Meet Spooky and Stumpy. (Sleepy was unavailable (aka sleeping) at time of shoot.)

I know. They look a bit gross. And no. They are not discoloured through a dodgy camera setting. Their combs really are almost white. (Cue being christened ‘Spooky’!)

Day 1 of my unemployment coincided with the arrival of 3 new chickens. I say ‘new’, but I guess you could say these were second-hand chickens. Sleepy, Spooky and Stumpy arrived in a cardboard box in the back of my mum’s car in this state. All terribly anemic, Spooky looks as if she is a walking chicken funny-bones and Stumpy is so bald she almost looks ready for the oven. Blinking at the sunlight and wary of every blackbird, leaf rustle and footstep, after just a couple of days our recycled chooks are more attentive and (luckily) not frightened by the sound of the British summer raining on their hen-house.
This time last year we brought back to our garden 5 hens in a similar state. And although Scrappy’s featheriness has never been fully recovered, I can report that the four remaining ‘originals’ are completely changed birds.
Here’s proof.

From left, Duckling, Hugh (Fearnley-Whittingstall) and Tipper looking plump, pink and with feathers galore. Though they don’t lay as productively as they did when we first got them, none of our family really minds that much. It doesn’t seem worth it.

I could very easily go on a rant here about the conditions that these birds are rescued from. I could reiterate what most people already know about battery farmed chickens, and yet choose to ignore. I could say how I feel physically sick that anyone can justify keeping something living in cages for their own benefit, but I won’t.

I think that the important thing here is that there are people, like those at the British Hen Welfare Trust, who seek to provide a much rosier life for hens with a ‘use-by’ date.

Give a hen a home!


Rosie x