I used to live with 3 chooks when I rented a garden flat in North Rdye (before I became a professional photographer). Chooks (chicken/hen in Aussie speak) are amazing creatures; somewhat like cats but not as crazy extraterrestrial like cats. More regal, curious, stubborn (for some), funny, quite a little terror and spunky. They would find a way to surprise you when you least expect it.
NSW Hen Rescue is Australia’s smallest farmed animal rescue. They provide factory farmed hens a second chance. They save ‘spent’ battery hens. Once a hen has reached about 2 years of age and no longer produces as many eggs they are scheduled for slaughter - a bit like life in a big public listed corporation where if you do not meet your KPIs, you are fired (but at least you get to live).
An afternoon spent with Catherine was invaluable and insightful, not to mentioned educational. Rescued chooks are kept in Catherine’s backyard where they are free to roam, eat, bath in sand, play and well, just chicken about.
I met 3 new additions, it was an experience to witness these hens who have never been out in sunlight or seen a garden, or felt the sun on their featherless skin, learn to walk, run, feed, drink clean water from a bowl and play in sand pit - what a happy chicken should be allowed to do. Occasionally (ok, quite often actually), the hens get to hang out with Catherine and her husband David indoors while they watch TV.
Catherine spoke passionately about “the girls”. Rescued hens from the same farm are kept in the same area. Hens are paired up for adoption where Catherine will personally meet each adoptee to ensure they are the right fit as ‘hen parent’.
Her love for these rescued girls is tremendous and selfless. And the girls respond well to Catherine. If there’s a saint for chooks, I would nominate Catherine.
Here’s a documentary of the afternoon spent with Catherine. Next post, my interview with Catherine.
NSW Hen Rescue Website: http://www.henrescue.org/
Music: "Snow Falling on a Quiet Valley" by Seth Partridge I