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?"
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!"