Rescue Hens

A bit before the summer, my work registered with the British Hen Welfare Trust to get some ex battery hens. We had this idea already for a while, but now the chicken run was ready. They let us know that there would be a pick up day on the 10th of June (2018). So that day I drove towards Reading, where I was going to pick up some hens. I was so excited! Giving these beautiful animals a second chance in life, after living in such unfair circumstances, was giving me goosebumps! It’s aways a surprise in what condition they are. Some hens still have quite some feathers, but some are all bold. The pick up place was at a beautiful university and it was nice to see that too actually. As the place was quite big, there were a lot of signs telling me where to go. Eventually that lead to some stables in the back. I parked my car and got out, armed with a big, straw filled box.

Before getting the hens, you have to register and tell them how many hens you’d like to take home. I was going to take 4. Then I made a donation. They suggest £5 per hen, but it’s totally up to you. I think it’s nice to give them some extra, because they’re doing such good work and it’s all going towards another rescue. Once that is all done, you can go to one of the stables. I was second in the queue, so I didn’t have to wait very long. The stable was full of chickens. The stables weren’t very big, but I’m sure that they never had so much space in their life ever before. They were all in the corner, being scared obviously. Being in the light, with so much people around them. It was all new to them. The people in the stables caught 4 chickens and put them in the box and that’s that. Time to go home!

At home I put the box in the chicken run and opened it slowly, not to scare them too much. They were all a bit stressed, on their tummy, with their beaks open. Poor babies! I didn’t force them, but let them get used to their surroundings. They stood up and looked around and after a while I picked them up carefully and.. there was the moment.. for the first time in their life they felt dirt and grass. They walked very funny, stretching their paws and lifting them up very high. They were looking at the ground, walking around and it was just so lovely to see. It was a beautiful day and the sun came out. When they felt sunshine for the first time it was like they couldn’t believe it. They dropped on the ground, spreading their wings, putting all their feathers up, closing their eyes. My heart was smiling so much!

The next day they started to lay eggs (that I’m obviously not going to eat). Most of them looked alright, but one of the chickens has really big eggs. You can see on the picture how huge! Her eggs are still not very normal nowadays. A lot of times they’re still very big, the shell is very thick and chalky and yesterday she laid a wind egg. I really hope that her eggs will get better though, because it can be a bit dangerous. They became friends with the 4 chickens we already had too. In the beginning they didn’t hang out together at all. Now they still like to hang out in 2 groups sometimes, but they definitely became friends.

Because they are used to living in a small cage, they do not get into the chicken coop or on the perch by themselves. So the first few days I had to put them into the coop, onto the perch. They instead just randomly chose a place to sit when it was getting darker. After 3 days of doing this they got it though. So clever! Now 1-2 sometimes still sit on the bottom of the coop though, but at least they’re safe in there. They’re doing so much better now and they look so much better too. Their feathers look better (not perfect yet though) and their faces and comb are all red now. It makes a huge difference. If you look at the picture, you can see them on their first day and the way they look now. Their faces and comb were as good as white and now they have such a nice colour. They roam free every day now and they love it! It makes me so happy to see them so happy every day!

Would you like to rescue some hens too? Then go to the British Hen Welfare Trust and register now! They rescue 50.000 chickens per year and seeing them enjoying life is so worth it. Do you already have some rescue hens? I would LOVE to see them. Please show them to me! You can do this by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Vegan Advice #2

qaLet’s talk about veganism! Once in a while I like to do a ‘Vegan Advice’ post, where I’ll be giving answers to questions I get asked a lot. Every time I will answer 3 questions. You maybe read my first Vegan Advice already. That one answered the following questions: ‘Can I still eat something nice in a restaurant?‘, ‘How would my environment react?‘ and ‘Can I do it?’. This time I will answer 3 questions too: ‘Where do I get my protein from?’, ‘Can I eat the eggs from my own chickens?’ and ‘Do cows have to be milked?’. These are questions I get asked all the time. If you’re vegan too, I’m quite sure that you get these questions all the time as well. Especially question number 1..

16Where do I get my protein from?
Lets start this 2nd Vegan Advice with a classic. I think this is the most common question you get as a vegan. That’s why, whenever I get asked, it always makes me laugh a little bit. There are still a lot of people out there who think that you need to eat chicken, eggs and greek yogurt to get a sufficient amount of protein. Luckily plants have a lot of protein too. Very good quality protein. For everybody who doesn’t know yet or for people who would like to have a reminder, there we go: Black beans, Lentils, Tofu, Chickpeas, Soy, Edamame beans, Peas, Tempeh, Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Chia Seeds, Spinach, Broccoli, Almonds, Peanut butter, Spirulina, Tahini, Nutritional yeast.. and I can go on and on, but these ones are some important ones, which are particularly high. What means if you eat lots of these things, there will be no problem with your protein intake. Always aim to eat a varied diet though, don’t only get your protein from peanut butter guys, haha!

img_5915Can I eat the eggs from my own chickens?
Of course you can, but it wouldn’t be a vegan thing to do. So what are you suppose to do with the eggs? I would (and many people do) feed them back to the chickens. Chickens in the wild tend to do this too, to get the lost nutrition back into their body. The chickens nowadays, especially the ones who are bred to lay eggs, lay a lot more eggs than a chicken normally would. It’s insane to think about breeding an animal in a way so ‘we’ can make a profit. Some chickens will always lay a lot of eggs for a long period of time, that’s simply how they were bred. Very sad if you think about it. Other chickens won’t lay any eggs after a while or only just a few a year. This last situation is normal. Imagine a chicken who has to lay 1 or several eggs a day? It would be very vulnerable for predators and a waste of nutrition. Eating eggs is just not a unnatural thing to do. It’s not ours to take. So eating the eggs of your own chickens would also be unnatural. Normally, chickens who were used to lay a lot of eggs, will lay fewer eggs after a while. Especially if there is no rooster around. I was always told that a chicken who lays a lot of eggs, is very happy and a chicken that didn’t lay eggs was unhappy. Now I’m thinking about it, it always was the other way around..

IMG_0696Do cows have to be milked?
If I get this question, I’m always a bit flabbergasted. I do admit that as a child I did believe this too, because this is what you’re told. I am surprised if an adult asks me this though. No offence, because if you never thought about it and you were always told that cows exist to give us milk, then you don’t know. But a cow is not a magic milking machine. In order to give milk, a cow has to, just like any other animal and just like us humans, give birth first. By drinking milk you’re not only supporting the fact that the baby is stolen from the mum 1-3 days after giving birth, but you’re also supporting that more cows come into this world every day. More cows will suffer, more milk will be produced, more cows will be killed and also the more cows there are, the worse it is for the environment. Cows and other livestock are responsible for more than half the CO2 in the world. Apart from that, milk is one of the worst thing you can drink if you want to live a healthy life. So a cow will not suffer if you don’t milk it. If you don’t milk a cow after giving birth, the calf will drink the milk and stay with his/her mum for at least 6 months. Slowly it will drink less milk and slowly the milk will ‘dry up’. Exactly the same as with humans.

Did you already know the answers to these questions or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X