RESCUED BATTERY HEN DIED; WHY?

Our rescue battery farm chicken died today. We had her for 8 months. She had a very mucky bottom this morning it was all milky yellow colored mess and she just stood staring at me. I picked her up and bathed her and I syringe fed her water which she swallowed. I laid her in a box with straw but she died within the hour. Her beak could not line up correctly either and she had clear mucus from her mouth. Do you know what happened? Thank you.

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Rescued Battery Chicken Death
by: Sharon

We're sorry for you loss, but glad she had a chance for a better chicken life with you for 8 months.

Sadly, the breeds of chicken used in Battery style set ups are very short lived. Usually they make it to about 2 years old.

"Production Breeds" were specifically designed for spending the early part of their life, once they begin laying, in a factory type setting. Some people do free-range the breeds, feed organic, and don't subject them to an overcrowded indoor life, but that doesn't change their genetics. They mature early, so begin laying earlier than most breeds, and get "old" quicker. The average chicken life is 8 - 10 years for non production breeds.

One of the most common purposes for domesticated chickens is egg production, so breeders have selectively bred for MORE eggs in a year. In spite of selective breeding, wild or domesticated hens hatch into this world with a similar number of potential eggs in their ovaries. Production Breed hens lay those eggs quickly, which wears out their bodies.

The ancestors of all our chicken breeds are Asian Jungle Fowl. A wild Jungle Fowl hen may lay one or two clutches per year, about 1 dozen eggs total. In captivity their egg production can be increased with high protein diets, but the species still lays few eggs in a year. Jungle Fowl have lived as long as 30 years in captivity.

When Battery hens are replaced, after about a year of laying, their productivity & health have begun to decline. A number of health issues can begin. The average production hen lays about 300 eggs in a year. The record is 371.

I've never rescued a Battery chicken, but have rescued Production Breeds, and have found they just can't live very long, even with the best care.

I know this is a lengthy explanation, but I hope to help you understand why this hen died, and not blame your care or not being able to help her at the end.

I've heard of beloved Production hens being "spayed", to prevent death from common reproductive problems they can have.

I'm sure you made your girl very happy for the last leg of her life. She was probably getting close to 2 years old.

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