|Jenny Craig gets her daily workout at Nevins Farm with a sprint across the lawn.|
Life as a broiler hen is a tough life, and a short one. Broiler chickens are bred and raised for meat production – selectively “designed” to gain weight rapidly especially in the breast area. Most meat production birds are sent to slaughter within a few months, but occasionally we’ll have a broiler surrendered here at Nevins. When that happens, we have to strategize on how to care for them and ultimately find adoptive homes.
Because broiler chickens gain weight so quickly, we are very careful with their dietary intake. If left to monitor their own intake, these birds would eat until they were too heavy for their legs to support them. We monitor what they eat, and encourage “chicken aerobics” with plenty of movement throughout the day to help them burn calories. And we counsel potential adopters on the same subject, so that they are prepared to give them the best possible life. But even with the extra care, the lifespan of a broiler is usually very short, so it’s a very special person that chooses to adopt a broiler as a companion.
One of our favorite broiler hens in recent memory was Jenny Craig. This lovely gal got lots of TLC while here at Nevins, and she landed the perfect adopter with Dawn, who committed to giving Jenny whatever she needed in the time that she had. So when we recently took in another broiler hen, we sought Dawn out, and asked her if she would be willing to take on another.
Sadly, we learned from Dawn that Jenny had already passed on, but that her last days were filled with peace and companionship. Here’s Dawn’s update:
Jenny had a very short but great life here. She had met an adorable little bantam frizzle male that thought she was the most beautiful thing that ever walked out of a crate, and they spent the next few days together in the grassy shade making little noises to each other, before she passed peacefully with him by her side.
Of course we can take the new one. The weekends are best for us to come and pick her up.
So it looks like our newest broiler will be heading home soon. Thank you Dawn for being so generous with your heart and your home!