Allowing hens to hatch eggs has not been a sanctuary policy. Our system is overloaded with hens and roosters needing a safe haven, so why bring more chicks into this world? EXCEPT, that 2 of our hens have challenged us on this point by sitting on eggs, despite us removing them for long periods to the detriment of their health. We undertake to give our chickens a safe place to live as natural and normal a life as possible until their natural end. Eventually we allowed them to hatch 2 chicks each – November last year, and March this year. This has made them proud mums, and very happy. Maybe this is just something we are going to have to allow once in a while, for those that really want to be mums. Most of our chicks don’t seem to have that urge.
Princess Jet, fetched from NSPCA 2 weeks ago after being abandoned on a property by tenants, has joined the sanctuary. Our little man featured here, Bolero, came to us last year, after being confiscated by SPCA from a petting zoo.
Bolero is a real lover, and gently woos our hens with worms that he digs up for them, bits of food, and general gentle behaviour. He has 4 firm followers and through his dedicated caring has created sustainable relationships. This is in stark comparison to our other rooster, William, who works on the take by force method of seduction, and is often rejected or attacked by our fed up hens. William then stands bewildered, wondering what went wrong. Bolero took one look at Princess Jet and started his particular brand of seduction. By end of day they were inseparable.
Having mentioned William, he has actually found a little love, from Hope. William came to us last year through NSPCA. He had been locked in a garage for months, and had food and water, but little sunlight and space, and alone. He rules the roost out at the sanctuary, and although makes our hens very cross, does protect them when he feels they are threatened (by anyone else other than him!). Hope has been at the sanctuary a month. She came from Holomisa township, ex battery, ready for informal slaughter, with another hen we have named Joy.
Hope and William seem to be spending a lot of time together. Here I caught Hope gently cleaning Williams face, while he relaxed on the driveway.
We welcome Ralf, Mark, Prude and Trude. A year ago, we were approached by a guy who wanted to give us a rooster who was disturbing neighbours, and get a rescue hen from us to keep little Trude company. We rescued Prude for him. Prude and Trude have been with this guy for a year, and surrogated two chicks last October – Mark and Ralf. Sadly this guys situation has changed,and he cannot keep the chicks anymore, so he asked if they could live at sanctuary. Over weekend, he brought the chicks around to settle them in.
The last time I saw Prude she had no feathers, and was in a poor way. She is now healthy and gorgeous after her year of a good home. Nice to get some healthy, well loved chicks into the sanctuary. Here the 4 are enjoying some rockery time!
Sadly, we said goodbye to 2 of our broilers this weekend. Their quality of life was no longer good. We now have 10 left of the 40 rescued June 2010. They were such a compromised bunch, and we have had to really watch them carefully to make sure they are not suffering. Many have died of heart attacks – bodies too fat and compromised. many we have had to euthanase. But all 40 got some quality of life, and died knowing what it was to be free and loved. That is our aim. RIP lovely girls.