Secret diary of a rescue chicken: Saved from the soup
- Credit: Dominic Castle
Meet Flora and her friends, rescued chickens from Fresh Start for Hens now living at a secret Norfolk address...
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I mean, I’ve been a working bird all my life, busy laying eggs like there's no tomorrow on this organic free-range farm in Worcestershire when wallop! me and a couple of thousand of the girls are scooped up and dumped into crates without as much as a by your leave. I only had time to pack a comb. And that was already attached to my head.
We're put on a truck. You can’t imagine what it is like being jammed beak to wing with a thousand others for four hours (unless you’ve travelled with EasyJet or Ryanair) thinking you're heading off to be made into soup or pet food. But, eventually, we stop and are let out for a drink and nibbles in a place called Watton...
And then we are put in a crate again. Well, four of us are. I’ll introduce everyone in a bit, but right now we don’t know each other from Eve.
So, this cage is put inside another box, which had two humans in it as well, and we bump about for a bit. The humans keep gawking at us and making odd noises which I take it are meant to be chicken speak, but we keep schtum.
“Name and rank only,” hisses one of my new chums out of the corner of her beak. She thinks she’s in the military. I think she’s a bit peculiar.
We stop again and the crate is picked up by one of the humans – let's call him The Beard – and taken outside. I spot some fat worms poking through the grille and have a little peck. The Beard squeals a bit; turns out they weren’t worms after all. To be fair, fingers are a new one for us.
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We’re put down and the crate is opened. I’m setting off out of the door when I’m trampled into the dust by the biggest bird rushing out first. No manners that one, I think as I pick myself up.
We’re all out now, and having a look around what turns out to be our new home. Not bad, for a new-build. There’s a nice bit of aviary mesh keeping us safe and sound and the lovely smell of fresh timber. I make a note for the snagging list that the roof isn’t finished and power points are a bit lacking.
The Beard and the other one – let's call her Curls – are standing there watching like a couple of lumps while we’re busy getting stuck into the green stuff that’s all around the place. Lovely. Not had a good salad for years.
Let me introduce everyone. I’m Flora, the brains of this little flock and frankly, the looker here. There’s Daisy, sweet girl, but a long way back in the queue for brains, and then there is Big Myrtle.
Now Big Myrtle is top of the pecking order, chiefly because she’s got a bit of a temper, and also because she’ll sit on you and flatten you just for fun because she’s twice our size. And finally, there’s Isobel, the loner, who I call Invisobel on account of the fact she’s always disappearing.
She’s the one who thinks she’s in the military, a spy in the enemy camp. I think she might have been dropped on her head when she was a chick, but she’s harmless.
Well, we’ve had a bit of a day of it, to be honest, a lot to take on board, so time to turn in. Now where’s the bedroom here?
Flora and her new friends were rescued and re-homed by the Watton branch of Fresh Start for Hens.
As imagined by Dominic Castle