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Watch 1,500 Hens Leave a Cage for the First Time Ever

posted: 07/27/15
by: Danny Clemens
Hen rescue
Marji Beach/Animal Place

Animal sanctuary volunteers recently rescued more than 1,500 egg-laying hens from a farm in California that was planning to dispose of them.

With permission, volunteers from California-based Animal Place converged upon a nearby egg farm last week, transporting more than 150 crates of hens back to the sanctuary for rehabilitation. As the crates were opened and the hens came spilling out, cameras captured the birds' emotional first moments of freedom:

Liberated Hens Fly for First Time

Watch and share. For the first time in their short lives, 1,525 hens learn what flying feels like. We want to convey, on some small level, how meaningful these first moments are to these #chickens. In the 56 weeks of their time at an "egg farm", none of these hens touched the earth. They have not flapped their wings. If they wanted to nest in a bed of straw, they could not. If they wanted to experience the sun on their feathers, they could not. If they wanted to dust-bathe or perch at night, they could not. Their experience of the world was one cruel deprivation after another. In these first moments, each hen had a choice. To our surprise*, many chose to lift off, feathers upon the air, wings flapping madly to gain altitude and a higher perch. Some cautiously poked concerned heads out of transport crates and gently lifted overgrown nails attached to wire-floor-stung feet to tread carefully upon novel things like straw. Their rescuers watched in glee, savoring the magicked moments of watching half-lived souls become whole again. The hens terrified to flee transport crates were carefully lifted by a rescuer's hands and placed on solid ground. Soon too, even the most frightened hen would decide her own fate - a nest box maybe, or perhaps a jaunt over to the lowest perch, or maybe simply stopping and taking it all in with her acute eyesight. On the farm where they lived, each one of these hens lacked meaningful choices. They existed. They ate. They drank water. They paced. They cried. Their bodies could not control the expulsion of egg, day after day after intensely boring, hot day of perpetual nothingness. What a terrible injustice humans inflict on these sensitive, social birds. #AnimalPlace constantly promotes #veganism. We believe it is a vital way to change our interactions with other animals. Sometimes we feel as if we are in an echo chamber, sometimes shouting, sometimes quietly pleading with people to consider the inherent value a hen, cow, pig, rooster, sheep, any other animal. To consider how dysfunctional our relationship is with others, especially nonhumans exploited for agriculture. We hope you see these hens for who they are - unique beings with an interest in being alive and participating in the day to day joys and sorrows all complex, social creatures experience.-marji beach, education director If you would like to adopt, donate, or volunteer, visit www.henrescuers.org.Find out why we let them out all at once here: http://on.fb.me/1JmNId1 * Usually the hens we rescue from #egg farms are "older" (like, two) and suffer from side-effects of over-production and confinement, unable to even physically fly with their damaged bones and bodies. These hens are much younger and stronger.

Posted by Animal Place on Saturday, July 25, 2015


"In these first moments, each hen had a choice. To our surprise, many chose to lift off, feathers upon the air, wings flapping madly to gain altitude and a higher perch," Animal Place Education Director Marji Beach said in a statement. "Soon too, even the most frightened hen would decide her own fate - a nest box maybe, or perhaps a jaunt over to the lowest perch, or maybe simply stopping and taking it all in with her acute eyesight."

The hens will now be quarantined for two weeks, during which the animals will receive a thorough medical examination. After their health is certified, the hens will be put up for adoption.

Learn more about birds:

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Discovering Bird Behavior
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