Chicken Sweaters!

During my research of battery hens, I came across a very sweet and wonderful aspect of the laying hen story. I was very weighted down with the lives these poor little birds are forced to live, and then I came across the information that there are people out there who re-home hens that have reached the end of their commercial laying lives. (Usually around 18 months). At this point the hens are sent for slaughter, to be made

Beautiful hens in warm sweaters.

into pet food etc. Some very blessed hens however get their first chance at living a life of freedom, a life every chicken should be able to live from the very beginning. Now they can stretch their wings, feel the sun shining on them, have dust baths, and just run around in a clean and spacious environment. Thanks to caring and compassionate individuals, these little hens who have only been valued for their eggs, now have a chance to just be themselves. They are chickens that need help, and there are good people out there who want to help them.

Most of the hens have significant feather loss from their horrible living conditions, and so they are more likely to become chilled and sick. So, a wonderful idea has been thought of…chicken sweaters! πŸ™‚ Many wonderful people have taken the time to knit or crochet pretty sweaters to keep these lovely hens warm while they grow their feathers back. I have been thinking I would like to do the same, and send them to organizations that deal with rescue hens. I crochet, so I know I could learn a pattern for a chicken sweater. So far, I have found far more about re-homing hens in the U.K., but I’m sure I can find something in Canada.

Here is a link to the website of a wonderful organization that is helping hens in the U.K. :

Little Hen Rescue

Here is a video showing one group in the U.K. who has helped these beautiful hens by giving them sweaters. The birds seem to really take to the sweaters, and I know they help a lot.

This video is from ArchantNorfolk’s YouTube Channel

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Animal Rights, Chickens, My Birds, Poultry, Video


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She’s Better! :)

My pretty black hen is all better. πŸ™‚ The olive oil and crop massaging seemed to have worked. Last night she didn’t seem any different than the day before, but this morning when I checked her, her crop was empty and she was no longer moving her head back and forth. I just came back from up at the barn, and her crop is still pretty empty. She does have access to food and she is alert and acting normal, but if she is taking it easy today it’s probably for the best. I am going to keep monitoring her to make sure she’s alright. I am very grateful she’s doing better. πŸ™‚

Here’s a link to a page that gives a bit of information on the issue of impacted crop. It mentions surgery, but of course it is a last resort, and thankfully I did not have to do that myself.

Impacted Crop – Poultry Help


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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Animal Rights


Impacted Crop Video

Here is the video I said I would post. I took it this evening. Before I left for work this morning I gave my hen some more oil and massaged her crop, and I did so again when I got home from work, but there still doesn’t seem to be a lot of improvement. I’m not sure how much she ate today either. Although she does seem interested in food and in her surroundings, I am worried that she will not be able to process her food properly.

Anyway, I will continue to care for her as best I can, and I hope she gets better soon.

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Bird Health, Chickens, My Birds, Poultry, Video


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Crop Bound/Impacted Crop

One of my hens has what I believe to be an impacted crop. Yesterday I noticed that she was moving her head and neck around from side to side as birds will sometimes do when they eat too much too fast. I thought this was why she was doing so then, but this morning I realized she was still doing it, and her crop was still full. She had not eaten all night and her crop should have been empty, but instead it was hard and full. So, I did a search on Google to see what I could do to help her. I read that vegetable oil or olive oil sometimes assist in loosening whatever is compacted inside the crop. I used an eye dropper as suggested and gently massaged her crop. It felt kind of like her crop was becoming softer, and I repeated this procedure several times throughout the day.

So far it still seems like there is quite a bit in there, but I gave her some more oil tonight as it was getting dark and all the birds were settling down for the night. I also decided that I would only give her water and no food just for today, to see if her crop would successfully empty. I will check her in the morning to see if everything has passed out of the crop.

I took a short video showing her neck moving behaviour, but it isn’t the right format, so I will try to take another tomorrow if she still has the problem. (I hope she doesn’t of course). I also noticed a bit of odour which apparently can happen with sour crop, but I still believe it’s not sour crop, because she seems to have a blockage, and everything else points more to her having an impacted crop.

One of the more extreme and last resort treatment options I came across was surgery. An incision is made through the skin and then through the crop and the contents are gently pulled out and the crop flushed clean. Of course I would never even consider doing this unless my hen was going to die if I did nothing. I have sewed up many such wounds on my birds in the past, and they have healed, but I would be very leery to do a procedure like this unless it was absolutely my only remaining option. I found a video that shows this procedure being done. There isn’t much blood involved, but it is still a surgery, so please don’t watch it if this kind of thing makes you squeamish.

This video is from jpsinacola’s YouTube Channel

I will post updates and more information on how my hen is doing.

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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Bird Health, Chickens, My Birds, Poultry


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Chick Hatching

This is a video I took in April of 2010. I used incubators to hatch some chicks for Easter that spring. I love being able to witness the miracle of new life. It never gets old seeing a brand new baby bird come into the world. I’ve watched so many little birds hatch and I always think of how amazing it is that they do such a difficult thing at the very beginning of their lives. It takes a lot of work for a little bird to crack through the shell and get itself out of the egg, and they just by nature know what to do to get out. I’ve had to help a few over the years, (which is always a last resort), but of course I very much prefer when they can do it all themselves, like this one did. πŸ™‚

This video is from my YouTube Channel.


Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Baby Animals, Chickens, My Birds, Poultry, Video


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A New Adventure!

Well, tomorrow is the 2nd day of our annual Fall Fair. For about 8 years I was involved helping with chick hatching and taking care of the birds. I even gave a short interview on the local radio station one year. I loved every minute of all the years I was able to help out there. It was so rewarding to show people that chickens are beautiful animals, and they can even make great pets. πŸ™‚

Fancy Pants at 1 year old - Summer 2010

Last year I didn’t help out, and I didn’t think I was going to get to this year either. I worked today, but my mom and dad went to the fair grounds to help out, and they talked to our veterinarian, (he is very involved with the bird aspect of the fair), and he said I can help him out tomorrow. So, I am very excited! I decided I am going to bring my rooster, Fancy Pants. He was actually hatched during the fair two years ago, so he will be going back to where he was born. (Not that he knows that.) πŸ˜‰

Fancy Pants as a baby- Summer/Fall 2009

So, I gave him a nice bath today, which he enjoyed, and I dried him with the blow-dryer so he wouldn’t get chilled. He had never had a bath before, but he was very calm and relaxed through all of it. Then I let him walk around the yard for awhile, and later we went up on the deck, and he sat with me for at least half an hour, he is such a quiet bird. πŸ™‚

He’s a cochin, and they tend to be a quieter breed of chicken. They are also probably my favourite breed. Β I love their feathery legs. Tomorrow Fancy Pants goes on an adventure. I will be sure to take pictures, and perhaps even some video.:)

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Chickens, General, My Birds, Poultry


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Dust Baths!

I spent most of the day up at the barn working on taking down tarps in the old chicken pen/granary. My mom’s little black turken spent most of the day with me. (She may officially be my mom’s, but since I take care of her and spend time with her, really…she’s more mine. ) πŸ˜€ She’s very sweet and she comes over to see me and makes these quiet little peeping sounds. I will have to put a video of her up soon.

While I was up at the barn, I looked over, Β and a number of my chickens had decided to have a dust bath in front of my dad’s skidder. They looked so cute kicking up the dust and rolling around. I could watch them for hours, they always make me smile. Seeing them happy makes me happy. πŸ™‚

I haven’t gotten a video of my birds dust bathing yet, but I did find a cute one on Jess & Krista’s blog. Here it is.

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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Chickens, Poultry, Video


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