Rescued hen needs a zimmer frame

HILDA the rescued battery hen has had a hard life and it has taken its toll on her legs - so much so that she is in desperate need of a chicken zimmer frame.

HILDA the rescued battery hen has had a hard life and it has taken its toll on her legs - so much so that she is in desperate need of a chicken zimmer frame.

As one of the many thousands of chickens saved from the slaughter by the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, Hilda was given a new home earlier this month along with two other hens.

But her new owner found Hilda's legs are weak and badly damaged from months in a cramped shed and she can hardly stand up or walk.

She was returned to the care of Lesley Austin, a support coordinator for the trust who said she was hoping someone would be able to design or construct some sort of walking frame to help Hilda move about.


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Mrs Austin, who is based in Barking, near Stowmarket, said: “The lady said she just couldn't look after her anymore - she's got very weak legs and they take a long time to recover.

“She's clearly got more than just bruised legs - she's in a box at the moment. She's desperate to live and is eating and chattering away.

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“But I'm not very good at designing things. I need something I can slot her into that she can pretty much stay in for hours at a time.

“Then I can rub her legs and do some sort of physio on them.”

Mrs Austin said there was a lengthy waiting list of people wishing to adopt hens rescued by the East Anglian branch of the trust, which takes in about 600 birds a month.

She said: “I take all sorts of calls and emails from people in our area who want to re-home battery hens.

“The hens are ones that would be slaughtered. After they have been in a cage for a year they go off to be slaughtered but we have an agreement with different farmers all over the country and we here, covering Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, get about 600 hens each time.

“It's a welfare issue - it gives the hens a chance they weren't going to have and if they lay eggs for their new owners, then that's a bonus.”

Mrs Austin, who also works as a veterinary nurse, has been working for the trust, established in 2003, for two years and has asked anyone who could design or build a chicken zimmer frame for Hilda to call her on 01473 657493.

Special trolleys have been built for cats or dogs who have lost the use of their rear legs.

Thousands of hens have been saved by rescue groups across East Anglia - most continue to lay eggs for many years.

Battery hens are often bald - but will grow back feathers once able to scratch around normally.

Chickens originated in south east Asia - but were brought to Europe by ancient Romans and have been domesticated for more than 2,000 years.

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