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When Belinda met Pickle; A keeper to volunteer story

In February 2020, Belinda Robinson decided she wanted to adopt hens from the BHWT, to add to her already existing flock. As a relatively new hen keeper, Belinda had read online about how to care for ex-commercial hens, but she was surprised by how different they looked to her pet hens. When telling us about her BHWT adoption experience she said that it opened her eyes to what ex-commercial hens look like in comparison…she adopted three hens that day.

“When I arrived home and took them out of the box, I cried.”

Belinda tells us how her hens were featherless, pale and weak. However, as each day passed they grew stronger, their new feathers started to show and their combs grew rosier.

After six months, Belinda’s hens Clara, Karma and Shula had transformed into beautiful, healthy hens that were even more confident than she could have hoped for! She tells us “They had given me so much joy watching them come back to life, and thrive in their new flock, that I wanted to do more to help hens enjoy a truly natural free-range life and support the BHWT doing the great work they do”.

It was at this point that Belinda decided to be a volunteer, becoming a poorly hen carer working with BHWT Team Gloucester, rehoming hens and rehabilitating those that are in need of a little extra care before being adopted.

In September 2020, Belinda attended her first rehoming day as a volunteer, she remembers being excited to get involved and found that, like all our rehoming teams, she was given a very warm welcome.

And then Belinda met Pickle. Belinda remembers Pickle looking very small and scared. She was a tiny little hen who needed some TLC before being able to fully live her free-range life. Belinda decided Pickle wasn’t going to be adopted out, but instead would come home with her.

Belinda tells us “During Pickle’s recovery her feisty character started to shine through, and as she gained in confidence, she gained in strength”

She laughs now at how Pickle jumps onto her art studio table to “help” with her work or jumps on the back of the sofa so she can admire herself in the mirror. But Pickle’s favourite place of all is on the record player, she just loves music.

Pickle is a tiny hen with a big personality, she’s super speedy on her feet and always at the front of the queue for treats. She is no longer afraid and will stand on her tiptoes with her wings outstretched to show her flock sisters who is boss!

When asked about her volunteering work, Belinda told us “Volunteering for BHWT has made me feel like I can truly make a difference, saving hens from slaughter and giving them a chance to live their best life. With just a little TLC these lovely girls will flourish, they have so much to give… quirkiness and eggs, what more could you want.”

Becoming a hen keeper can be a heart-warming and fulfilling experience. It is a wonderful to hear stories about how hen keepers meet the hens that changed their lives! If you have a hen story you would like to share, or if you’d like to volunteer then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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