This year has been really busy, and although I have tried to update the blog regularly, I feel that some of our stories have been lost. There has not been time to always write them down. The ease and quick pace of Facebook has allowed another cyber dimension to the rescue centre and organisation, and the combination of blog and Facebook, seems to be allowing a greater reach for raising awareness, and connecting with like-minded people. Our Facebook page also allows other people to add to the page. We have had a few people tell their stories, and post some pics of their chicks. I would like to see this number increase. Here is the address.
The acknowledgement of the centre by NSPCA earlier in the year, has been huge for us. It started with NSPCA phoning us to ask if we had capacity for 450 hens, that had been confiscated from a cull depot. The hens were in a desperate condition. Overweight, low muscle tone, swollen feet, featherless, and very bruised and battered. There was a race against time to get find homes, get pre inspections done, and combat the high mortality rate of these birds. We managed to get 80 birds, with the assistance of another chicken lover. 30 to our sanctuary, and the rest re homed. Sadly the rest were sent to abattoir. It was a grim day. I tried to focus on the ones we had rescued, and not on the ones we had not. See post for that time. https://chickenrescueandrehabilitation.wordpress.com/2010/06/
What did come out of this, was a fabulous database of future homes for hens. Animal welfare organisation FREEME (http://www.freeme.org.za/) sent out an e-mail on our behalf, and we got a massive response of caring animal lovers wanting to assist.
This database has grown, and the value has been huge. We have homed 5 geese, 3 mallards, an exotic duck, 9 roosters, 3 puppies (we try not to be speciesist), 53 hens, 1 bull (and a partridge in a pear tree), in a space of 3 months, using this database. Some of these re homings have been on behalf of NSPCA. NSPCA phones us, we send out to database, we monitor and filter responses, send possible homes to NSPCA, they do pre home inspection, and either NSPCA, or us, hands over the animal/ bird. I have made some invaluable contacts at NSPCA, and have some prized cell phone numbers – which allows me to be able to report abuse quicker, and look at future projects. So far, I think the relationship is working well, and the aim of giving a better life to abused animals/ birds is happening.
The sanctuary in Magaliesburg is benefitting hugely from the additional care of my father, who now lives out there with our farm manager. The 30 NSPCA birds are doing really well, but it has been, and still is a long journey for them. Some of them have lost weight, the swelling in their legs has gone down, and they are looking better. Some have fared less well, and we are currently addressing their specific issues. All in all though, there is a marked improvement in all of them. This batch of hens were noticeably sluggish and slow to respond. On very cold winter days, my dad would go down to the chicken house at 10am, and take the birds that were lacking feathers and therefore cold, and move them one by one to a sheltered area in the sun to warm up. A little line of cold hens lined up in the sun. At 3:30pm, he would move them back into the hen-house. They seemed to even lack the energy or know how to put themselves in a better position. This level of attention to their welfare is what we are all about, and I believe that our mortality rate was substantially reduced by his exemplary care of the birds. I am so grateful for his input.
I took a crowd of our girls from home out to the sanctuary 2 months ago. These are all hens that needed specialised nursing and veterinary care, and have been nursed back to health. They are fitting in well, and enjoying th freedom of the farm. The famous Galhinia, who was plucked alive last year, went out to the farm. See her story from earlier in the year. https://chickenrescueandrehabilitation.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/galhinia-additional-benefits-for-additonal-money-plucked-alive/
Sadly Galhinia did not do well at the farm, and became highly anxious, and was being bullied and hen-pecked by the other chickens. She has an amazing personality, and was such an integral part of our family, I think adaptation to farm life was difficult for her. I have brought her back our family home, and she is doing fabulously again. She suddenly has more feathers than bare skin! It has been almost a year since I found her at Zandspruit squatter camp.
We also took a little motley crowd of hens and a rooster from Boksburg SPCA, and various odd bods we have picked up along the way. All are doing well, and it gives me so much joy to watch them growing in confidence and doing what chickens should be doing – lying in the sun, dust bathing, foraging in the dirt, and socializing appropriately. At present, we are not taking anymore hens into the sanctuary, as we are focusing on getting the ones we have into tip-top condition. This is using up all our available resources. However, we have so many amazing homes lined up through our database, that will adequately fill the gap in the meantime.
At home we still have Lesego (rescued from Zandspruit squatter camp with badly infected torn toe and nail). https://chickenrescueandrehabilitation.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/welcome-lesego/
Lesego has lost the nail and end of toe for good, but is coping marvellously. She still sleeps in our bathroom at night, and although she is ready to go and sleep in the hen-house, I am not at all ready! I still love going to her last thing at night before bed and giving her a little cuddle in the dark. We also have the three pullets rescued earlier in the year, Galhnia and Sarafina. Sarafina is an old lady, and became depressed at the farm after her soul mate and friend Cindy was taken by a rooi kat. Sarafina will live out her natural life with us at home.
what can you do?
- Buy free range eggs only. Boschveld eggs are the real deal. Woolworths ok. Don’ trust everything that says free range.
- Write to Woolworths and put pressure on them to start putting free range eggs in their baked goods. Mark is doing fantastic work with Woolworths. Here is his mail address if you want to get involved firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you like hens and want a few in your garden, and want many hours of joy – contact us via blog or Facebook to find out how you can rescue your own hens, and what it entails.
- Stop eating chicken! They have terrible lives, and an equally terrible end. Please see our blog for Bellos story. Our broiler. Genetically modified to get from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks. You are eating GM meat, which is mostly fat and not protein. These baby birds are lame from growing too quickly, and never have the love and comfort of their mothers. Don’t support this cruel industry.
- Join our Facebook page, and suggest it to friends. This helps to raise awareness
- post your own relevant stories on our Facebook page, and start discussions
- educate yourself on the brutality of factory farming all animals, not just chickens. One Voice and compassion in world farming are both great organisations .http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596841537&v=info&ref=ts#!/compassion.za and http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596841537&v=info&ref=ts#!/profile.php?id=100000532481419&v=wall
- if you are not already vegan or veg, have meat free Mondays.
If you can think of anything else you can do…..let us know…..