Sunday, February 10, 2013

The old and the new!

Recently I have been breeding old fashioned chooks. Silver Spangled hamburgs and Pekins. I did have romantic notions about all the chickens BUT quickly discovered it is not all eggs 'sunny side' up! Statistically half the babies will be roosters. Then you have the dilemma about what to do with them all. I always want to keep them and up till now 'Trade me' has been a great way to move the hens and the roosters on. I haven't really had to face the nitty gritty of a cull. Two days ago I found yet another nest of 19 eggs about to hatch. I can hear you saying "why doesn't she keep track of the eggs?" BUT it is just not that easy! The hamburg breed...(see the black and white ones below) free range and specialise in hiding eggs in tricky places. They roost in trees at night and are the ultimate free spirit of the chook world. Anyway, I decided enough was enough and took the eggs off the poor girl. It was not pleasant. She fussed and made a lot of noise for about 12 hours. She told us all about it loudly. Then, in an endeavour to stem the breeding colony growing further ...I sold the last batch 14 Hamburgs over night. Great I thought! ...downsizing. But, that was not to be the case, as yesterday I rescued 6 battery hens.(See first photo below). They have not seen light nor been able to move much in their tightly packed cages.They are so lacking in muscle tone that they fall over sideways when ever there is rough ground. Many feathers are missing as they get so distressed they peck at each other and themselves. They have had the ends of their beaks taken off so they can't peck and as a result struggle with eating. They are not a pretty picture. This morning they had no idea what to do with food scraps and the worm really bemused them. Tonight I was out there in the dark trying to teach them how to use the perch and go inside the coop. Poor darlings have no idea how to be a chicken. Their combs are pale and floppy. I am shocked that in this day and age we still treat animals like this. I hope I can heal them and give them a good life.

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