At 8am Tuesday morning, Laurence, our compassionate, knowledgeable vet and I made the decision to euthanase Saffron. Late afternoon, Saffron suddenly developed a new and debilitating set of neurological issues after a period of relative calm. She spent the night on heavy pain meds in my bedroom. Neither of us slept much. Saffron battled to get comfy and dozed on me while I sat in bed for most of the night. 
Her pain was tangible. 

X rays taken early in the morning revealed congenital issues – including a deformed hip joint, that would have never allowed Saffron to walk or stand. Her other leg was so deformed, she could have never hopped to compensate. She would have lived on tranquilising pain killers and been mostly cage bound. There were some other complicating factors too. A deformed spinal chord, her balling muscles. A life, we (Dr Beherens and I), with input from a few other trusted consultants, was not a life we would want for ourselves or Saffron. 

Secondary issues such as swollen joints and sores were starting to develop despite regular physio. 

We agreed that even with the best care and nursing, which I would have given, we could not keep Saffron comfy enough to warrant any type of quality of life. We have had, and have many special needs chickens, but in all cases with some help they manage a good life. 

I feel as comfy as one can feel with the difficult decision when choosing to end a life. Grateful to be able to put her out of her pain, but acutely aware the decision is a responsible and sad one. 

Thank you to Cathy for seeing the challenges Saffron was having and taking action by delivering her to me for these last 3 months. Thank you to Dr Beherens for his support medically and emotionally. To Sophie, Karla, Nick and Lilly for the daily care of Saffron, especially while I was away, and to my friends and FB friends (you) for all the support and words of encouragement when it came to Saffron. 

Saffron brought so much joy with her. A truly tenacious hen who bore her disability with acceptance, and Grace. 

My heart is very sore today as I miss my friend and face the third day in months with no Saffron cuddles and kisses. 

Love you Saffron. You made your mark in your short time on earth. 


Stuffed Baby Ostrich souvenirs in South Africa a big No-No

Stuffed baby Ostriches sold as souvenirs
Stuffed baby Ostriches sold as souvenirs

Early November I posted this picture on our FB page. Baby Ostriches sited at local main road Plettenberg Bay market (South Africa) being sold as gruesome souvenirs. The post attracted some attention.

One of our favourite animal activists Sue Randall wanted to take this further. Under our banner Sue wrote the following letter, which we posted on a few sites relating to Plettenberg Bay and the South African Garden Route. The posts were removed.

However, the letter cannot be removed from this site.

To whom it may concern

Recently on Facebook, I saw some photos of items that are being sold at the “Market on Main” in Plettenberg Bay. I was horrified. These items consist of little dead ostrich chicks, preserved by taxidermy. Each dead baby bird is sitting in an open half of an ostrich egg.

Baby birds – of any species – are a symbol of new life and ecological diversity. A dead baby bird is a sad thing, especially when it’s so obviously been killed by human hands and preserved for sale as an ornament. To see a tiny, helpless creature that has been killed so soon after hatching, and has then been pushed back into an eggshell from its own species, is plain bizarre. It makes a grisly trinket.

I, and many others who saw the photos on Facebook and commented on them, find these “ornaments” most offensive and unattractive.

Allowing the sale of these macabre trinkets ruins the quiet and gentle nature of a coastal town such as Plett. Although such sale is not illegal, it is both unethical and unnecessary. Africa has so much more beauty to offer than this. Our animals and birds should be cherished alive, not butchered and abused. I don’t think it creates a good impression for tourists.

I strongly encourage the organisers of Market on Main to relook at their policy about what items should be allowed for sale, and why.


Sue Randall

On behalf of Chickens as Pets not food – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation





Experiments on chickens conducted at Chickens as pets not food – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation South Africa

Its true! We have been conducting an experiment of our own here at Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation South Africa on our dear ex batt Claire.

It all started with a rescue in February, when we picked up some very bruised and battered ex batts. Grace, had severe neurological damage after been hit against the side of a metal cage, and went onto a regime of homeopathic nerve support, as well as a well needed vitamin B injection. Vitamin B is also excellent in the support of neuro damage. Graces neurological , mis-firings slowly healed, but I noticed something else. Grace, had new feathers, and within a few short weeks, despite her compromised body, she was developing and growing the most exquisite new feathers – faster than I had ever seen a compromised ex batt cover. I could only attribute it to the vit B injection, but decided that we needed to start some trials of our own.

This is where Claire enters the picture. Claire has been with us for over a year, and has never managed to develop enough feathers to cover her shoulders and back, despite a multi vitamin and good food. Claire has always had poor feather development. As winter was around the corner, and I didn’t want Claire to suffer the cold another year, I started Claire on a B complex. I elected not to inject this time, as I was warned it is a very sore injection.

I bought a good quality B complex from my local pharmacy in capsule form. The first two weeks I gave Claire 1/4 of a capsule daily. I sprinkled the powder into a piece of bread, closed the bread around the powder and made it into a tight ball, which I popped down her throat. After two weeks, I sprinkled 2 x vit B capsules (for 11 chickens) over their food aprox 5 x a week. This was started on the 27th March 2015, and this article was written on the 31st May 2015 – 2 months later.

The results have been very pleasing. All the flock seem to have really grown some great feathers, and Claire in particular has finally grown some shoulder and back feathers, where I thought we would never see feathers again. A possible added benefit, is that both Claire and Ruby where having repeated ‘egg bound’ issues up until I started the vit B. I cannot attribute the evaporation of the egg issues to the vit B for sure, but it does seem rather a coincidence.

I will continue to watch and monitor our flock on the Vit B complex, and will continue to try this on newly rescued hens and document the results. I know one trial is not going to be enough for some of you scientists out there, but its enough for me to feel confident to share this far.

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Completed course on chicken welfare and behavior through University of Edinburgh

Recently completed this informative short on line course through the University of Edinburgh. 

The course is run through Coursera and is free, unless you want to pay a smallish fee for a verified certificate. 

If you have chickens as pets, or work with chickens, I recommend the course. There are a few things I did not agree with, and feel we have kinder techniques to deal with some behavioral issues, but for the most part, I found it interesting and beneficial. 

Let us know if you do end up taking the course! 



94.7 breakfast express vegetarian continued. Jessica Prinsloo writes to the breakfast team about their levels of disrespect ……

Hello Team


I didn’t hear the discussion you had on Vegetarianism but it was brought to my attention through a few of your vegetarian listeners. They claim that you were insensitive and disparaging towards vegetarians and vegans and although I cannot find the podcast to hear it for myself, judging from the response on Facebook it’s plain to see that this was the stance you took.


I am neither vegan nor vegetarian. So I’m not writing to you to tell you all the ethical, health related, agricultural and sustainability related pros that vegetarianism provides – of which there are many. Nor am I writing to defend my lifestyle choices over theirs.


I am writing to you because in your position as radio presenters you have an ethical responsibility regarding what you broadcast to the public. You hold influence. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be on the radio. So I find disparaging an entire group of people absolutely deplorable. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Let’s imagine the same ‘jokes’ were being made about gays, Jews, blacks, women, or, say, fat people. Does that just seem wrong? I bet you wouldn’t dare. How is it in any way justifiable to make fun of vegetarians? Are they for some reason less deserving of respect? Are they not allowed to make their own choices?


You may go so far as to think, “Well, being gay or black is not a choice.” But why are you promoting bigotry on any level when you should be preventing it at all costs? You may think me overly-sensitive and that the conversation was in jest so I should lighten up. There was a time that black people were systematically ridiculed. I wonder if anyone ever told Mandela to lighten up? Yes, I am using hyperbole to make a point. You have the power to spread tolerance, in a country that so desperately needs you to do so and yet you choose the path of denigration. Shame on you.


I do not write to you as an animal activist, or to promote or defend vegetarian, non-vegetarianism or any other lifestyle choice. I write to you in the hope that you bring educational value to the topics you present in the future so that listeners are encouraged to make informed decisions instead of blindly following your personal agenda. I write to you to defend the right of people to make their own choices and not be arbitrarily judged for doing so. I write to you in the hope that you think twice before making it seem that derision of any person’s race, lifestyle, caste or creed is anything other than abhorrent. I write to you in the hope that you use your platform to be advocates of tolerance in the future.


Thank you for your time.

Jessica Prinsloo

94.7 vegetarian discussion continued …. Read activist Alexa Wilson’s letter to the breakfast team

Hi team,

Just a quick email from a vegetarian who listened to your show yesterday. Generally I avoid the conversations surrounding vegetarianism and veganism because much like political debates or conversations about religion they are often fueled with opinions and end up getting nasty.

I have to say though that your blatant disrespect about the subject probably shows the level of maturity that each of you possess. The snide comments about vegetables feeling pain express a lot about the teams ability to empathize with others and their thoughts.

More than anything it was just disappointing coming from a group of people who have the power to send out positive, tolerant messages. I know it was all veiled in humour and so perhaps your argument would be that we should all lighten up about it.

I know others have emailed in and have enlightened you as to not only the immense suffering that goes on in slaughterhouses across our country, but the environmental impact that factory farming has on our planet, world hunger and sustainability.

So next time you guys feel that you have an important message about tolerance or about environmental sustainability in our developing, poverty and hunger stricken country, please excuse me while I switch over to another radio station.

Alexa Wilson


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