Page 37 - British Hen Welfare Trust - Chicken & Egg Issue 3

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1:
Favourite breed – posh bird or ex-bat?
Until we adopted our first hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust, we had only
ever known ‘posh’ birds. The whole family has been totally taken by the BHWT
hens and I’d never consider buying ‘posh’ hens again – for joie de vivre,
enthusiasm, friendliness and pure heart-melting gorgeousness the ex-bat girls win
hands down!
We have a fantastic gaggle of girls – Beth, Ezzie a large blue grey type with a
fancy name and rather haughty personality to match, and Zoe who was given
to us by a friend of a friend. Then, about four months ago, we took on eight
ex-free range hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust…and were so taken by
them that we adopted another eight a month ago, this time ex-caged. Names
will come to all in good time.
Why the British Hen Welfare Trust? I think I was nervous of ex-bat hens and that is
why it, sadly, has taken us so long to adopt. I’m a rampant vegetarian, brought
up by a wonderful mother who, even when I was a child, used to walk miles (we
had no car) to a health food shop to buy free range eggs which, in London in
the 60’s were not easy to find and were phenomenally expensive…so using them
for a family of six was quite an undertaking.
2:
Hen names – sensible or silly?
Depends on the hen, doesn’t it?! All our animals develop their own names
according to their personalities. With our new girls the names are happened
upon by all of us, and they just seem to stick.
3:
Keeping hens – Pippa’s passion or the children’s choice?
All four of us love hens, well, pretty well just about all animals actually…except
horseflies, house flies and mosquitoes….and out-of-control/biting dogs!
The arrival of the BHWT girls in such large numbers is largely down to our son
Callum. He prepared so well for the arrival of the first eight, making a large run
within the massive existing run, getting boxes etc. ready and then was so moved
by how great they were that we started to ‘justify’ adopting some more. We are
lucky enough to have lots of space, and already have some good fox-proof
potential, so it seemed wrong not to have more. Callum has taken over virtually
all of their care now – and supplies many people locally with eggs. The great
thing is that he has also wasted no time in explaining to people that our hens,
were destined for an untimely death before they
came to live here, and he provides everyone
with all the information they might need to ensure
they can make an informed choice when
shopping.
4:
Hen housing – good wood or plastic fantastic?
Our girls are now putting themselves to bed in
one of two houses, one a rather aged posh
wooden ark, the other a wooden wendy house
with bales of hay for roosting. But Callum has just
started converting a larger shed for them all to
sleep in.