Tag Archives: Battery cage

Hens eject unwelcome mates

Chickens have their own battle of the sexes, and scientists have discovered a secret strategy used by hens to control who fertilizes their eggs: After mating, hens can eject the sperm of less desirable, low-status roosters.

A new study has shown that, during an average ejection, a hen jettisons 80 percent of the sperm a rooster deposits in her reproductive tract. This has a huge impact on the competition among males fighting to father her future chicks, according to study researcher Tommaso Pizzari, an evolutionary biologist and university lecturer at OxfordUniversity in the United Kingdom.

“It is beginning to appear females can play a much more subtle, but powerful role in the battle for fertilization,” Pizzari told LiveScience.com.

A few things to know about chicken sex: Both sexes are promiscuous, mating with multiple partners. Hens, however, often don’t have a choice in mates. They prefer males at the top of the pecking order, but other roosters with lower status will force the hens — about half their size — to mate. Rather than attempt to fight off the undesirable mates, hens appear to have developed a more subtle way to reject them.

Scientists already knew that hens could eject sperm, but in the recent study, they set out to find evidence that hens were actively using this technique to control fertilization.

Using chickens from a flock that lived in a semi-feral setting, similar to their wild ancestors, the red jungle fowl, Pizzari and other scientists led by Rebecca Dean who conducted the study while at Oxford and is now at University of Uppsala in Sweden mated hens with various roosters; the scientists ranked roosters’ social status from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most dominant. They then videotaped any sperm ejection that followed the mating and collected the results. To determine how this compared with the total sperm the roosters had deposited, the researchers captured all of their semen during another set of controlled mating attempts.

Their results confirmed that sperm from the least desirable, low-status roosters suffered the most for several reasons.

When mating with a series of roosters, hens ejected more semen from the later mates. Since lower-status roosters don’t get the first shot at the hens, for this reason alone, their sperm are more likely to be ejected, Pizzari explained. But even controlling for mating order, status had a strong effect on whose sperm the hens kept. In addition, lower status roosters were more likely to ejaculate more semen in one shot, and the team found that hens were more likely to eject larger ejaculations.

“It is likely in more natural situations, subdominant males are disadvantaged in many ways,” Pizzari said.

The study appears in the September 2011 issue of the journal The American Naturalist.

Source: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/hens-eject-sperm-from-unwelcome-mates

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Homes4Hens

Picture

Kathryn and Michael Vogelenzang

In 2009 Home4Hens was founded by Kathryn and Michael Vogelenzang in Dumfries and Galloways to become the first chicken rescue and rehoming organisation in Scotland.

Their mandate was simple, to give commercial laying hens a future after farming. Their aim, to help to provide a free-range retirement for ex-laying hens otherwise destined for slaughter.

”We launched our hen rescue after collecting 6 hens to keep as pets from a local farm. Within 30 minutes of watching the hens explore their new lifestyle we realized that we wanted to do more so we returned the following day and brought home 20 more hens! The urge to provide a better future for ex-commercial hens grew with our enjoyment of watching them and so we decided to launch Homes4Hens.”

PictureHome4Hense buy ‘commercially spent’ hens from UK farmers who support the work of the charity.  The girls are treated to a health check up, ensuring their best care and attention before releasing them to loving homes.

If you choose to re-home a few hens from Home4Hens we’re sure you will find it as rewarding an experience as we do. Not only are you providing commercial chickens with a well earned retirement and saving them from slaughter but they also reward you with great eggs and great entertainment.

Website: http://www.homes4hens.co.uk/index.html

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Homes4Hens-Battery-Hen-Rescue/311860965493589?fref=ts

Pupils at Ashford’s Towers School knit jumpers for Chickens

Chickens wearing jumpers like those being knitted by Towers School pupils

Chickens wearing jumpers like those being knitted by Towers School pupils

Chickens will soon be strutting their stuff and shaking their tail feathers in a range of colourful handmade jumpers produced here in Ashford.

The mini jumpers are being knitted by a group of sixth-formers at the Towers School in Kennington, for ex-battery hens which have lost their feathers.

Gemma Newington, the teacher of the personal social and health education class, said: “We were learning about the rights of animals when we stumbled across a few charities that take in donated jumpers for chickens.

“We felt so sorry for them and decided to have a go at knitting a few ourselves.”

Ex-battery hens lose their feathers when they get bored while in tightly packed cages, as they pluck out each other’s feathers.

Pupils at Ashford's Towers School knit jumpers for chickensPupils at Ashford's Towers School knit jumpers for chickens

Pupils at Ashford’s Towers School knit jumpers for chickensPupils at Ashford’s Towers School knit jumpers for chickens

So knitting woollen outfits has become a popular answer for chilly, bald chickens.

Lauren Chandler, 16, one of the students who has been knitting jumpers said: “I am finding it rather difficult to knit a mini jumper for a chicken but I am trying my best to get it right because I know it is for a good cause.

“Although, when I tell people I am knitting a jumper for a chicken they think I am either lying or completely bonkers.”

“when I tell people I am knitting a jumper for a chicken they think I am either lying or completely bonkers” – Lauren Chandler

Battery cages are now banned under EU law, but hens are still kept for egg-laying in small cages up until 18 months of age.

After this they produce fewer eggs and so are slaughtered for use in pet food, or rescued. Charities like the British Hen Welfare Trust and Fresh Start aim to rehome these ex-battery and commercial hens as pets to give them a better and longer life.

Julie Smith, who works a hen rescuer and rehomer for Fresh Start in Kent, keeps 13 ex-commercial hens as pets and encourages more people to do so.

She said: “The hens are so friendly and it is so therapeutic to watch them running around. They sit on my lap just like any other pet. I want them to have the life that they deserve.”

But, some feel that knitted jumpers should only be used in the most extreme cases of baldness, to provide extra warmth.

Wendy Reynolds, part of the rehoming team at the British Hen Welfare Trust said: “People must be careful with chickens in jumpers. If the jumper gets wet in the rain, they can make the chicken even colder, and the jumpers shouldn’t be used as a long tern solution as this can hinder feather regrowth.”

For more information, go to http://www.freshstartforhens.co.uk/

Distraught owner appeals for return of sick chickens and turkeys after raiders snatch 20 from her garden

  • Distraught Mollie Green has offered £2,000 appeal for return of pet chickens
  • 16 of the stolen hens were ill and need medication
  • Turkeys George and Maud, who she had for five years, are also missing
  • Four raiders were caught on CCTV cutting into the wired enclosure
DJ Mollie Green feeding her hens before they were stolen on April 30

A DJ has told how ‘evil’ chicken thieves stole her precious pet poultry, and is offering a a £2,000 reward for their safe return.

Mollie Green had rescued most of her 20 hens and two turkeys from battery farms and says that she will ‘never get over it’.

She lovingly refers to them as her ‘girls’ and named the turkeys George and Maud.

The theft from a paddock at her home near Coventry, West Midlands, is especially cruel as 16 of the hens were ill and disabled.

Four raiders were caught on CCTV cutting their way into the wired enclosure with sacks in hand ready to snatch the birds.

A few minutes later they had filled the sacks with the birds which they slung into the back of a van and drove away at 10.15pm on Tuesday, April 30.

‘If anyone has looked after an injured animal they’ll know the bond is incredible,’ said the 38-year-old DJ who works for BBC WM and is married to Richard, who also works in radio.

‘That’s what these animals are to me, I was responsible for each and every one of them.

‘We’ve had George and Maud for over five years, they are part of the family.’

‘I’m still devastated. I’ll never get over it. It’s the not knowing. I know they’re somewhere around here but I don’t know where they are.’

‘The overwhelming sense of responsibility for their lives is what I live with. For someone to snatch them away and end their lives that way is unspeakable. It’s evil.’

‘Commercial chickens are the most abused animals on earth and they are in my care, there’s nobody else.’

Mollie Green with a hen that she rescued from a battery farmTo the rescue: Mollie Green with a hen that she rescued from a battery farm

‘These animals have no value in the world except to me, I’m responsible for their little souls.’

Mrs Green, who volunteers for the British Hen Welfare Trust, gave a home to the recused birds.

The theft of domestic fowl has been on the rise in the UK since it has become fashionable to keep poultry as pets and a source of fresh eggs.

The cost of the animals has shot up from around £5-per-bird to £30, according to the Domestic Fowl Trust.There are also fears that the birds could have been stolen for food.

Mollie is offering a reward for the safe return of her 20 hens and two turkeys Heartbroken: Mollie is offering a reward for the safe return of her 20 hens and two turkeys

Appealing for information about her beloved birds, she said: ‘This is time critical, some might still be alive.

‘But some won’t have survived. Quite a few are on medication or need to be hand fed. They won’t be alive without me.’

Mollie tearfully recounts the images of the thieves captured on CCTV.

‘It was the worst thing I ever had to sit and watch,’ she says.

Pictured is CCTV of a van captured near Mollie's home on Tuesday 30 April between 10.15pm and 10.30 pmEvidence: Pictured is CCTV of a van captured near Mollie’s home on Tuesday 30 April between 10.15pm and 10.30 pm

‘But if everyone could look out for this van. It is a long wheel base, semi high top, Ford Transit type van. The colour’s not clear, but it’s definitely not white.

‘If enough people print out and keep the picture in their cars, we will find this van.’

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2323445/Distraught-owner-appeals-return-sick-chickens-turkeys-raiders-snatch-20-garden.html#ixzz2TBHRtPoT

Stop ‘The Rotten Egg’ Bill

United States Egg Industry Bill Would Keep Hens in Cages Forever

“Opposing ballot measures is very expensive. The only way we can avoid them is through federal preemption. That is the reason why we need federal legislation.” — Gene Gregory, President,
United Egg Producers

The egg industry’s trade association – the United Egg Producers (UEP) – has hatched an insidious plan:   It is now pushing for federal legislation that, if enacted, would forever keep hens locked in cages, despite the wishes of the vast majority of the American public.

Under the guise of “enriching” cages, the egg industry’s legislation would:

  • Nullify existing state laws that ban or restrict battery cages.
  • Deprive voters of the right and ability to pass ballot measures banning cages.
  • Deny state legislatures the ability to enact laws to outlaw battery cages or otherwise regulate egg factory conditions.

To accomplish this, UEP’s federal legislation would amend what is known as the “Egg Products Inspection Act.”  Specifically, the amendment seeks to federally establish that egg factory cageswould be legally accepted as national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote.

The Humane Farming Association and other responsible activists have united to defeat this scheme.

UEP claims that its legislation would eventually result in “progress” for laying hens.  Just the opposite is true.  In reality, the egg industry merely agreed to slowly (at the glacial pace of 18 years) continue the meager changes in battery cage conditions that are already occurring due to state laws and public pressure. 

Fortunately, there is still time for all of us to stop this agribusiness scheme.  You can do two easy things right now to help the Humane Farming Association defeat this bill with just a few clicks: sign our Humane Farming Association petition and email your representative right from this website.

Please help make clear to our elected leaders that the egg industry’s unprecedented attack on anti-cruelty laws, states’ rights, and animal protection must not stand. Thank you for helping the Humane Farming Association and others to Stop the Rotten Egg Bill!

Click here to read a veterinary perspective on the Rotten Egg Bill.

Responding to The Rotten Egg Bill’s Specific Points

For political cover, UEP inserted a few diversionary provisions. None of them holds up to scrutiny.

Ammonia Levels: The Rotten Egg Bill contains nothing that alters current standards for “ammonia levels.” The bill merely duplicates UEP’s existing standards (which allow unhealthful levels of ammonia) and seeks to put that into federal law.

Forced Molting and Euthanasia: As for ending the practice of forced molting of hens by “starvation” and water deprivation – egg companies do not advocate that to begin with. Far from changing any currently accepted molting practice, the bill merely adopts UEP’s own existing standards. The same goes for “euthanasia” standards and other empty provisions tossed in to distract from the central issue: keeping hens in cages.

UEP’s Game of Inches: Prior to the Rotten Egg Bill, the egg industry passed state legislation calling for 116 square inches of cage space per hen. With a mere 8 square inch adjustment, UEP’s federal bill calls for a still cruel and depriving 124 square inches per hen – “phased-in” over 18 years. This token modification does not “double” the cage space from what UEP has already advocated as a standard. The bill’s own proponents have stated that a hen needs at least 216 square inches just to spread her wings.

Decriminalizing Animal Abuse: The bill contains no criminal penalties whatsoever. While overriding state laws which docontain appropriate criminal penalties, the Rotten Egg Bill would shift all authority to the industry-controlled USDA.

Fraudulent Labeling: As far as labeling egg cartons, UEP’s Rotten Egg Bill certainly would do that. For the very first time, the fraudulent term “enriched” cages would begin appearing on egg cartons nationwide – in order to deflect public concern – and to increase egg sales from caged hens.

The position of the Humane Farming Association and other responsible activists and organizations remains clear:

  • Cruelty is cruelty.
  • There is no such thing as an “enriched” battery cage.
  • No humane organization should ever endorse these abusive confinement systems.
  • Our state laws and voting rights must not be given away.

I ask all my American readers to please consider this proposal and sign the petition to STOP this rotten egg bill!

Hens Deserve Better

In Australia, the RSPCA continue to fight for an end to the cruel and immoral battery farming methods of old.  You can see more about their work here.

Caged hens live in a space the size of an A4 envelope.  That’s the equivalent of your living in a space the size of a portaloo.

Could You Live Like This?

Chicken in cage size of A4 paper, woman in portaloo

Did you know that by purchasing cage-free eggs instead of cage eggs, you're giving hens a better quality of life.

Make a difference, make the right decision, look out for the rspca logo on egg cartons

Want to make a hen Happy? Make a difference by completing tasks on the Take Action list and adding your own. Share what you’ve done with your friends and inspire them to help hens too

Rehome Ex Battery Hens

Ex Battery Hens

If you’re looking to rehome ex battery hens or ex-commercial hens – including barn hens and commercially free ranging hens – then the Hen Rehoming Hub is here to help! They provide a free mapping service of the UK, that lets you find your closest hen rehoming organisation, bringing you the latest rescue dates and collection locations.

Simply enter your post code or nearest town and select ‘Find Chickens!’ into the map on the main page. The Hen Rehoming Hub will return the latest rescues happening closest to you. Select a hen icon to find out more, and follow the links to start the ex battery hen rehome and adoption process with the relevant rehoming organisation. The ‘i’ information icon denotes commercial hen rehoming organisation headquarters, who deal with enquiries and may also operate rescues.

Please note all hens rehomed via organisations listed on this site are meant for pet homes with a ‘no cull’ policy.

Click on the picture above or this link to go to the website: http://www.exbatteryhens.org.uk/