Some two weeks ago or so, I went into the local Pet Superstore to buy some Chicken Feed. When it came to paying for it, the cost was quite staggering, seemingly going up by around 20% over the last time I called there about three months ago.

Upon reaching the Counter I asked if this was due to so many people getting Chickens for their back garden, especially ex-battery hens. The pleasant young girls reply was somewhat worrying.

“No she said, look at the Notice Board behind you, it’s quite the reverse”.

I wandered accross and was shocked to see four ‘adverts’ all saying virtually the same thing – ‘Four Chickens needing good home + House and Pen’ etc. Three of these cars specified they were ex-battery hens.

So, has the bubble burst? Has this become ‘a dog is not just for Christmas’?
Have Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s and Jamie Oliver’s TV Programmes of January 2008 along with their follow ups and indeed, Web Sites like mine, been too successful?

Maybe some people, understandably, don’t quite realize that Chicken Keeping isn’t simply putting a Coop and Pen down the Garden and feeding them every morning.
It can be gutty, their living quarters need to be cleaned, if let out to roam the garden, you don’t have much of a garden left and rolling on can come domestic unrest with one partner being none too happy about the Lupins vanishing forever!

Blame is not the word to use, you can’t blame the ‘Champions’ of the Battery Hen cause, nor can you blame the people who are getting Hens.

What worries me most is that where Charities were finding homes for say 5,000 chickens this time last year, they may be struggling to find homes for 1,000 this year, this leading to only one thing – more and more Chickens being slaughtered after one year of living in a cage and no hope of ever seeing daylight and breathe fresh air.

Another worry is that some people can add to their flock too soon. They will get say three Hens and three Month’s on when their existing birds are recovering, they get more only to find that when Winter comes along, life ain’t so easy.

The absolute most important thing out of all this though, is to sing the praises of only buying free range eggs.
It is the only chance we have of reducing the number of birds living in almost inhumane conditions.

Rescuing a Chicken isn’t the only way of saving one, buying free range is also, the more we buy, the less Battery Hens there will be. Who knows, if those who can afford to do so, made an effort to go over to Free Range, these places may eventually close down !

Relevant pages on main site…

Before Keeping Chickens ….. Before adding more Chickens
Battery Hens ….. Keeping ex-battery Hens

3 Comments on “Ex-Battery Hen worries”

By Graham W. August 29th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I too have noticed this trend, something I had to become used to over many years involved in dog rescue. They too are being turfed out as the first economic cut-back, in addition to the usual “I didn’t know it would be so much work”. Thus I am building chicken run extensions and bigger coops to handle other peoples rejects. I so wish I didn’t have to 🙁

By Lindsey T. January 21st, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I feel sad reading this (cos I think it’s true). We took our first 3 ex-batts last July, and 3 more last weekend. They ARE quite a lot of work – or at least how we do it, they are – but I find them endlessly charming and funny, and the eggs are nice too. Like our cats, they pay us back in ample measure for the time and money we put into them. I loathe the “animals as things” attitude – animals get the chop once they cost money, demand effort, no longer fit in. I wouldn’t take this approach with my family, and I won’t take it with my chickens. Would happily have 50 if I didn’t need to work and we had the money! We’ve eaten free range eggs for years, but it is only since the hens arrived that I have become 100% sensitive to battery eggs as ingredients – now I never eat anything which includes battery eggs or derivatives.

By Thelma T. May 12th, 2013 at 7:17 am

I too have 3 ex battery hens and I adore them, even though they are hard work, but the rewards are endless. May I ask you if you can help me with a problem. ne of my hens is not well. Notices on Friday that she was not eating or drinking, very lethargic and when cuddling her, heard her tummy rumbling a lot. We have removed her from the the hen house and she has been either in the kitchen or at night in the dark in the garage in our cat basket. I have tried all her treats that she enjoys but she just will not eat them. We have given her warm baths, which she seems to enjoy. She is not egg bound and we have checked her for mites (but I keep the hen house really clean and use mite spray and powder in their bedding). Any advice would be greatly appreciated before I take her to vet. Thankyou.

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