This all happened quite suddenly the other day, when I came across a funny YouTube video to share with her about a rooster. She loves stuff like this, so we looked at a few others as well.
This one, 'A Battery Hen's Hope' is what got to all of us--it's heartbreaking and touching all at the same time, and represents just one bird out of thousands:
After N. saw it, and I had to explain to her the concept of battery cages in egg farms and how and why animals are housed that way, she was OUTRAGED, and rightly so.
Having to explain the worst parts of society and humankind as a whole is one of the worst things you will ever have to do as a parent, by the way. Forget about the 'birds & bees' talk. Watching her faith in humanity and 'doing the right thing' die in your childs' eyes as you explain corporate cruelty is heartrending. The fact that this type of 'animals are disposable' thinking is commonplace and accepted is even harder.
So OK, the kid now wants to stage a rescue and save ALL of the battery hens on Earth. I explain to her that unfortunately this just isn't possible, but people DO try...then she realizes that she has seen ex-battery hens at the feed store!
C'mon mom, off to the feed store! Never mind that it's 8:30 at night and the feed store is closed.
Well, we have to go to the feed store the next day anyway to get chicken feed, so I agree to look at the ex-battery hens then.
Ha. 'Look'. Right...
So here they are, our two adoptees:
Bridgette, a sweet, curious, talkative Red Star who has suffered the loss of most of her feathers and has been de-beaked:
and Sora, a camera-shy White Leghorn who has been at the feed store long enough to grow some of her feathers back:
Neither of them had ANY idea what table scraps were, but are quite docile and quiet. Bridgette has quite a bit of trouble eating with part of her beak gone, but I'm hoping it'll grow back eventually. Both of them spent last night and today in the house, we're medicating and worming them right away since I'm pretty sure that egg farms don't care a whole lot about keeping individual birds healthy long-term.