Very sad news this week – one of our dear ex-battery hens, Dolly Clare, died. She’d been ill for two weeks and, although we thought she was going to pull through at one stage, she went downhill rapidly.
When we brought Dolly home in February, she was thin and pale and rather threadbare:
She didn’t know what to make of her new free-range life but she soon blossomed and became a real beauty with pale golden feathers and a sweet, inquisitive nature. I loved the way she’d follow me around the garden, her little ‘bawps’ letting me know she was nearby.
She loved wending her way through the flower beds:
and sneaking into the kitchen:
and enjoyed a yoghurty treat:
and she loved pecking around after the rain, not caring if her beak got muddy:
She also adored her afternoon corn and would gobble it so fast that she would invariably sneeze! In fact, we made a video of her and it’s been viewed over a thousand times on Youtube!
I’m so glad to have met Dolly Clare but I feel that her 7 months of freedom were all too short and I wish that she’d had longer with us. Unfortunately, ex-battery hens often have a short life-span because they are worked so hard for the first 18 months of their lives – their bodies used up by a demanding industry. That’s why it’s so important for us to choose free-range eggs when we shop and when we eat out. We must always ask questions about our food and demand high-quality animal welfare and support organisations like Compassion in World Farming and The British Hen Welfare Trust. It’s the least we can do for the extraordinary animals that we share this world with.