Do The Funky Chicken

At this time of year BC likes to bring its readers some heart-warming tales of joy and happy endings, and here is one such story ...

It seems that Brockley is fast becoming a haven for rescued ex-battery hens. Local vet John Hankinson is becoming a bit of an expert as chickens become the area's latest pets.

Kate Hinze, a Brockley Society stalwart, recently joined the chicken-keepers' club by acquiring three hens named Bertha, Peeper and Atilla. Through the auspices of a charity which helps to re-home battery hens that are en route to the slaughterhouse, they were rescued from sudden death thanks to an early-morning roadside assignation with the farm lorry.







Contrary to many people's first impressions, chickens can get by perfectly well in the average suburban garden (as long as it's well-fenced to ensure they don't invade the neighbours' grounds). And modern hen-houses include a secure night-time inner compartment which should keep them safe, even from the predations of Brockley's tooled-up urban foxes. The main downside is that they will rip up small bedding plants, Kate warns - so don't expect to have a perfect garden. Another minor negative is the need to get up early in order to let them out - this could be a problem for those who are fond of their beds.




As hens are pack animals, it's not recommended to have fewer than three at a time. On average, three hens will produce 7-8 eggs a week. Sadly, ex-battery hens tend to have short lifespans because their bodies have been exhausted by the industrial farming process.

Kate says her three have very distinct personalities, and as a consequence she has become passionate about using non-intensively farmed eggs.




Kate is happy to talk to anyone who's interested in getting chickens; you can contact her via BrocSoc.

14 comments:

Gavin said...

My dad kept chickens when I was a kid, and got one or two ex-battery or bred-for-battery hens at one point. If they are the bred-for kind, I'd advise against trying to keep and raise them. Within weeks they had grown to such a gross size that they couldn't support their own weight on their legs and had to be put out of their misery. They are bred this way, bred for life in a cage with zero mobility and maximum meat. It was a horrible sight. There seems little point in trying to rescue the kind that has been bred in this way, and the only solution is to outlaw this nightmarish breeding.

foghornleghorn said...

Its no good using Chicken wire,Foxes easily make there way through that,as my friend found with his daughters rabbit,who's head luckily was found by him one morning.So he got a replacement before she found out.

little red said...

I've read on somewhere that ex-battery hens have a tendency to kick the bucket suddenly, and for no apparent reason. Though earlier-life stressors clearly aren't going to do them any favours in the long run.

oryx said...

I thought this was going to be a thread about fried chicken shops.

I always laugh at the ones with a logo of a smiling hen. Like it would be happy knowing it will be chopped into little pieces, battered, fried and served with reconstituted potato masquerading as chips (or should I say 'fries'?).

oryx said...

I thought this was going to be a thread about fried chicken shops.

I always laugh at the ones with a logo of a smiling hen. Like it would be happy knowing it will be chopped into little pieces, battered, fried and served with reconstituted potato masquerading as chips (or should I say 'fries'?).

foghornleghorn said...

I think they would rather be fried than live on a battery farm

The Cat Man said...

Do they mix well with Cats? I wouldn't mind having a few, is there a minimum garden size recommended for having 3? My garden is about 10m by 4.5m wide, is that big enough?

Anonymous said...

"the only solution is to outlaw this nightmarish breeding.

or to continue to eat the yummy chickens and not engage in predictable new age faddism.

Anonymous said...

well obviously a flightless bird is the perfect companion for a cat.

Anonymous said...

I know people who have cats and chickens and haven't had any problems. Bantams (they're the little ones, aren't they?) might be vulnerable but full size chickens would be too much for a cat to attack.

It boggles my mind that people are quite happy to eat battery eggs and intensively reared chickens even when they know the sheer misery of the chickens' lives. How can compassion for animals be viewed as a 'fad'? I'm happy to eat meat, but only if I know the animal has lived in decent conditions. I'd rather go vegan than eat battery eggs.

Tamsin said...

Cousins in Cornwall have free range chickens on their farm co-habiting quite happily with the farm cats. Also with the rural foxes - natural selection, only those that roosted high up suvived to breed.

Monkeyboy said...

Perhaps they'll learn to fly? Or perhaps bark.

Evolution or the intelligent Designer at work....Brockley Central decides.

Anonymous said...

My neighbours kept chickens (3 of them) for around a year. It made my life an absolute misery, every morning from around 5am the noise would start up.

Was so glad when the foxes intervened on my behalf. I now regularly leave them left over roast chicken to thank them for their community spirit.

For your neighbours sake, I hope it's only a matter of time Kate...

Tamsin said...

I met Kate's hens this morning (alas only two now, one has succumbed to the stresses of her former life). They look very well and happy and one of them produced an egg with very little noise and minimum fuss while I was there.

I am not sure how much it costs her per egg in woman hours letting them out in the morning into the bigger run and making sure they are safely roosting when dusk falls, and in corrn and feed, but it seems a very worthwhile enterprise.

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