Jonathan, Henry, beaky, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme – a month of the glorification of the chicken

Henry and Beaky
Henry and Beaky
Henry
Henry

Hello, my name is Jonathan Nettleton.

I am a strict vegetarian (would be vegan if I didn’t eat free range eggs from my own chickens). I work as an ambulance driver for the NHS.

Favourite quote “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”  “Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last river has dried up and the last fish has been caught, will man realize he cannot eat money!”

Where in the world are you?

Shropshire, England

How many chickens do you have?

8

Chicken names?

Henry, beaky, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

Sitting in a deckchair hand feeding tidbits

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

Their inquisitive nature and friendliness

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

They are the most amazing pets with funny quirky habits that will make you laugh out loud.

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

The way they come running every time I step into the garden

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

1: all chickens should be free range,

2: no chicken should be killed for meat,

3: all chickens should be allowed to live a natural life.

4: free range should mean free range not just a few hours on a small grass paddock.

5: ban KFC.

Sorry can’t think of ten.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

Please ban all intensive forms of chicken farming including so called free range which are hardly better than battery farms.

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Candy and her flock – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation SA

morning light on some of our rescue flock
morning light on some of our rescue flock
escaping the heat of the African sun. Our chickens enjoy the freedom they have previously had stolen from them
escaping the heat of the African sun. Our chickens enjoy the freedom they have previously had stolen from them
me at age 6 years old with Henny Penny
me at age 6 years old with Henny Penny
Me and baby Mac
Me and baby Mac
Me and ex batt Daisy
Me and ex batt Daisy

Hello, my name is Candy and I started and run Chickens as pets not food – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation South Africa.

I live with my long suffering husband of 20 years (no, not long suffering because he is married to me – I am actually very nice) but long suffering because of the multitude of animals that pass through our home weekly, leaving a trail of joy, tears, heightened emotion, depleted finances and poo!

I have two daughters age 10 and 11, 3 dogs and a flock of chickens.

I became vegan 6 ½ years ago when I was confronted by the horror of factory farming and slaughter, and no longer wanted to be an enabler of this commercial torture and slaughter.

Rescue, rehab and activism is in my blood. My paternal grandmother was escorted out of the circus in the UK in the 1940’s when she produced a banner from her bag saying ‘ban the circus’. My maternal grandmother worked in a laboratory that kept guinea pigs for testing, and throughout my childhood she would arrive at my home with a guinea pig or two under her jersey with the unspoken intention that they were to be liberated and I would be fundamental to their sustained liberation going forward.

My sister worked, and still works, in wildlife rescue and rehab. She has carved a name for herself in the annals of South African wildlife care and rehabilitation through her passion, compassion, skill and dedication to all creatures great and small.

My mother and father were serial rescuers of lost or injured dogs, cats or other strays. We were the family that was frequently late for social arrangements because we had been chasing a lost and frightened dog around Johannesburg roads and that activity took precedent over everything else.

My father loved, and loves nature and would take me out into the South African veld early in the morning and show me the beauty inherent in the fauna and flora around me. My dad always said ‘it takes a strong person to be kind, and a weak person to be cruel’.

It was my parents that came home from the Rand Easter Show in the late 70’s with my first chickens. 2 tiny chicks that grew into a large white leghorn rooster called Sunshine, and a cute little hen called Henny Penny. Sunshine was a feisty rooster who frequently chased our neighbors up their own driveway with intent to do harm. At age 6 years I was the only person who could manage our large aggressive rooster, and I would be urgently summoned to rescue our shrieking neighbors. It was my first real love affair!

Where in the world are you?

Johannesburg, South Africa

How many chickens do you have?

At present we have 9 chickens living with us, but our flock increases and decreases depending on rescues and re – homing’s.

Chicken names?

There have been so many. Our current 9 are Li Li, Maya, Chicken Claire, Irma Rosenstein, Ivy, Buttercup Rose, Ruby, Abby and baby Georgie.

How do you spend quality time with your chicken/ chickens?

I love spending time with my chickens. They are an integral part of my family. I spend time sitting on the lawn with them, observing their behavior, cuddling those that want cuddles, communicating across our language barriers. Sometimes I massage our large white broilers (genetically modified meat chickens) to relieve and ease their growing pains, giving butterfly kisses on soft chicken eyelids, and pressing my nose into their feathery necks and inhaling the most gorgeous specifically chicken smell that is the familiar and safe backdrop to my life from childhood to now.

What has surprised you most about your chicken/ chickens?

I had this amazing hen called Mac. Mac had one leg and I rescued her when she was a chick. Mac knew her name, understood ‘up’ and would spring into your arms, came for cuddles whenever there was an opportunity, clearly displayed jealousy when I held one of my other hens, communicated very clearly around her different needs (her cluck for jealousy was different to needing water, different to needing food, was different to wanting to be picked up or put down). Mac taught me ‘chicken’ and raised my levels of awareness to start looking more carefully for clear communication signs in other chickens.

The more time I spend with chickens, the more surprised I am, at how given the opportunity for a more sophisticated lifestyle, they grow into that potential very quickly.

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

It’s a travesty to eat them, cage them or crowd them! We are going to look back on our treatment of chickens with horror when the world wakes up to the levels of consciousness, intelligence and sensitivity that I (and others) have come to recognize in chickens. Our great grandchildren will hopefully look back at the treatment of chickens in production in the same way we look back at slavery, the holocaust and other atrocities that have been committed through history.

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

My chickens come when I call them, and it is not always food motivated. Some of them even respond to their individual names. Our rooster lets me pick him up, sometimes he lets my daughters hold him, but will run away from anyone else. Our rooster does not mind closed shoes, but dislikes sandals, especially if they are black or white in color. Our flock’s ability to distinguish certain people from others, certain colors from others and certain shapes from others is clear in their choices and behavior.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

  1. The basics – good quality food, fresh drinking water and shelter from the elements
  2. A chicken companion or more than 1. Chickens are highly social birds and need to company of other chickens.
  3. Space to roam free. Given the opportunity, chickens can cover 2 to 3 Kms a day whilst roaming around foraging.
  4. A sunny spot with some good soft sand for a dust bath.
  5. Access to good veterinary care, should they need it.
  6. A clean environment, an environment that is free from parasitic mites and goggas.
  7. A compost heap or rotting ground leaves to dig and scratch in.
  8. A safe comfy place to lay their eggs, and to die when their time comes.
  9. A carer that is sensitive to their chickens needs, and acknowledges their chickens for the noble birds they are.
  10. A human being that is going to fight hard for their basic rights, because they really need it!

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

In the absence of fully understanding exactly what chickens feel, think and desire, can we really take the chance and treat them as commodities? The cruel treatment of animals has been linked strongly to an inevitable extension into the cruel treatment of other humans. If we adopt a stance of ‘no violence’ that extends across all species, it can only benefit the world wide treatment of human beings. As leaders, you have the power to make some real changes, (this extends to us all) what are you going to do with those choices? What legacy are you going to leave behind? A legacy that contributes to the civilization of humankind, or one that holds us back in our current hell?

 

Sophie, Li Li and the rescue girls – a month of glorification of the chicken

My daschund Gus loving our other dog Bobby
My daschund Gus loving our other dog Bobby
Me and our one legged hen, Mac.
Me and our one legged hen, Mac.
Me with Li Li and one of our ex batts
Me with Li Li and one of our ex batts
me when I was little, cuddling a rather large broiler
me when I was little, cuddling a rather large broiler

Hello my name is Sophie.

I am 11 ½ years old. My mother runs a chicken rescue organization. I enjoy reading and spending time outside. I play guitar and I recently started playing electric guitar. I have always wanted to play electric guitar, and now here I am.

I enjoy dancing and do Hip Hop, and have my Gauteng junior colors for rhythmic gymnastics. I am very social, and work hard at my friendships. I love my friends and my little sister (some of the time!).

I love all animals. I have 3 dogs and 9 chickens. 3 years ago I rescued a puppy daschund form the SPCA. My mum was dealing with some chickens at the SPCA and told me to entertain myself. I went to look at the puppies and it was love at first site. If I tried to leave him he started crying. I lay on the driveway of the SPCA and sobbed until my dad said I could have him. Every morning, my daschund Gus and I have cuddles before school.

Where in the world are you?

Johannesburg, South Africa

How many chickens do you have?

At the moment we have 9 chickens. They change quite often depending on rescues and rehabs. My favorite at the moment is Li Li, our rooster. Li Li is small and fluffy. He always fights with black shoes.

Chicken names?

Li Li and lots of girls!

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I enjoy feeding our chickens and watching them run after me as I walk across the garden with food.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

What has surprised me most about our chickens is how different they all are. Different colors and different personalities. For example, Irma Rosenstein is the big bossy girl. Irma is always wanting to find out exactly what is going on in the garden. If anybody finds something new she is the first chicken at the site!

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

They are lovable feathery creatures, definitely not there to be eaten. I don’t eat chicken cause I am a vegetarian, but I also have got used to them as family, and eating them just seems wrong.

Debbie, Christiaano and their flock – a month of glorification of the chicken – post 18 of 30!

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Hi my name is Debbie. I am an animal lover. I do volunteer work at a animal shelters, study part-time and work in the day for a building company. I have four rescued dogs, now own a few chickens and would love to adopt the goat that’s video was placed on you tube last week.

Where in the world are you?

Cape Town , South Africa but my girls live in Robertson

Chickens & Names

I have ten hens:

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I adopted my ex-bats from various places. My First two ladies came from Mandela Park in Hout Bay. At the time I was supervising on site , and one of the workers went and bought me two white girls. My next girls came from Chicken rescue Cape Town. And my last few from Guguletu informal Traders. I only wanted to buy Three ex-bats that day and ended up with seven.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

Introducing my new seven ex-bats two weeks ago, has challenged the pecking order. For the first time I truly saw where the saying originated from

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

These are the first chickens I have ever owned, as well as Christiaano my angolian employee. We have had to learn as we go along. It has been great fun in watching our girls get more confident and fatter and healthier. Introducing my new seven ex-bats two weeks ago, has challenged the pecking order. For the first time I truly saw where the saying originated from.

I was always heartsore at the condition of my ex-battery hens on arrival. But never had a chicken that could not walk at all. Until my last rescue. I bought home Petri ( now fondly referred to as cluck,cluck) I thought she was just dehydrated and starved when I first got her and she fell over. The next day her head was lifted and she still did not walk. I began to worry that Petri was ill , but a few days later the discovery was made that she had never been given the opportunity to learn to walk. I have now had ‘cluck-cluck’ for a week and a half, she is slowly standing and walks a few steps at a time. But she tires quickly. She comes to work with me, to college and sleeps inside with a blanket over her at night.

My other girls are on the farm free ranging. The dogs have all been taught to leave them alone. A long slow process 🙂 I hope that some of them will live a long ripe old age.

I have realised that every single time you save a life, there will be a different emotion with it. And every single little soul a different personality.

How do you know that your chickens recognise you over and above

other people in their lives?

My chickens live with my Angolian who manages my little farm for me in Robertson. They don’t really recognise me much,(though I like to believe they know I rescued them originally),,,,,, but run to the car when I arrive.

When Christiano shouts ‘cuuc,cuuc cuuc’ they all run to him . They will happily follow him off to the Chicken coup and go to bed for the evening. It is beautiful to watch. They follow him everywhere. If he crosses our stream , they will cross it with him.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

The companionship of others. The need to feel the sun on their bodies, the ability to wander and eat all our home grown vegetables. Being able to run around the farm and explore on their own. Fighting amongst themselves as to who is the Alpha female. A good diet and having the freedom to lay an egg when desired. Sleeping at night without forced daylight, and hearing them purr.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

If I were a chicken I would say, “I am an earthling , please take care of me. ”

Justine, Daddy, White -ty, Blackie, Caramel, Snowflake, Kit Kat, Pudding, Sugar, Spice, Snowball, Ice cream, Bubbles, Smarty, Tiny and Bob -a month of glorification of the chicken

Boekenhoutskloof pictures 2014 156 Chickens 001 Boekenhoutskloof pictures 2014 471

Hello, my name is Justine and I am 8 years old. I was born in Johannesburg, and live in Pretoria (Dinokeng area) South Africa.

Three years ago my father and mother decided city living was not good for my brother and I. So they bought a small game farm. My Nana(74 years) had three hens living in her yard in Bryanston, so she decided to get me some. A Country life is nothing without a few chickens to eat all the bugs!

Our family love all types or creatures. My mummy re homes and rescues all types of animals and birds and I help

her. I love my chickens.

Chicken names?

Daddy, White-ty, Blackie, Caramel, Snowflake, Kit Kat, Pudding, Sugar, Spice, Snowball, Ice cream, Bubbles, Smarty, Tiny and Bob

What surprises me about chickens?

All my chickens come when I call them. If I sit under the fruit trees with them the hens come sit on my lap. Last year two sisters helped raise 4 eggs and then shared the babies out equally. My mummy takes the eggs awaynow as she does not want too many chickens in the yard so the hens hide the eggs in the bushes. We have to go look under the grass.

Chickens love vegetables, even the vegetables that I do not like!

How do they recognise me?

All my chickens know me because I spend time in the yard and they come when I call but I must have treats for them. We dust them for mites so they get handled often. Mommy helps me.

10 Non-negotiable factors

  1. Keep them in a coop safe from predators
  2. they must have a roosting place to lay eggs with hay in it
  3. they must have fresh water everyday
  4. they must have lots of room to run around in with lots of grass and trees
  5. they must have sand to dust bath in
  6. they must be de-ticked, de-wormed and de-ticked monthly
  7. keep the chicken coop clean and wash with disinfectant daily
  8. you must talk to your chickens
  9. you must love your chickens
  10. treat chickens kindly as many of them die horrible deaths for humans greed of food

Educate on types of Chickens

I think people do not know enough about chickens and there types. Most people only know about the white laying ones or the brown meat slaughtered one’s. The more information people have the better they might understand the breeds out there and how to look after them.

But people still need a moral core to be kind to such a humble creature that gets taken for granted. They are Sentient beings like all other creatures.

What would I say to decision makers in my country

It is very difficult to stop people eating animals. The Human creature is wasteful consumer without consideration for the animals and creatures that give up their lives for such gluttony.

Please ensure that all creatures are treated with respect and kindness. Give them a peaceful and secure life. If they are to be slaughtered please do it with mercy and without pain. Please have the consideration that they all have feelings like humans. We all can feel pain and experience loss.

I want the all creatures and especially chickens to be treated properly.

Thank you for hearing my story. My mummy helped with the difficult questions and helped me type this up. xx

Kate and her 21 strong rescue flock – a month of glorification of the chicken

photo (1) photo photo[1] photo[2] photo[3] photo 1

Hello, my name is Kate.

I live on a plot near Fourways in Joburg, South Africa. I fell in love with our little piece of land because it was everything a retired township donkey could wish for- and that was the plan- to offer a little herd of ex-working donkeys a safe place to enjoy their lives. I currently have 6 donkeys, 1 cat, 7 dogs and as of Friday- 21 chickens.

 How many chickens do you have?

21

Chicken names?

At the moment I am still getting to know them, they moved in almost a week ago and are still in dreadful condition. I will name them as I get to know them each individually. I really like the name Henrietta for a chicken.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

At the moment the chickens are in a fenced off area around their house while they get stronger and settle in. Their wooden wendy house is under a tree and the enclosure has 2 little benches inside it. Since they arrived I have spent many many hours sitting on the bench or on the ground with them, watching them get used to their feet, watching them dust bath for the first time, enjoying watching the politics play out- they are fascinating! I have also been sprinkling food close to me when I sit on the ground and I have so enjoyed watching the ones who were initially quite nervous, come closer every day and now almost the whole flock scratches around and joins in the fun without hesitation or worry.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

I am surprised by how quickly they have learnt the routine. Their first night we had to catch them all and put them in their house, the second night there were already a couple chickens already inside and a few chatting away at the bottom of the ramp- they clearly knew where they were supposed to go from the night before. From the third night onwards everyone makes their own way up their little ramp and into their house, there are just two who seem to be slow learners.

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

I did not realize how much fun chickens are- as in as a flock not as pets necessarily. They play, they zoom around, some of them RUN from one place to the next. Yesterday one of them found something that was clearly delicious (I have no idea what is was), the look on her face and the sound of delight had every single chicken zap their heads up to see what was ‘THAT cool’. She realized her mistake and dashed off at full speed to protect her prize. The entire flock was in hot pursuit and a chase began. As she tired another chicken would manage to catch up and snatch this thing out of her beak. It was like a relay race and the ‘baton holder’ changed many times. The game went on for about 20 minutes, eventually someone managed to get far enough ahead to find 0.3 seconds to eat the prize.

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

I don’t yet, they get excited about anyone coming to the gate at the moment because right now all people mean replenished food bowls! There are 4 of us taking turns on checking on them while we all settle into a routine so they haven’t decided on any favourite people yet.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

SUN! I can’t believe how much they seem to love lying around and preening in the sun- something they never get to experience when in a battery/ intensive farming environment.

Space to run around. What busy creatures, I don’t think they stop for a second other than to bask and clean in the sun.

Lovely clean earth. The dust baths go on for ages and they seem to love their time kicking up soil and rolling around. I would say dust baths are essential to a chicken’s happiness.

A variety of foods. They get so excited about food and whatever is the most recent bowl to go down receives a huge amount of interest. They seem to enjoy food variety as much as we do.

I have one chicken who fancies herself quite the flier. She goes half way up the ramp and leaps off flapping all the way down- she is getting quite good. The option to be able to spread her wings and flap them is crucial to her happiness.

I can’t believe how much chickens drink! They are certainly at the water bowl much more frequently than any of the donkeys or my cats or dogs. Fresh clean water is obviously essential to everyone but the chickens seem to be almost obsessed with it- maybe it is because of how dehydrated they were when they arrived?

Somewhere safe to go at night. They get quite panicked if the sun goes down and the entire flock isn’t safely together in their house. They certainly worry about the remaining flock members still outside and the hens on the ‘patio area’ of their house chatter away and once the final chicken arrives they all go in to their house together calmly.

I am sure in time I will be able to list 100 points but for now this is it.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

It is hard not to go on a vegetarian/ vegan rant here. Obviously the message that all farmed animals would want to send out would be to beg for the end of their suffering. These animals are too intelligent, feel too much and think too much to be subjected to the lives we lock them into. Even if the message went out from all animals to every single person on this earth via main-stream media- still nothing would change, by the time you are an adult, locked into you habits and your beliefs you will choose ‘convenience’ and the ‘easy, lazy route’ every time. Children need to connect with animals from a young age, they need to be taught to be empathetic and they need to keep hold of the belief that ‘animals are just like us’ and not lose it as they grow up. So maybe animals- being more conscious than human’s are- would want to send out the message that every single child needs to have a pet and learn to love an animal with their whole, unbiased, childhood heart.

Jessica, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Coriander and Parsley – a month of glorification of the chicken

jessica

Hi my name is Jessica. By day (and often by night) I am a video editor. That’s how the bills get paid. But that’s not who I am. I am an animal lover. All shapes and all sizes. I started volunteering at a shelter a few years ago and then began studying companion animal behaviour shortly after that. I’m hoping to both improve the welfare of animals in shelters and help the owners prevent the behaviours that inevitably land them there.

Where in the world are you?

Glen Austin A.H., Midrand, South Africa

Chickens & Names

I have five hens: Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Coriander and Parsley.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I adopted my ex-bats from Chicken Rescue & Rehabilitation on 26 September 2014, so at this point I’ve only had them for a week! But every day I sit and hand feed them to allow them the chance to associate positive things with my presence. Slowly I’ve begun stroking them, Rosemary and Thyme like it, the others are still a bit skittish.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

Basically everything has been a big wonderful surprise with these girls! I can say that my favourite thing about them is how quickly they’ve bounced back from a life of hell. My girls have two houses: an adapted dog kennel and a beautiful coop built as part of a skills development program run by Owl Rescue Centre South Africa (a great organisation – support them if you can!). I feared that they may not have the muscle or skill to walk up the ladder and roost or lay eggs in the coop so we were going to start them off in the kennel. But on the first night Rosemary was attempting the stairs so my husband and I helped them all up. The second night we watched three girls make their own way and helped the other two. By the third night all five were already in sleeping cozily in their coop before we even arrived to tuck them in! I have to admit, I was insanely proud of my clever, clever girls.

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

Since I’m a total newbie at caring for chickens I don’t hand out much advice, although I am taking in as much as I can get!

How do you know that your chickens recognise you over and above

other people in their lives?

Well, they don’t. Not yet anyway. BUT! They could barely walk when their feet first touched the ground, now they come running when they see me! (I know it’s because I come bearing yummies, but that’s ok.) It’s both adorable and hysterical – they still have a feather shortage so they look a little ridiculous when running! It makes me love them all the more.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

I’m not sure yet, I think time will tell. All animals have an innate set of instincts. Cats hunt, rabbits burrow, dogs chew. For an animal to be content it needs an outlet for the fundamental behaviours that define her. So I think most importantly it would be to let them be themselves in as close to a natural habitat as possible. Sunshine, dust, good quality food, a place to roost, to lay, a shady spot, protection from the wind, rain and predators. As a behaviourist, mental stimulation is always at the top of my list so, once my girls are settled, you can bet I’ll be training them just like Little Miss Sunshine! (https://vimeo.com/89058823)

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

If I were a chicken I would say, “Please respect me.”

Working in welfare keeps you realistic while remaining hopeful. Not many years ago, animal shelters were a place of horror. Slowly but surely, the adoption process is becoming more strict, home checks are mandatory and pet care education is on the rise. The same can be true for farming. I think it is naïve to believe that factory farming will ever entirely cease to exist but there is absolutely no reason for any animal to be tortured. There are ways to ensure welfare of animals and still turn a profit. If the animal must die, it should at least have had the chance to live.