|Rescued hens greeted by current hens|
The hens in the crate are from the largest rescue of farmed animals in California history. They are from a family-run California egg farm that decided feed was too expensive. So obviously they stopped feeding the birds, because that makes sense.
For more than fourteen days 50,000 hens were left without food.
17,000 died and >25,000 were gassed by state officials. We were permitted to take the "healthiest" hens, which ended up being 4,460.
Which is totes sad, but really, their entire lives prior to this point were sad. They are the 95%. That is the percentage of hens on egg farms who are crammed into wire, metal cages so small the hens cannot spread their wings.
Their beaks have been trimmed, a nifty chicken industry euphemism for lopping off an integral body part without pain relief. It's painful. And it looks like this.
|This hen has more than 2/3 of her beak cut off|
About 100 of the 4,100 hens the sanctuary I work for took in were integrated into the permanent sanctuary flock (the remaining hens we are placing into permanent homes). The resident hens greeted the newcomers with great kindness and generosity. I'm serious. They peered into the crates and clucked to the incoming hens in gentle coos. The new hens were unimpressed and needed to be escorted out.
Once they got out, their first order of business was to dust-bathe like nobody's business. Which inspired the rest of the chickens to dust-bathe, because apparently they failed to realize how super-duper awesome dustbathing with gusto really is.
Cool stuff. These hens are one of the kabillion reasons I'm vegan. For reals, kabillion.