More than 100 ex-battery and free-range hens now call Maree Traill's Timmering property home.JESS CRAIG December 11, 2013 4:58am
Maree Traill is something of an animal rescuer.
With more than 100 ex-battery and free-range hens on her Timmering property, Mrs Traill has been involved with the Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary since May.
‘‘I put the call out that I was looking for some new chickens and one of my friends suggested I get in touch with Edgar’s Mission,’’ Mrs Traill said.
‘‘I did and I was given around 50 ex-battery hens to look after.’’
Edgar’s Mission, near Kilmore, is a not-for-profit sanctuary for rescued farmed animals which seeks to create a humane world for every creature.
Mrs Traill said when the hens first arrived, they were in terrible condition.
‘‘Some of them didn’t have feathers. Some had very few,’’ she said.
‘‘They looked awful. When I first got them, we put them in their coop and they didn’t come out for days.
‘‘They just stayed in there, looking at each other. It was like they didn’t know how to be chickens.’’
Some of the battery hens are missing part of their beak, as they are de-beaked by workers to prevent them from pecking their own eggs.
‘‘That was really disturbing, to see them like that,’’ she said.
‘‘It makes eating very difficult for them. Some of them really struggle.
‘‘I’ve always wondered what sort of person can be cruel to an animal
Mrs Traill said she was also shocked when she was given a flock of about 50 free-range hens a few weeks ago.
‘‘I thought free-range meant the hens would be in good condition, but they were almost worse than the battery hens,’’ she said.
‘‘You can’t always be sure that free-range eggs are coming from a farm where the hens are well-looked after.
‘‘If in doubt, check your supplier or buy farm fresh where you can.’’
The chickens have free run of the Traill farm, enjoying days in the sun, scratching in the grass and being looked after by Mrs Traill, her husband and three young children.
And it is not just chickens the Traill family has on its farm. It also has a goat, a sheep, ducks, cows, geese, dogs and more.
‘‘Sometimes animals make more sense to me than humans,’’ she said.
‘‘When animals have been treated badly, it gives you such a good feeling to see them recovering and beginning to look happy and healthy.
‘‘The chickens we’ve rescued are starting to get their feathers back.
‘‘They lay eggs, but that’s really just a bonus. I’m just happy to see them doing well.’’
To learn more about Edgar’s Mission, visit the website at www.edgarsmission.org.au
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