Angela, Dora and Gretchen – A month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is Angela and I live in Essex England.

This is our story. Almost 2 years ago I opened a YouTube video on Facebook. It was footage of a knackery showing the murder of horses for cheap meat. I had never seen anything like it before. I had never seen the look of knowing and terror on an animals face before. I wanted to vomit and my hands shook. I became vegan. The months following my awakening to the horror of animals used for food were dark. I felt helpless, overwhelmed, angry, ashamed and very depressed. Rescuing my girls was part of my recovery.

How many chickens do you have? and what are their names?

My girls are called Dora and Gretchen. They had a sister called Blossom but she was mauled by a suburban fox and we lost her.

I adopted them from the British hen welfare society. The day we collected them was deeply moving. All these motley, raggedy and confused hens chirruping quietly in this big barn as kind hands picked them up and took them home. It was a joy to watch my girls discover the life they should always have been leading. They loved it all!! Grass, sunshine, dust baths and running for the sheer hell of it. Their personalities grew! They loved music and I enjoyed introducing them to a variety of treats. I allowed my girls to free range when I was home.

Early one winters morning I heard a terrified commotion and sprinted down the stairs to be confronted with a fox shaking Blossom in his mouth. I screamed at the fox to drop her but it was too late. We learnt a painful lesson and I had a huge fox-proof run built for Gretchen and Dora. It extends the width of the garden and is sheltered by trees.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I hang out with Dora and Gretchen. We love lolling on the grass, Gretchen perched on my tummy snoozing and Dora flopped against my leg. Dora, the explorer is the adventurous and very greedy one! Gretchen is broody and loves scratching and pecking my body… it is a wonderful chicken massage treatment.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

They recognise me and are always pleased to see me. We have our lazy indulgent garden routines. When the weather is grim the girls join me on the sofa for  a spot of TV. These hens have changed my life and the way I see chickens.

Chickens deserve to be recognised as the unique individuals they are.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

They need light, space, freedom, affection and food… Everything that you would expect for your dog or cat. They are not nuggets, breasts, wings or drumsticks. They are not body parts, a flavour or an ingredient but inquisitive, amusing, intelligent, characterful beings. When I have a bad day I hang out with my hens and am at peace with the world.

I could watch them all day long. I am a cat person who fell in love with chickens!!

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