Fennel was born in a commercial hatchery. She never met her mom. Her brothers were killed couple days after hatching. And her beak was cut off without pain relief. She was shipped with her sisters to an egg factory where she spent 18 months confined in a cage. She had nothing to do, no space to move, no nest to lay her eggs, no perch to sleep, no dirt to scratch and dustbath in. She was covered in lice and couldn't do anything about it.
One day the factory workers started yanking out her sisters in the cage across and killing them. The same day, Animal Place came and rescued her along with 1700 of her sisters. She was scared. It took her a while to realize she was now in a safe place. She was free. She slowly learned to be a chicken again, flap her wings, feel the dirt under her feet and the sun on her body, roost, scratch, peck... She even bonded with the humans who cared for her.
After 5 months at the rescue ranch, Fennel came living with us. She was a very social girl. She loved being petted, and would just sit on my lap and relax. Many of my friends came to meet her. For some it was the first time they touched a chicken. She came to my pet chicken care classes, and showed how chickens are great companion animals and that adoption is the only way to get a chicken. She also took my dog's place on a visit to a local hospice where she charmed an old lady by sitting an hour on her lap. Actually she captivated the whole facility, staff and patients came to greet her. She was a star. She was going to accompany me to an event next week at the local JCC where I will be talking about the egg industry through Marjo's story (another hen rescued from the egg industry). She was the perfect ambassadress.
But Fennel died yesterday. Her little body was bred to produce too many eggs and not to be strong and healthy. I am heartbroken and grateful to have been part of her life.
I wish everybody would realize that an egg is not free of cruelty, and see a chicken as another sentient being.