So, as I mentioned last month, we were in contact with a lady named Dee, who along with her hardworking team, volunteer at the Ilkeston branch of Fresh Start for Hens. FSFH work tirelessly to re-home ex-commercial hens across the UK. The hens that they rescue, would otherwise be sent to slaughter at 72 weeks-old, as their egg production count slows down, making them redundant to the egg selling industry.
The hens that we have taken on were housed in their thousands, crammed together in a large barn, and had not seen daylight until the day that they were rescued. The hens have very few feathers, this is a result of stress-related disorders, cramped conditions, and fighting in competition for food. The girls upon arrival, were also very unwell, with pale combs and wattles (just like for humans, being pale is an indicator of ill health!), and were silent on their journey from Ilkeston to our farm in Draycott.
Alison, Sammie and I health checked the girls, although they were sick through malnutrition and ill-treatment, they had no obvious illness, wounds, mites or other nasties that could be passed on to our cockerel Vlad. So, we decided to let Vlad in to meet his new lady friends – and boy, was it a success?! Vlad was openly vocal, showing off to his new flock, and visibly doing his flirty dance – shuffling up to the girls, feathers puffed up, looking as handsome as he possibly could! He was, and still is, absolutely loving life with his new girlfriends.
In terms of treatment, the girls mostly needed some long overdue TLC, with the new coop ready, they had plenty of straw, fresh water, hay, food and most importantly space! We had some food and drink supplements donated to us (thank you to the lovely Lounds family), and Flubenvet Poultry Wormer at the ready.