Some two weeks ago or so, I went into the local Pet Superstore to buy some Chicken Feed. When it came to paying for it, the cost was quite staggering, seemingly going up by around 20% over the last time I called there about three months ago.
Upon reaching the Counter I asked if this was due to so many people getting Chickens for their back garden, especially ex-battery hens. The pleasant young girls reply was somewhat worrying.
“No she said, look at the Notice Board behind you, it’s quite the reverse”.
I wandered accross and was shocked to see four ‘adverts’ all saying virtually the same thing – ‘Four Chickens needing good home + House and Pen’ etc. Three of these cars specified they were ex-battery hens.
So, has the bubble burst? Has this become ‘a dog is not just for Christmas’?
Have Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s and Jamie Oliver’s TV Programmes of January 2008 along with their follow ups and indeed, Web Sites like mine, been too successful?
Maybe some people, understandably, don’t quite realize that Chicken Keeping isn’t simply putting a Coop and Pen down the Garden and feeding them every morning.
It can be gutty, their living quarters need to be cleaned, if let out to roam the garden, you don’t have much of a garden left and rolling on can come domestic unrest with one partner being none too happy about the Lupins vanishing forever!
Blame is not the word to use, you can’t blame the ‘Champions’ of the Battery Hen cause, nor can you blame the people who are getting Hens.
What worries me most is that where Charities were finding homes for say 5,000 chickens this time last year, they may be struggling to find homes for 1,000 this year, this leading to only one thing – more and more Chickens being slaughtered after one year of living in a cage and no hope of ever seeing daylight and breathe fresh air.
Another worry is that some people can add to their flock too soon. They will get say three Hens and three Month’s on when their existing birds are recovering, they get more only to find that when Winter comes along, life ain’t so easy.
The absolute most important thing out of all this though, is to sing the praises of only buying free range eggs.
It is the only chance we have of reducing the number of birds living in almost inhumane conditions.
Rescuing a Chicken isn’t the only way of saving one, buying free range is also, the more we buy, the less Battery Hens there will be. Who knows, if those who can afford to do so, made an effort to go over to Free Range, these places may eventually close down !
Relevant pages on main site…
Battery Hens ….. Keeping ex-battery Hens