It's been a long while since I posted a blog, I seem to have been taking more photographs. Chris suggested a blog piece on the rescue hens and I'm more than happy to oblige.
The first batch of rescue hens are almost unrecognisable from when they arrived back in the summer. They are bigger, browner, their combs are glossier and prouder, they are more adventurous and a whole lot more bolshy (anyone who's been enthusiastically pecked on boots or jacket can attest to this). During the day they have open access to the outside, at night they are kept sheltered, warm and away from foxes. They have strong appetites for both food and water and have grass every day. I make a regular paypal/cash donation in exchange for eggs, and lovely they are too. It's fantastic to know exactly where the eggs have come from, and to be confident that they are well cared for. The hens are doing really well and it's in large part due to the generosity of supporters who have sponsored hens and also given their time to get the hens used to being around people.
The second group of rescue hens arrived on Sunday with Di and Dave and are already starting to settle in nicely. They're in a separate quarantine area which helps them to build confidence in their new surroundings without any risk of bullying from the established brood. Sponsors are welcomed for these hens too - contact Chris or Helie via this site, Facebook or Twitter (or even phone!) if you'd like to help. You can see a short video of these hens arriving below. Have a look, you'll be able to see just how far the first set of rescue hens have come, with the generous support and sponsorship provided by friends of Caenhill.
It's worth saying that battery hens, as we used to know them, no longer exist in the UK due to changes in EU law. Hens now have a bit more space and slightly improved conditions known as enriched cages. However, hens that are kept in these environments still have a lifestyle that is a long way from free range hens. When hens come to Caenhill they may have lost many feathers from scrapping with other hens. They are not used to having water easily available and may just peck when they want to drink, as that's what they do in the cages. They've never seen a cockerel or daylight, nor their own eggs. Change comes fast though and they adapt well to improved conditions. Chris collected eggs from the new arrivals on Monday morning, just hours after they'd arrived.