Client : Mr & Mrs Watts
Location : Deal, Kent
Mr & Mrs Watts rescued their three commercial egg production bred hens from early slaughter from the Fresh Start for Hens organisation.
The hens were collected and driven to their new home in Deal, where Mr & Mrs Watts had built a large outdoor henhouse and run for them to live out the rest of their natural lives in peace, surrounded by countryside and sea air.
Mrs Watts said:
“Our hens were around 72 weeks old when we rehomed them. They quickly adjusted to their new diet of corn and fresh vegetable scraps such as cabbage, apples and broccoli. They regularly scratch around in the outside area of their henhouse for grubs, worms and insects and particularly love fresh mown grass cuttings to forage around in. We have never fed our hens a live food product, so we were intrigued to introduce ECOnourish live larvae to their diet to see if we noticed any difference in their behaviour or appearance.
“Our hens all have their own unique characters; one is very dominant, one quite placid and the third has a very cheeky personality. Every evening we have noticed they cuddle up together in the large inside enclosure quite happily. In the spring they do start to moult and their golden-brown feathers are speckled with a new lighter feather growing, which gives a partly bedraggled look.
“We received the sample package from ECOnourish containing the live larvae by courier in a tube with air holes in each end. One end was taped shut and this was easy to remove. The feeding cup was simple to use, if somewhat awkward at first as the tube is quite wide when pouring the product out into the smaller cup.
“The first time we scattered the live larvae in our henhouse, our hens became quite vocal and seemed to really enjoy finding and eating the product. It had all been eaten up in a very short space of time! Our cheeky hens liked the product so much he even ate straight from the cup. They ate the live larvae before their scraps and corn.
“Following the first 10 days, the hens readily looked for the live larvae each day when we entered the henhouse, sometimes flying up to peck them from the cup before they were all scattered. The egg production stayed the same as you would expect from older hens, however the eggshells were much harder and the yolks were much creamier. Our hens seem a bit more sprightly than before and seem to enjoy feeding time every day.
“We would definitely introduce ECOnourish live larvae to our hen’s regular diet – the product is very different from anything we’ve fed them before, and they absolutely love it. We hope the product will eventually start to improve the appearance of our birds feathers too. It is a nice feeling as a hen owner to be able to feed them something to improve their overall health after the difficult early life they have had.
“Following the 20-day trial our hens would race out of their enclosure, passing their mixed corn feeder looking for the live larvae. We have seen a vast improvement in the glossiness of their feathers since the beginning of the trial. They are also much more alert, spending their time scratching and digging in the soil looking for their tasty treats. Our hens are a testament to how the nourishment in the ECOnourish supplement has improved their wellbeing. We found the recycled packaging to also be very good for the environment,” added Mrs Watts.