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Posted By Ann

     Tasmania is to be congratulated on being the first State in Australia to outlaw battery cages for laying hens. We are fond of describing people in a derogatory way  by likening them to animals, 'Bird brained' we call someone behaving stupidly, a person we think lacks courage we refer to as 'Chicken hearted'. If we really believe that domestic hens have neither brains nor feelings then perhaps it isn’t such a heinous crime to treat them as ‘things’ and condemn them to spend their entire lives in cramped wire cages, existing just  to supply us with eggs. But hens are sentient beings, like us. They feel pain as we do, they are devoted mothers and enjoy a rich social life,  have good memories and are far from  stupid or lacking in courage especially when defending their chickens.
     I have heard our treatment of domestic fowl spoken of as  the most cruel of any we inflict on animals. For the chicken hatched to become a battery hen it starts when she emerges from the egg and ends with her death on the assembly line. If we can't do anything about the beginning and the end we can  make a difference to the life in between by refusing to buy cage eggs. If we have a back yard we can do even more; we can adopt two or three of these hens when they are discarded from battery farms.  In Qld. there is a wonderful organisation re-homing battery hens http://www.homesforhens.net/   This is a wonderful website and the story of Lurline. Ex-battery hen/pet extraordinaire truly delightful. It gives excellent advice on caring for adopted hens.

 

Rescued Battery Hen at Homes For Hens

 

     These discarded hens are not old. They are thrown out at first moult at around eighteen months. Nature designed a rest period from laying when they have an annual change of feathers known as moult.   We are not so generous. A battery hen not laying is unprofitable and therefore useless no matter that  this is only a temporary state. Given decent conditions, living space the size of an A4 sheet of paper is  not decent, hens will live and lay till seven or eight years of age. I have had them live till ten. There are great benefits to a few hens in the garden. The obvious one is a supply of fresh eggs from healthy hens, they eat up kitchen scraps and weeds, they supply manure to add to the garden.  It is a bonus that they make excellent pets and are a delight to watch.  You don't need to board them when you go away, most people have a neighbour more than willing to care for them in return for the eggs.
     If you, like me, love hens and have experience of rescuing them share it and encourage others and if you know of any other organisation like Homes For Hens tell us.  What we can all do is refuse to buy cage eggs and let it be known that we do.

 

 

 
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Ann
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