Pippin

Pippin was rescued from an intensive duck farm in early January, 2018. He was found at 2am on the outside of the filthy sheds, running up and down trying to get back in. How and why he was left out is not something I know the answer to, but I do know that he was luckier than most of the ducks inside those sheds that night. My friend caught him and he was then destined for freedom.

When you think of ducks, you automatically think of water. There is a reason for that. Ducks and water go hand in hand. Ducks are an aquatic bird. Their need for water to swim in and bathe in  as it is essential for their health and happiness. Duck farming denies ducks of any pools of water to swim in or clean themselves in. Ducks are intensively farmed in sheds and are selectively bred to grow as fast as possible in the smallest amount of time possible. Sheds are not cleaned out until the ducks are sent to slaughter, which is nine weeks  from hatching to slaughter weight. Anyone who knows ducks is aware that their waste matter is much more than a chicken’s and the sheds fill up incredibly quickly with duck manure on the floor of the sheds. Ducks walk, live and sleep on manure caked floors that can be more than half a metre thick.

Pippin was rescued that night along with two other young ducks, Merry and Legolas. All three came home with me, but sweet Legolas didn’t make it and had to be put to sleep. Merry and Pippin became the best of friends – Pippin was the serious one of the pair and Merry was the larrikin. They had such a great time together, squabbling over food and showing each other how to get up and down ramps. They had a friendship no one could break.

Merry and Pippin grew and swam and grew and swam, until one night in June 2018. Tragically Merry and Pippin were taken from their coop by a trespasser who had something against me and killed both of them. Pippin was found dead and stabbed in my carport. Merry was found in pieces in the chicken run. I rescued them so I could save them from a horrific ending, but in the end, it happened anyway.

 

I buried them together, like they always had been in their short lives. Together forever.

BACK TO TOP|SHARE ON FACEBOOK|TWITTER|CONTACT ME
Marthe - May 7, 2019 - 7:44 pm

Omg, so sad to read… I’ll never understand how one can hurt innocent living beings just for nothing… I sit and cry reading the story of Pippin and Merry, though I never met them, so I can only imagine how you can feel everytime the response to your generous actions is hate and violence. You’re a wonderful person, and so are all the souls living with you. Take care. 💛

Chicken Health Care

Over the years, I’ve cared for and loved hundreds of chickens from caged egg layers, free range egg layers, dumped roosters, broiler chickens, tiny bantams, dominant Sussex hens, timid Leghorns and the list goes on.  This has seen me experience so much joy, but also lots of sadness when they leave the world, but it has also given me enough knowledge to help others with their own personal chicken problems. I receive many emails daily asking for help with chicken care, so I thought I should collate some frequently asked questions in to one place for all you chicken lovers out there.

This information is more specific to ex commercial laying hens, but applying it to heritage breeds also works.

Please note that I am not a vet.

Before you even consider taking in chickens, rescue or otherwise, please make sure you find a good vet close to you who specialises in birds. Here in Victoria, I recommend:

*VETCALL WEST FOOTSCRAY
Please ask to see Dr Gloria Perkovic. Gloria has been my chicken vet for many years and is knowlegable, kind and loves animals. I trust her with my chicken’s lives and cannot recommend her enough.

Ph:  (03) 96877711

*BURWOOD BIRD VET

Ph: (03) 9808 9011

*MELBOURNE BIRD VET SCORESBY

(03) 9764 9000

*BIRD AND EXOTIC ANIMAL CLINIC WILLIAMSTOWN

0406 522 013

 

QUESTIONS QUESTIONS QUESTIONS!

These are some questions I get asked on a daily basis.

 

I AM GIVING A HOME TO SOME BATTERY HENS, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO FOR THEM WHEN THEY FIRST ARRIVE?

Newly rescued commercial egg layers need somewhere safe, quiet and dry when they first come to your home. Make sure they have places to hide in or behind, animal carriers work great. Most of these hens have lived in farms where their only access to water has been from water drip systems. Showing your hens where their water is and putting your hand in it and splashing it around helps them figure out that it is indeed water. Make sure your coop and run is 100 percent fox proof. Make sure a fox can’t dig under or climb over in to your run. Chickens must have access to dirt and grass.

Don’t overwhelm newly rescued hens, give them time to settle in. After a few days you can gently start to get closer and handle them. They will need to be sprayed for lice, wormed and have their nails clipped if they are too long.

WHAT SHOULD I FEED THEM?

Hens who come straight from farms need to be fed a diet as close to what they were fed in the farm as possible straight after rescue. Chicken farms tend to feed their chickens the cheapest crumble type of food possible. Feed your hens a crumble without anything else for a week or so. Slowly introduce a grain mix and other foods such as greens, rice and vegetables. Always provide clean water and shell grit.

WHAT HEALTH ISSUES SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?

Chickens hide illness very well. It’s so important that you learn what a healthy chicken behaves like so you can recognise a sick one. Hens who have been living in an intensive farm situation usually suffer from egg yolk peritonitis, vitamin and mineral deficiency (calcium deficiency mostly), respiratory disease (many different diseases) and vari0us infections.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A SICK CHICKEN?

A sick chicken will stand hunched up with eyes closed. They won’t eat. They will be sluggish and won’t run for food. Their crop will either feel full of liquid and squishy (signifying sour crop and another underlying issue in the body) or will feel full and hard (signifying impacted crop). A chicken with sour crop will drink feverishly trying to get their digestive system working again. A chicken with egg yolk peritonitis will look abdomen heavy and will start walking like a penguin. A chicken with coccisidiosis will have diarrhoea with blood present and be tired and hunched up. A chicken with a respiratory disease will be sneezing and have discharge from the nose and eyes.

WHAT HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS DO YOU USE?

I use Poly Aid, Protexin, Multi Vet tablets, calcium injections, Nutri-Gel (aka Nutri-Pet) and various other products, but these are products that are always in my cupboard.

IS MY HEN EGG BOUND?

People tend to believe their hens are egg bound when it’s actually another reproductive issue that their hens are suffering from. Being egg bound is actually not that common in commercial egg layers and your hen is more likely suffering from egg yolk peritonitis, tumours, infection, laying soft shell eggs or lash eggs. To help a hen who is struggling to lay and taking longer than usual, calcium injections can help them along. Your vet can give your hen this injection.

MY HEN HAS STOPPED LAYING. WHY?

If you have an Isa Brown, Hyline or a Leghorn hen who has come from an intensive egg farm or a breeder, you need to be aware that these hens are literally bred to lay themselves to death. These hens only stop laying when they are moulting, if they stop laying at any other time, there is something wrong and you need to get a vet to check them.

WHAT MEDICATIONS SHOULD I HAVE ON HAND?

Pain relief such as meloxicam is something every chicken owner should have access to. Please get your vet to teach you how to give it to your chickens. It’s very easy to kill a chicken if you medicate the wrong way.

WHY IS MY HEN LOSING FEATHERS?

Your hens is most likely moulting. Sometimes chickens will lose feathers when they are ill, but mostly feather loss is due to moulting. During moulting time chickens should be feed more protein, mealworms are a great and easy way to get protein in to your birds. It’s important not to cause any stress to your birds during moulting time which includes no new comers to the flock and no changes in feed or routine.

SHOULD I IMPLANT MY HEN WITH A SUPRELORIN IMPLANT?

I see Suprelorin implants as a tool that is used ONLY to save a life. I don’t believe in implanting hens who aren’t exhibiting any reproductive illness or distress. Suprelorin implants aren’t specifically made for chickens and the side effects on chickens has never been studied. Over the years I have found that hens who are implanted tend to lose their personality and are quite vacant and uninterested in life. Commercial egg layers have a very short life span, taking that in to account, implanting hens without egg laying issue seems to be not only unnecessary, but quite mean. Let them be who they are for as long as they are ok. Suprelorin implants are invaluable to hens who have egg yolk peritonitis, recurrent reproductive infections or egg laying issues. They do save lives for such hens, but there is no need to implant healthy hens with no issues.

HOW CAN I HELP MY SICK HEN?

First of all, get your hen to a vet who specialises in chickens. Your hen then may need to be isolated from the flock depending on what’s wrong. Give your hen a warm, safe place to rest where they have access to a space where they can also hide.

SHOULD I LET MY HEN HAVE CHICKS?

I don’t believe in breeding chickens when there’s so many chickens out there suffering and needing good homes and love.

HOW CAN I BREAK A BROODY HEN?

It’s not an easy task to stop a broody hen from being broody. There are lots of methods explained on the internet, but I don’t feel some of them are particularly kind. I prefer to take the hen off the nest whilst taking away her eggs several times a day. Always offer your hen water and food once you take her off the nest. Be persistent, some hens are harder than others to snap out of it.

SHOULD I FEED THE EGGS BACK TO THE CHICKENS?

Yes! Always! Chickens lose essential vitamins and minerals because they lay eggs daily. It’s a huge toll on their little bodies. Feeding their eggs back to them is a wonderful way to replenish their bodies. You can cook the eggs any way you like or, if you feed them raw, make sure they are clean eggs. Include the shells if they are clean, they contain great calcium.

BUT I FEEL BAD ABOUT TAKING THEIR EGGS AWAY. CAN’T I LEAVE THEM THERE FOR THEM?

Commercial egg layers are selectively bred to not be broody. Commercial egg layers do not care about their eggs and would rather eat them than you leaving them in a nest for them. The eggs you leave will either be eaten by crows and snakes or will start to rot away in the nest. Remove all eggs and feed them back to your hens! They will love you for it.

MY HENS AREN’T LAYING. I WANT TO GET RID OF THEM. WHO WILL TAKE THEM? 

If you no longer want your hens because they aren’t laying, mostly likely due to illness, PLEASE contact me and I will either take them in or find homes for them. Your chickens deserve so much more and they deserve a life where they can live without the fear of being killed if they don’t produce eggs.

At the end of the day, my most valuable advice is  –

PLEASE TAKE YOUR CHICKEN TO A VET! THEY ARE WORTH JUST AS MUCH CARE AS YOUR CAT AND DOG!

 

BACK TO TOP|SHARE ON FACEBOOK|TWITTER|CONTACT ME

Merry

Merry was rescued one hot summer’s night in January, 2018. She was 4 weeks old at the time and was meant to live in that faeces soaked shed until she was 7-9 weeks old when she would have been sent to slaughter for meat. Ducks are aquatic birds and live to swim, they clean themselves by swimming in water. In intensive duck farms, no pools of water are ever provided for ducks. One of their most basic, instictual needs is completely denied in intensive farming.

I saw Merry towards the back of the group of ducks. She was smaller than the rest and ended up sitting down whilst the rest of them walked on. I decided to take her because she was so small and I knew she didn’t look terribly healthy. I grabbed her quite easily and took her home with her friends Pippin and Legolas (all names from Lord Of The Rings).

This image was taken by Unconsciously Cruel www.facebook.com/unconsciouslycruel

Merry is a very affectionate little lady. She craves touch and spends as much time as possible close to her friends. She always makes sure she has her beak resting on Pippin. She had a respiratory infection that meant I had to medicate her daily. With daily interaction and patting, Merry has realised that I’m not so bad. Animals rescued from farms are usually terrified of humans. The only times they see humans are stressful situations when farmers are clearing dead animals out of sheds or when it’s time to be sent to slaughter. For an animal who has lived in these conditions to start to trust a human, it is a very special thing.

Merry has not only discovered the joy of water and being able to swim, she’s also learnt all about the happiness of oats! Oats are her new favourite thing. She prefers them watered down, but oats, water and Pippin are currently her world and that is such a big different to her world that was a shed with a floor made of poo and a future that was a very stressful death.

The following footage is the first time Merry and Pippin ever saw the water.

BACK TO TOP|SHARE ON FACEBOOK|TWITTER|CONTACT ME

Legolas

Legolas was just four weeks old, hatched on this free range duck farm and then thrown in to this shed to live for the next 7-9 weeks until slaughter.

She dragged herself around that huge shed full of thousands of Pekin ducks all born and bred to be a meal. Her leg had suffered a massive break at some point and she could not put weight on it, so she dragged it around with her and used all her strength to hop and slid around the shed following her shed mates. She was only 4 weeks old, but she had already been handed more suffering than most could handle.

Blind since she was born. Suffering congenital cataracts, she never saw the faeces covered shed that she lived in. She never saw her shed mates, but she could feel and hear where they were and tried to be with them at all times for her safety. Ducks in intensive farms are not provided with pools or water to swim in. Ducks are aquatic birds and their need to be in water is as great as a bird’s need to fly. Denying ducks of water in the height of cruelty.

I first remember seeing her laying next to another duck who was trapped on her back. I picked up that duck and she ran off, Legolas didn’t run off though. Realising she was incredibly injured, I took her over to the water feeders where she drank enthusiastically out of my hand when she realised what I was trying to get her to do.

This image was taken by Unconsciously Cruel www.facebook.com/unconsciouslycruel

Yes, Legolas was rescued, but thousands of other weren’t. Thousands of others still sleep on their bed of duck poo in this free range farm until it’s time for slaughter. Being completely blind, Legolas had no idea who was there in her presence, but she knew someone was there. She had no idea that the hands that were about to pick her up were going to shield her the best they could from harm. She had no idea that the person picking her up only wanted kindness and love for her. Legolas was petrified, but she was rescued. She was taken away from that place.

Legolas was born to be eaten, she wasn’t worth helping, she was only worth money in an industry that cares nothing for animals. No one will ever know the true extent of the suffering she endured in that farm.

I took Legolas home with two other ducklings that I named Merry and Pippin. All three developed a very strong bond very quickly, but I knew that Legolas couldn’t see and the challenges before her were great.

Her beak was bruised and marked, mostly likely due to the fact that she couldn’t see and probably got it caught in the food and water feeders constantly.

Even though she couldn’t see and couldn’t stand or walk, her first moments in water saw her little face light up. Her instincts kicked in and she splashed around as much as her body would let her. She finally got to clean herself of all the duck poo that stuck to her. She finally got to be a duck.

Her best day was her last day.

I knew at the farm. My friend knew. We knew. We knew that I was taking Legolas home to save her from dying in that place, but not to save her from actually dying. We knew her chances of living a life free of suffering whilst being unable to walk and being unable to see were slim. She was weak and she couldn’t find the food or the water. The energy she used dragging herself small distances completely wiped her out, her sick little lungs could not manage properly. I tried and I hoped, because if anyone deserved a chance to live it was this little girl. Four weeks of living in duck poo without her body ever feeling water on it. Four weeks of pain. Four weeks of confusion and fear not being able to see. She so deserved to live, but when I put her on the vet table, I knew and my vet knew, we knew what the kindest thing was for this sweet little duckling who was born in to a dark world and seen as nothing but a meal.

She died in peace, with kindness. She was nobody’s meal and she was buried, a simple respect that no animal in the agriculture system is ever given…..our bodies are their graves.

This footage was taken on Legolas’s last day. She spent a lot of it in this pool. She mostly just sat there, but the few moments of energy she had I’ve put together here. At least she got to have this, it’s so much more than the rest of them get.

May your next life be kinder sweet little girl.

For more information on duck farming, please visit www.tamarakenneallyphotography.com/ducks-out-of-water-duck-farming

BACK TO TOP|SHARE ON FACEBOOK|TWITTER|CONTACT ME
Jasmin - January 27, 2018 - 9:02 pm

Thank you for sharing her story with us! That’s so important!
<3

The Festive Bird

Australia produces about 5 million turkeys each year and sales are at their highest in December. It is estimated 75 percent of turkeys farmed in Australia are slaughtered for Christmas day meals.

Turkeys are intelligent, emotional birds who so desperately love their lives and want to live. 

 They are big, stunning birds who are very often laughed about and misunderstood. In the wild turkeys would naturally perch at night in the trees in forests, take dust bathes when they pleased and spend the day foraging and searching for insects and bugs. Sadly, the intensive meat farming industry has taken all of these natural instincts away from turkeys just so humans can eat them whenever they please.

About 5 million turkeys are intensively farmed and eaten by Australians every year. What does this mean for these lovely birds? Just like factory farmed broiler chickens, turkeys are bred to grow as big as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Factory farmed turkeys are killed between 10 – 17 weeks old, whereas in the wild, turkeys can live up to 10 years old. Because they are selectively bred to grow so huge, they develop leg, joint and bone disorders and they also often die of organ failure or heart disease. They live in cramped conditions, and such stressful living conditions promotes behaviours such as pecking and fighting. Instead of giving each turkey more room in these sheds, farmers cut off part of their beaks and part of their middle toes without pain relief to stop the fighting. Factory farmed turkeys get so large that they often cannot move or stand up and end up stranded on the floors of the sheds covered in their own waste.

Turkeys at free range farms suffer the same fate even though they do get access to the outside world and consumers seem to think it’s a kinder option. Free range turkeys still live in such close quarters with many other turkeys which is incredibly stressful and also means these turkeys are living in mounds of their own waste. The following images are from a free range turkey farm in North East Victoria.

The following film, “The Festive Bird” footage was captured by my brilliant right hand woman earlier this year at a free range turkey farm in North West Victoria. It shows the standard procedures at a free range turkey farm.

Please be aware that there is graphic slaughter footage in this film

The Festive Bird is an ongoing series.

BACK TO TOP|SHARE ON FACEBOOK|TWITTER|CONTACT ME
Jasmin - January 27, 2018 - 9:08 pm

Such magnificent birds with so much personality!