1: Taking the plunge
For a year or so I have talked about getting chickens, always falling short on that bit where you actually build a chicken run and put some chickens in it. So it was a surprise when my housemate texted me: “I’ve called the chicken rescue charity, we are getting 3 chickens in 2 weeks….”! In Britain alone around 24 million chickens are kept in battery farms and when they stop laying five eggs a week they are sold for cat food or simply thrown away. The British Hen Welfare Trust buys them up and places them in new homes.
2: Building a chicken home
The pen went up pretty easily thanks to the help of a friend who after we mentioned the eminent arrival of chickens turned up and built us one (a lovely surprise). It’s all made from scrap wood and chicken wire it’s the perfect outdoor space for them to roam while we’re at work. Then I started on the hen house which although a bit slapdash seems to still be standing and keep the water off them. We let them roam the garden when people are in the house and they get no trouble from local cats and don’t run away.
3: The arrival
It was amazing watching their first steps outside under the sky. As instinct kicked in, they scratched in the dirt for the first time. To be able to offer these animals that have been so poorly treated by our society a second life was a fantastic feeling.
4: The pecking order
We expected them to be a bit scraty and they were, but it was a bit of a worry when a few days after arriving they started to moult heavily. However, this is normal, the thing that was a shock was the vicious bullying that went on between the hens luckily this only lasted a week before they all started to get along.
It’s taken 2 months but they are laying again and the eggs are delicious! Now I know how to do it I would encourage anyone to give it a go, remember practically any situation is an improvement in their quality of life! They are very little effort and hilarious to watch pottering around the garden.
The Britsh Hen Welfare Trust Website