We adopted Lurline, an ex-battery hen in June 2010. More correctly, I think Lurline adopted us...
When Lurline and Eggwina, the other ex-battery hen, first met our other hens there was much eyeballing, inspecting and clucking. I was concerned my other hens may not accept them, so I settled down with a cuppa to supervise and bust up any fighting. There was a bit of pushing and shoving, but no worse than my kids on a bad day!
It was such a joy to watch the two girls explore their new world. Everything was new, the leaves falling from the trees startled them, and the first time they experienced rain they kept fluffing themselves and looking up with a "how RUDE!" look on their faces. We really enjoyed watching all their 'firsts'.
The kids have learned so much about compassion, taking responsibility and the fact they CAN do something about the things they see are wrong in the world.
Within the week, Lurline appeared on our back doorstep at sundown. I heard a bit of clucking and when I looked around the door, there she was peering in through the screen door. Bemused, I let her in...
Now every evening she appears at sundown, comes in and inspects the dog's bowl (much to the dog's complete disgust), clucks at me for some vegie scraps while I am preparing tea, then wanders off to find the kids. Usually she checks the couch first, and if someone is watching TV she cuddles onto their lap for a nice scratch, a bit of telly and a snooze before she gets taken off to her bed outside after tea.
Another favourite roost is on the end of my son's bed to nestle down and get sleepy while he does his homework. He loves to chat with her while he is working and she seems utterly contented too.
She steals snacks from the kids, chases the dog and the cat when she can, chats to me in the kitchen while I'm cooking and generally acts as though coming in at night with the family is the most normal thing for a chicken to do. We love her very much and delight in watching amazed visitor's get the Princess Lurline once-over! We call it "chicken customs."
One Thursday evening, the kids and I had been late night shopping. We got home about 8pm and I was anxious to tuck the chickens in. I opened the back door expecting to scoop a sleepy compliant Lurline off the step to carry to bed. What I didn't expect was to find was a glaring very indignant chicken standing there for all the world looking like she had her wings on her hips saying "I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU FOR HOURS!!!!!!" I got some very loud clucks and she stalked past me and got on with her evening as she had planned. After we all finished laughing at this obviously put out chicken, I gave her some peace offering treats and carried her to bed. She protested the whole way to her coop. I still had the giggles in bed later that night!
Lurline and Eggwina are just beautiful. They are just as friendly, if not friendlier, than the three hens we raised from tiny chicks. Sometimes I sit and wonder how these beautiful girls can still trust humans after the beginning they had in life as a caged battery hen. It makes me feel ashamed to think what things we can do to other living creatures.
But then, I remember that bad things happen when good people do nothing. At least by adopting two hens we have given those two lives a new chance. It might be a small thing, but at least it is something.
Of course we think Lurline is one in a million. Unfortunately she's not. She was one in 11 million battery hens in Australia suffering everyday.
But even just one life, one hen, makes a difference and boy, does it feel good!
Lurline is just one of the lucky hens adopted out by the Battery Hen Adoption Project. If you are interested in giving some hens a special home, please email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org