MEET PEARL We were standing in the manure pit filming the
dozens of hens trapped there... the poo kept landing on our heads, Patty
looked up and saw a still and flattened white bird in the cages above,
her still claw hanging down. She said, "there's a dead one, please film
it". As Michael filmed, the body started to move... Elio quickly climbed
upstairs and we all worked hard to free this dying hen who had both her
wings trapped in the wire...she was near death and couldn't reach food
or water. She is a pullet (4-5 months of age) and would have recently
been put into the cage. At the vet she weighed in at 450 grams!!!! (an
adult white laying hen of her breed, age 8 months...weighs 1.9 kilos)
Elio (a master Italian builder) nurses one of the many
debilitated ISA red hens he helped rescue from the manure pit. (18 of
these 'end of lay' hens (aged 18 months) were rescued from the pit.
Average weight of these hens should be 2 - 2.4 kilograms. The average
weight of those rescued was 1.3 kilograms! The vet report stated "all
hens in generally poor body condition - underweight, poor feathers and
some with inflammed skin...and manure balls..."
Romeo (nutrition tertiary student) cradles rescued hen who
suffers a cluster of hardened faecel balls that formed on her claws from
long-standing 'scratching' in her own waste. Note the dusty foul air the
birds are forced to breathe non-stop.
NEXT MORNING...all the girls clustered around the water bowls
where they drank and drank and drank and drank, in between long long
sunbaths as all their mites went scurrying away!!!! photos: P Mark