Battery hens

In March I gave a home to 20 ex battery hens. They had a very long journey from Wexford and were exhausted when they arrived in the evening. The following morning some were very stressed and huddled in a corner but some of the more adventurous souls took a few tentative steps outside. They have a field which is secured with high fencing enabling them to enjoy the freedom they have never known.

A few weeks have passed and they are all well and not only enjoy their field but quite like to inspect my kitchen and my garden, which is now more or less denuded of anything resembling a flower. A couple of them have also discovered there are tasty treats in my bird feeders on my windowsill. It is becoming quite a challenge walking around my garden because I will suddenly discover a large hole that has been carefully designed as a dust bath. A happy outcome for all of them.

Maisie, my little Star !

Maisie on the day she arrived

Maisie, fully recovered, today

When Maisie first came to me she barely had the strength to stand. She was very anaemic and depressed. Since being here she has developed three respiratory infections and overcome them, but she became very ill about a month ago and I was very worried about her.

I could hear the rattle of her breathing from a distance away and I had to hand feed her as she had no interest in feeding or drinking herself.

She was on antibiotics and I was giving her steam inhalations to try to make it easier for her to breathe.

It was several days before I felt hopeful that Maisie was improving and yet again she rallied round and has made a full recovery.

Because Maisie is not a strong little hen she will reside in the kitchen until the warmer weather returns. She feels very much at home there and demands food when she is hungry and loves attention. Definitely my little star.

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Colin’s story

I received a phone call from a lady who asked if I was able to look after a Cockerel chick for a week , whilst she was on holiday. As it was only a chick I agreed.

They arrived and I was introduced to Colin. I took the chick and then watched, somewhat amazed, as the lady unloaded Colin’s luggage. First, a safe enclosure for him, which was great. Next, a large box with his food, shavings and hay. But then, and this is what left me at a loss for words, ( some might say at last ) another large box with his blankets and a tiny hot water bottle for him. Apparently Colin would only sleep if he was covered in his blanket. I immediately thought of Mrs Pumphrey and Tricky Woo from the series All creatures great and small. At this point I was still trying to recover my power of speech and felt a coffee might help. Whilst we stopped for this, the lady told me how she had acquired Colin.

Colin had been found on his own in a field the lady had been camping in, so she literally saved his life. He then spent 3 weeks with her by which time this lady was well and truly his Mum. He didn’t like to be away from her.

I put Colin in the shed my disabled hens go into at night but he was not happy with hens as company. It was very warm in the shed and he didn’t need extra heat but I found myself filling his hot water bottle and then , whilst muttering to myself that I couldn’t believe I was doing this, covered him with his blanket ! and he settled !!

The following day it became evident very quickly that Colin didn’t think he was a bird. He was frightened of the 3 hens I had put him with and was desperate to follow me, in fact it was a work of art to get out of the enclosure without him. He was like the road runner. He was really lost and I kept a close eye on him.

The following day he did something which I found disturbing, he attacked the Crows that had come down to eat the leftover crumbs. This tiny chick had no social skills with either his own or other species.

In the meantime a hen that had previously come in to me, after being starved and abused, had hurt her leg, so I  moved her into the enclosure where Colin was. The following day I was watching Colin, and when the Crows came he tried to attack one again, and this hen got between him and the bird. I thought it was coincidence but she did this when ever Colin launched his attacks, which he also did towards the Pigeons. She literally took him under her wing and that night , when I went out to switch the light off, Colin was snuggled into her.

Colin seemed much more settled and they spent all their time together, but then, unfortunately, his new Mum had some sort of stroke and sadly she died yesterday. This dear little hen had been the turning point for Colin. He was very unsettled but happily has now attached himself to another hen and I am confident, one day, he will be able to join the others and have the pleasure of the fields and new friends. I refer to Colin as a he but think he may well be a she.

During this time the lady decided that, because of her busy lifestyle, it would be kinder to let Colin stay at the sanctuary and learn to be a chicken. However Colin is a very lucky bird to have been found by this very kind lady, who gave him the gift of life.

 

Recent casualties

During the last few days I have had three casualties.

The first was a young Magpie that someone had hit whilst driving into a local garden center. The poor bird had wedged in the front bumper. Staff from the center managed to ease the bird out and called me to see if I could help.

I took this Magpie in and on initial examination could find nothing obvious apart from a little blood on his body, he certainly had attitude ! He would gape if offered food but would also feed himself, which I encouraged.

After a few days cage rest and a spell in the flight area I was able to release him back into the wild.

 

A few days later another Magpie was spotted in difficulty on the side of a road. This bird was an adult and had a serious injury. I took him to Susie Vet who thought he could have been shot. He would never have flown again and the kindest thing to do for him was to put him to sleep.

A Gentleman asked me to look after one of his Canaries that he said had been attacked by another bird. This little chap had a large lump around the eye area. I started him on antibiotics and subsequently took him to Susie who drained the abscess but sadly he died later that day.

 

If a bird has an injury it has a better chance of survival if it can be treated as soon as possible. If it has been bitten by a cat it needs to be given antibiotics no later than two hours after the attack, if the bird has any chance of recovery.

Unexpected Ducks arrival

Someone put two female ducks over the fence into the paddock which has the pond. I would imagine they were pets because they are not nervous and one holds onto my trousers at feeding time. I would have happily taken them if the person had asked as I would not turn any bird away, except Cockerels.

The other important reason I would like people to ask me, rather than just dump them in with my existing birds, is that I always isolate newcomers for a while to make sure they are not suffering from any disease or mites that could be transmitted to the birds here already

If anyone has birds that they can no longer look after, please talk to me before abandoning them.

Woodpigeon

On the 28th May a baby Wood pigeon was brought to me. Two had been found but unfortunately the other baby had died. This one was duly named Woody.

The first couple of days were a little worrying, as feeding was difficult and her rate of  breathing was a concern , however she soon got the hang of feeding from a specially shaped spoon and on the third day was breathing normally and very hungry.

Woody continued to thrive and I have a large indoor facility that birds can learn to fly so she gained strength and confidence.

The main problem I had was encouraging her to feed on her own as her parents would still be feeding her even when she had learnt to fly. It took a lot of coaxing and a few days but she would get very vocal when she saw me and was then eating readily.

I took Woody back to the area she was found and released her on 28th June.

Here are pictures of Woody as a baby, fully feathered,038080 and finally released back into the wild.

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Granny

I was asked to take this little Budgie because she was losing feathers at an alarming rate. I have named her Granny and apart from the feather loss she is very active, albeit she can’t fly. She eats well and has become close to another rescue. She has to have constant heat as has no protection..

Robin

This Robin could not put any weight on his left leg. It was not broken and after a few days rest he started to stand on it and was delighted to be released. However he had become accustomed to being in the area I mix the foods and would appear at these times to pick up bits dropped on the floor. I was able to take this photo at one of these times.

Budgies

These poor Budgies were actually on sale as pets! One had a badly deformed upper beak and part of his lower beak was missing and he was in very poor condition and suffering a respiratory infection. The Blue was a very old bird with half of his cere missing, also suffering from a respiratory infection. They had to be treated with antibiotics and special food and both stabilized but were very fragile. They became very close and spent a lot of time cuddling into each other. Sadly after only 4 months they died within 48 hours of one another.

Bullfinch

This is a Bullfinch that was found on the roadside. It had no obvious injuries and think it was probably stunned by a car. The following day it was eating , moving freely and able to be released.