Friendly, inquisitive, and social, chickens have made wonderful animal companions for humans throughout history – and it’s not hard to see why. We care for a number of rescued hens here at Goodheart Farm Animal Sanctuary, and it brings us great joy to see them running through the grass, dust bathing in the aviary, or cosying up to sleep in their coop.
Join Animal Care Assistant Izzy and Dorothy the hen to learn all about the high standard of care we give all our rescued chickens here at the sanctuary.
On 1st of April 2021, Avian Flu restrictions were lifted, meaning that our rescued birds could be let out again after nearly four months of lockdown! It makes us very happy to see them out enjoying the sanctuary to its fullest once again.
Most chickens have a natural lifespan of around 10 years but same may live up to 15 years! Hens rescued from industry sadly may not live this long, even when kept as pets, due to their stressful start in life.
In an intensive egg laying system, hens will typically be slaughtered when their egg production declines (typically around 1.5 years old). In intensive industrial systems, broiler hens (those reared for meat) are slaughtered when they are just over a month old.
Over the years, humans have selectively bred hens to lay much more frequently than they would in the wild – several hundred a year! This takes a huge toll on a hen’s body and uses up a lot of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, which is used to form the egg’s shell. This is why conditions such as osteoporosis are such a common occurrence within commercial egg farms, with as many as 86% of egg-laying hens in the UK suffering a fracture!¹
As a result, we feed the eggs our rescued hens lay back to them, either raw or boiled with their shell on, allowing them to regain some of the vitamins and minerals lost in the laying process.
Learn more about our exciting new project helping us rescue hundreds more hens in desperate need of our help.
Learn about the egg industry and how hens are treated.
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