Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spent Hens: Two months later

At left, Rapunzel present-day. At right, Rapunzel Aug. 23—the day we rescued her from a local egg farm.
Back in late August, we adopted 20 "spent hens" from a local egg farm. There, the female birds' confined space didn't allow the ladies to stretch their wings or legs, or fulfill normal behavioral patterns or social needs like scratching in the dirt, chasing bugs, and taking dust baths. This was a sad-looking bunch of birds.

Spent hens, day one.
As you can imagine, constantly rubbing against the wire cages meant these birds—all of whom we named Rapunzel—lost a lot of feathers; and many of the ladies had lots of bruises and abrasions. In order to reduce injuries resulting from excessive pecking—a behavior that occurs when confined hens are bored, stressed, or frustrated—the front of the laying hens' beaks had been cut off.

Here are all our Rapunzels on the day of their rescue:

Since then, we've given the birds plenty of space to run around at Better Farm, scratch in the dirt, learn all about dust baths, and eat to their hearts' content under the bright sun, blue sky, and fresh air. We've fed them a steady diet of layer feed mixed with cracked corn (to help them put on weight against the cooler temperatures) and lots of delicious food scraps from Better Farm's kitchen.

Two months have never seemed so critical, or life-altering. Check out the same birds last week:

Like what you see? It only costs $5/month to sponsor one of our rescued hens! To sponsor your own Rapunzel for a year and receive monthly updates and photos, donate $60 here.

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