I collected them on St Michael’s Day, three almost-featherless innocents. There is a charity which re-homes hens when they are due to be culled, at the end of their profitable life, which is some three years before they actually stop laying and become elderly. It used to be battery hens they rescued in this way. Now it is free range hens, largely, since in December cages will be outlawed. The idea is that free range hens get a bit of space, have some feathers, have a life. These three were supposed to be free range. The only place they have feathers is on their heads. They have huge pale combs, another sign they have been a heated environment for a long long time. These girls, and their sisters, are lucky. All have gone off to new homes. But what of the others? What of those who buy free range, believing their egg were laid by hens which could get out of doors? Does anybody inspect?
I am furious, distressed. I know too well accidents can happen, standards slip. But a whole consignment of hens looking like this? It looks like fraud, not accident.