  8. This is why I love blogging, I learn sooo much, they do look great in just a few days! Your daughter knew what she was doing when she gave them to you....I thought I even saw a little smile on their faces!

    CArol

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    1. I love what I learn from bloggers! Pinterest is pretty amazing, too. You think my daughter has me figured out? lol

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  9. I am feeling like crying right now. How sad is that? The worst part is that you know it is just the tip of the iceberg and you wonder how many UNrescued ones are out there. Blessings to you for your good heart- xo Diana

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    1. It's hard not to go a rant about the extreme cruelty of battery farms. You are phasing them out in the USA. Canada is making no effort to stop the practices.

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    1. Thanks! It's really my daughter and a small group of activists who are doing the rescuing and public awareness on this issue. That got her embroiled in quite a bit of trouble with the egg growers!

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  11. Yes Maureen, they definitely are.
    I got some serious goosebumps reading this. Seriously, when is enough, enough. I am so happy for them and proud of you. You are a superstar in chicken heaven

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    1. Thanks, but I think it is Farm Girl that has a special place in chicken heaven.

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  12. This is BY far the best before and after I have seen in a long, long time. Bless you.

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  13. wow maureen, this is wonderful! i dont know how i missed this post, LOVE these kind of stories! so so happy for your chickens, thanks so much for doing this!
    xxx

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