Seriously...what a day!! Today was BHWT (Battery hen welfare trust) rescue day and I was part of it!! I made some new friends in Dartford where we went to collect the chickens from and it was amazing. We brought back 46 hens for sussex re-homers, 8 of which were ours :o) They were all in great condition and were quite large. Much bigger and heavier than I was expecting. Also the expected feather loss was not half as bad as we expected as you can see from the photos. I think the hens like their new girly house. They settled so quickly we were surprised, as we had been warned they might not do much at first because of what they have been used to in the cages. Well, these girls proved everybody wrong!! Okay, no they didn't walk out the dog crate when the door was opened, they just all stood there huddled together, not sure what to do next. Clint gently lifted each one out of the crate and got pecked numerous times for his trouble!! Once they were out they all started pecking around the straw and (shock!)a couple of them checked out the hen house :o) Clint took the below photos whilst I was out waiting for one of the re-homers to pick up her hens. She was a couple of hours late, so I sat with her hens that were still in the crate, feeding them corn to keep them occupied. Finally she arrived and I scooted off to have a look at our hens and see how they were settling in. They have been eating layers mash, which is what they are used to, also some corn, which they would never have had before, pecking each other and squabbling. The squabbling looked like it was an argument on who was going to sit on the straw bale!! But I am sure I must have that wrong :O) Sorting out the pecking order is much more likely I think! I can't wait until the morning to see them again and get to know them. They don't seem to mind being stroked either which is great.
There were loads of re-homers at Dartford all waiting patiently for their hens with not a complaint between them and all with smiles on their faces. One lady Clint and I were talking to brought her crochet with her :o) The transferring of hens from the crates to re-homers boxes was swift and it didn't take long at all for all the hens to be on their way to their new homes. I also met Taz who I recently met on Down the lane forum, which is a minefield of chicken info, the people on there are also very friendly and no question is too much trouble for them. Taz was one of the main people transferring the hens from crates to re-homers boxes. As I was very nervous and wasn't 100% sure of my capability of transferring hens myself, I resorted to watching the others although I was there if they needed me which they didn't. I feel quite competent now of picking the hens up and so hopefully I will hepl out next time. Taz showed me how to hold the hens so I could transfer my won hens from the crates to my dog cage that I was transporting them home in. Thanks Taz.
The below pciture is the view of part of the garden which shows where the chickens free range area will be. As you can see the chicken house is to the left of the picture and the raised bed area on the right opposite the hen house is where they will be allowed to free range. We have yet to fence unobtrusively as possible, the raised bed area as they will not be allowed on the grass or near the flowers beds. The raised bed area is all shrubs and bark chippings so it should be ideal for them. More updates tomorrow :o)