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Nick, the miracle ex-bat hen πŸ“

by Susanne and Matt
(Cambridgeshire )

Today, our lovely chicken called Nick died very suddenly. She was absolutely fine until we noticed that she stayed in the nest box and didn't come out to feed yesterday afternoon, but she still fed when I offered her some in the house.

This morning, she didn't come out of the house. By the time we took her to the vet's this morning, she was breathing heavily and the vet was unable to identify what was wrong with her. On the way home, she suffered a heart attack in my husband's arms.

Nick came to us on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August when we picked her up from the rescue centre from the Hen Trust with her friend Shiraz. We also got two young hens that were going to show them how to love.

Nick had a very bad start in life, being kept in permanent light in a tiny cage and forced to lay eggs. When she arrived she had no feathers on her back, two random feathers sticking up from her bottom and no feathers around her neck.

My friend called her a running drumstick, as she looked like a roast chicken! On the first day she laid a random egg in the grass while she was walking! The first night both Nick and Shiraz were completely disoriented when it got dark and didn't know what was happening. We scooped them up into their house and the next day they had learned and found the way themselves.

We were so happy that she learned to dust bathe in days, grew her feathers back and learned to scratch for worms. She used to like sitting on my digging fork in the veg patch waiting for the worms, which she learned from her friend Malbec. She was the shyest hen, but soon ate from my hand and came running when I called her.

She is named after our good friend Nick, who wanted us to call our children after him (which we did, Nick the miracle chicken). πŸ“ Over Christmas we thought she had stopped laying when we found her sitting on a beautiful nest hidden in the bushes. She was so careful, as there were 9 eggs and she sat on all of them to keep them warm from the freezing weather. A truly caring chicken...

We miss her dearly and will always remember the hours we spent just watching her get recover from her former life and enjoy her freedom in the grass, dust and sun. We are happy we could give her such a good life for the short time that she was with us, but wish we could have done more to prevent this tragic day or given her a longer life!

Thank you Nick for all the comically formed and double yoker eggs! We dug her a lovely grave on a prime spot in the garden and planted wildflowers on top, so bees and insects can visit her.

Rest in peace!

Thank you for giving us the space to leave a memory for our beloved Nick!

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by: Cath

Hi Susanne and Matt,

What a lovely tribute to Nick the ex-battery hen. I love ex-bats - watching them feel grass for the first time is wonderful. Such a terrible life they lead when they're caged, so amazing to see them enjoy freedom for the first time.

I'm so glad you were able to offer her a good home. It must have felt like heaven for her when she was able to lay her eggs in a lovely grass nest instead of the hard floor of a cage.

The Hen Trust do amazing work with ex-bats. Thank you so much for using them.

And thanks for sharing Nick's story. It's very special.
xx

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