Rescue; Don't Hatch!

Rescue, don't hatch!

Here at Wing and a Prayer Henquarters we spend a lot of time responding to requests to rehome both hens and cockerels resulting from hatching projects. Many chicks from these projects do not have homes to go to after the fun of the hatching is over. Often there are many male chicks and cockerels who are very hard to find homes for. Lovely though they are, cockerels can't live in groups like females can and they can be noisy and upset neighbours and as a result, every animal rescue is filled with unwanted cockerels.

Contrary to popular belief, companies who provide eggs for hatching projects rarely take them back, and chickens cannot go and live in commercial farms due to strict biosecurity measures. They often end up the responsibility of rescue charities like ours...if they are lucky.

Even when homes are secured for every hatchling, including males, these projects are still unnatural and cruel. Did you know chicks can hear sounds through the shell and communicate with their mother before hatching? Chickens are gregarious animals and have complex social bonds. The mother hen is extremely vigilant in looking after her eggs and turns them up to 30 times a day. If this isn't done properly the developing organs can stick to the sides of the shell causing deformities and death. Hatchings who emerge at the weekend or during busy times in environments whose main focus is education or nursing care can become dehydrated and cold when they are hatched without the attentive care of their mother.

Instead, Wing and A Prayer actively support community projects which teach people about responsible animal husbandry, promote animal welfare and biodiversity.

We have been thrilled to support several school projects where children have been learning about how to care for their own flock of rescue hens. We are very happy to provide hens and ongoing advice and support as well as a starter pack of food and supplies for these projects. Please send an enquiry form (below) if you wish to discuss. In the meantime, see below to read about some of the projects we have already supported...

Edinburgh Academy Chicken Committee

This whole project started in early Spring 2019 with the idea from Joseph in Primary 5 to have chickens at the school.
We gathered old wood from a family not using it and I designed the coop you see there as a mash-up of nice elements I saw online combined with the materials I had to work with!  We set up a Chicken Committee that is run by pupils (with only minimum input from myself), and Wing and a Prayer helped us in May last year with our first rescue hens.  We had a few mishaps (three escaped from the original Harris fencing "outdoor" pen and the one that stayed inside survived!), but we are learning more and more with each new experience and the pupils take the responsibility seriously and love the feeling that they are important to the welfare of these lovely animals.  The Primary 5s now look after the hens at morning break and the Primary 6s do lunch break, and I make sure the pen is secure overnight.  I have built a new "chicken tractor" that is movable and will provide access to fresh grass daily.

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