Written by NSW Hen Rescue Founder, Catherine.
Patty was rescued from the side of a motorway in NSW. She had fallen from a truck that was taking her to slaughter.
When I met her, she was only a baby, 6-weeks old with blue eyes and the sweetest little chatty cheeps. I placed her on the grass to examine her, and she hopped for joy – this was Patty’s first time feeling grass! I noticed a bone sticking out under her wing and rushed her to the vet. The vet said the injury is consistent with being roughly handled by the catchers in the shed. Their job is to grab the birds – often by the wings – and throw them into the crates to go to slaughter. The catchers jerk the birds if they wriggle too much. In Patty’s case, her bone had been forced through her flesh.
As a result, she needed to have her wings amputated. The operation went well, and soon Patty was a big white fluff ball – you couldn’t even tell she was missing her wings!
I would watch her dust bathing and think of everything she had survived to be here. She loved to chat away to me as she explored the garden. She made best friends with another special needs hen, Maddie, who was also found on the same motorway. Maddie, an Isa brown layer hen, looked tiny next to Patty’s growing body. They did everything together.
We did everything we could to keep Patty comfortable despite her breeding. She slept inside on a memory foam bed, and we made sure to have her inside with the air-con on hot days. After a few months, she was too big to do zoomies, but she would still sunbathe and forage with her friend. A year later she passed away in the house, with Maddie by her side. The one thing we couldn’t rescue her from was her breeding. But that year of love and care meant everything to her and Maddie.
NSW Hen Rescue provides a home for hundreds of rescue layer hens, broiler chickens, and ducks. If you would like to donate towards their wonderful work, please click here.