Category Archives: Broilers – meat chickens

Muk Muk Baby Broiler

Our most recent addition to the sanctuary is a baby broiler (broilers are genetically modified for accelerated growth for the meat industry).  This is Muk Muk. On Sunday my car broke down out in the Magaliesburg mountains. I stopped at a roadside pub for assistance, and found an open (no shelter from elements) with aprox 40 broiler chicks in it. They were starving and had no water. The temp was 34 deg Celcius. I managed to negotiate immediate food and water for them. It was pathetic. They were cannibalising each other, and clambering at the fence to try and get out.

In amongst the mayhem of chickens fighting for the food and water now provided, I spotted a broiler with a large tear in her/ his side. I confiscated her immediately, and brought her home. Her name is Muk Muk.

On Sunday I was able to give her pain meds, clean the wound and apply an anti bio cream. Jean, our vet, checked her yesterday, and we continue with the same treatment, trying to get some of the grimy dirty scab that formed to slowly peel off at the edges. We can safely do this over a week, without subjecting her an anaesthetic and large painful clean.
Muk Muk is on a low calorie, high fibre diet. I would like to try and slow down her accelerated growth at this vital time of ligament, bone and muscle growth. This is her best chance of a successful life as a broiler.
Again I am reminded of how grotesque and disturbing it is to deal with a young broiler. Large body, oversized legs,  tiny comb, and a peeping chic inside that body. Muk Muk is looking for all the comfort and assistance of that of a 4 week old chick. In two weeks, she would have been ready for slaughter. This is the meat people eat.

Broilers, come into my life again, and I am reminded of the horror of their lives

Earlier this year I picked up a rescue chicken thinking it was an ex layer, and realised to my horror that I had a broiler.

See our posts on Bello the broiler rooster. 6kgs of chicken! 


A broiler is a chicken bred for the meat industry. These poor creatures are gentically modified to go from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks. They have massively accelerated growth, which has painful and gross side effects. Heart and organ complications, severe growing pains – as their legs bones battle to grow in accordance with their rapidly growing bodies. Often lameness leaves them flopping about pathetically on the floor. 

‘Most chickens don’t get to live their natural bird lives. Hens and roosters raised for meat typically are crowded into poorly ventilated sheds with 20,000 other birds of the same age and sex. They are trucked off to be killed at six or eight weeks of age, catching their first breath of fresh air only as they are on the way to a ghastly death. Hens in egg factories live longer but endure more torture. Confined in cages so small that they cannot open their wings or even lie down comfortably, they are driven mad by boredom, despair, periodic hunger, and chronic pain. After close to two years of such horror, they too are trucked off to slaughter’ – Eastern Shore sanctuary 

Bellos journey was painful and sad for us all, and I have actively avoided broilers since then. They are walking (or in most cases, not walking) heartbreak. They are designed to die and suffer to provide us with cheap animal protein. 

In June this year, we took 80 chickens from an NSPCA rescue. 

Despite my concerns that these were broilers, I was assured they were not. Just badly treated and overweight. Both were true of them. What is not true, however, is that 3 months down the line, I now know that these are broilers. These girls, despite being on a farm and free ranging, have not lost weight, infact they are getting fatter by the day. They are displaying all the foot problems that occur when their bodies are too heavy. They are listless, do not forage much, and do a lot of open mouthed breathing in hot weather because of their heavy bodies. Most of them weigh in excess of 3kgs. A slim healthy layer weighs between 1 kg and 2 kgs. 

I am not sure many of these girls will make it through the heat of summer, and of course we have an eye on lameness, and monitor the pain they are in when they walk around. All these are determining factors as to wether we choose to euthanase that particular hen or not. We are going to have to constantly monitor the quality of their lives and make some heartbreaking descisions. 

Please be aware that the chicken you eat at restaurants, buy from supermarkets, and is present in baked goods, is all from broilers. By buying and eating chicken you are enabling this horrendous industry. 

Please join our facebook page for more information and the opportunity to add your own photos, comments and information.!/pages/Chickens-as-pets-not-food-Chicken-Rescue-and-Rehabilitation/101165646600196

Busy few days, and last chance for loving chickens – off to abbatoir at 11 am tomorrow

We have had a busy few days, and I am too tired too fillin all the details right now.

I have witnessed a backyard botched chicken slaughter, which has sent me off to buy the chicken killers a sharp axe and block – something I never thought I would be doing. A blunt rusty blade is just too cruel an end.

We have a new chick from Zandspruit called Lesego (means Lucky). She is fabulous but has an issue with her toe. Will post pics and more info tomorrow.

I have 26 of the NSPCA chickens brought home tonight. They are in very poor condition.  The response to our mails has been good, however, this is your last chance to contact NSPCA Vereeniging and get chickens – they are being sent to abbatoir at 11am tomorrow. Speak to Danie.

More details tomorrow. Off to bed.

RIP my beautiful Bello

Yesterday morning I had Bello euthanased. A day I had been preparing for since the day I got him, given his compromised genetically modified body. However, even knowing the day was coming, I never really seem to be prepared for the reality of the heartache of saying goodbye.

Bello’s started limping last Wednesday, and by Saturday he had become lame, and was unable to lift himself up on his legs. Even pain killers were not touching sides, as he panted with distress and pain, shifted pitifully from wing to wing and called to me constantly. I could not wait to get him to Jean on Sunday morning to end his short, compromised life, and more immediately end his suffering.

I would have loved to have been able to euthanase Bello in the comfort of our home, but it was more humane to give him an anaesthetic gas to go to sleep first, and then to inject the euthanase. I held him until the end, and talked to him constantly. Knowing he was out of his misery was an immense relief for me, however, I also feel very sad and very angry.

Sad, because I loved Bello. I can still smell his clean feathers, and feel what it was like to dig my nose into his soft neck. I shall miss him. Angry because Bello represents an Industry that has modified chickens to grow from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks. Bellos body was designed to work against him from the start. Anything I did would not have made a difference to this outcome. He got to 20 weeks, and there was a part of me that thought we may have beaten the system. Sadly for Bello, not.

STOP eating chicken for the sake of every other Broiler out there!

I am not sure I will readily go through this again with a broiler. Bello required a huge amount of input, and he was never truly comfortable. I think Bello had the best time he could have. He died knowing what love was, a line of a poem comes to mind ‘if love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.’

We buried Bello in our garden. My daughters drew 2 beautiful pics for him to be buried with.

Rest In Peace my magnificent and brave boy! You did influence a few people to stop supporting the chicken industry through your life.

Bello – a sore injury or lameness?

Last Wednesday Bello started limping and was clearly in pain. I took him to Jean, and she gave him an anti inflam, and one for the following day. Anti inflams hammer chickens kidneys, so you cannot give too much. Really not good for them. By Thursday Bella was pretty immobile, and yesterday, he could not walk and standing caused him to hyperventilate. I consulted my homeopath, and asked her if she was able to assist. She gave me some joint and ligament supportive remedies. Started treatment at lunch time yesterday.

A friend of mine also offered to do some T touch on Bello, which he loved. Fell asleep during treatment.

At present Bello is requiring us to feed and water him in his bed. This morning seems no different.

I am hoping this is an injury which will heal, however, my fear is that this is what we have been watching for in Bello – lameness. Lameness brought on by a cruel industry that has modified these chickens for meat consumption. Bello’s legs cannot support his giant 6 kgs.

I feel so sad for him (and for me, I have grown so fond of him).  At this point I am thinking will give him a  few more days, get a few medical opinions, and mostly watch this boy that I know so well, and monitor his comfort and pain levels. If nothing changes, then I will euthanase Bello, and try to focus on what he did have in his short life, and not what he has not had.

STOP EATING CHICKEN! When you buy chickens for food, free range or not, they have been modified to grow too quickly and their bodies are consequently sore. You are supporting a horrendous industry.  Bello is representative of this revolting industry.