Where Are They Now?

Posted August 01 2022
Five special hens from Edgar’s Mission didn’t know it then, but they were about to owe their forever home to a tiny chick with a deformed claw, who with luck on her side came to the attention of a kind human named Victoria.

Five years later, that little chick is now the stubborn, eccentric matriarch of Victoria’s beautiful family of ten chickens with disabilities.

In Victoria’s own words:

“I have been utterly obsessed with the nature, intelligence, nurture and overwhelmingly bleak plight of chickens.  This tiny, deformed claw was my first experience with the many maladies that befall chickens and initiated my desire to learn about their complex physiology, and to create a life worth living for those with disabilities.”

Five of these precious Edgar’s Mission adoptees are Miss Peabody (now Lucy), Amber, Pebble, Etta and Ivy Hen, who all require individualised care and interventions.

“Their diversities stole my heart, and I was given the immense privilege of providing them with a home and love to help them coexist comfortably with their disabilities,” Victoria shared.

“Beautiful Amber goes from strength to strength.  She has lost her sight, but her resilience, determination and adaptability are awe inspiring.

So long as we don’t alter her environment, Amber can navigate her daily routine unaided. She is fiercely independent and harnesses her remaining senses to experience life joyfully. She puts herself to bed every night and stomps around in the morning to get everybody up and moving.

Despite her independence, she loves cuddles and will often doze off in my arms.”

From watching TV with her beloved family to enjoying a day in the sun, Lucy has definitely landed in her happy place.

“Lucy’s small stature belied her fierce nature.  She holds her own and gives as good as she gets.  These days amidst her failing health she is selective with her encounters and enjoys watching television from the arm of our couch and nestling in my arms when I sit outside,” Victoria smiled.

“Sweet Lucy has throat tumours and receives fortnightly treatment from a brilliant avian specialist in Burwood to remove plaque accumulation to preserve her airways and ability to eat.  She has recently developed neurological symptoms that are being controlled with medication. Lucy sleeps beside me so that I can monitor her breathing overnight.

Lucy’s best friend is Ernie and he absolutely adores her.

Lucy’s time on earth is slowly drawing to an end, and every day that I share with her while she can still enjoy life is a precious gift.”

“In the words of Pam Ahern, Pebble is ‘as old as the hills’.

This gorgeous grand old dame is loving life in her ‘nursing home’.  She is on the verge of losing all her sight but, like Amber, she navigates her environment independently so long as it remains static.

Pebble loves her little scratch patch outside, but her favourite activity is laying on her blankets in the sunshine. So long as Pebble has her food and the comfort of her blankets and igloo, she is happy. Pebble is a gentle, quiet soul who prefers the peace of her own company”.

“Dear Ivy Hen has lost the vision in one eye, but this does not prevent her from jumping up on to tables, chairs, benches and any elevated position in the house that she can find.

Along with gaining altitude, Ivy loves being outside and staring lovingly at Etta with her one good eye. Unlike most of her brothers and sisters, Ivy makes a dash for the door when she wakes up and waits there to be let out so that she can start her outdoor adventures.

Apart from Etta, she is not fussy for the company of her other siblings but will follow me around outside and insist on being in close proximity to me until bedtime.  She loves sitting on the couch as close to Etta as he will allow to watch television”.

“Handsome Etta is the quintessential ‘grumpy old man’.  He is a stickler for routine, a connoisseur of comfort and the ladies are no longer a priority.  Poor Ivy Hen is absolutely smitten with Etta, but he is intolerant of her preening and attention.  He will sometimes allow her to sit with him on the couch but will move her on if she tries to get too close.

The dear boy was diagnosed with a heart condition in January, and we are managing it with medication.   It was touch and go for a while with regulating his oxygen levels, but he is currently stable.  He is also on medication for his arthritis and receives fortnightly baths with special medicated oatmeal shampoo and daily moisturising to treat a skin condition.

Etta may be averse to the affections from Ivy Hen, but he loves it when I stroke him and gently massage his wattles. He has multiple beds set up throughout the house and moves between them according to the time of day.  On a nice day Etta will venture outside, dig himself into a hole and think about days gone by.”

“My beautiful, feathered family has bolstered my belief that if you have met one chicken, then you have met one chicken. Each is blessed with their own unique awareness, skills, foibles, quirks and ways of communicating with us.

All animals understand kindness, but these beautiful beings are so often bereft of tender words or gestures. Watching and feeling their response to the life that I have created for them, where love is at the fore of all they encounter, leaves me with no doubt whatsoever as to their sentience and innate desire to live.

I focus on the sense of awe and wonder elicited when I talk to people about my beautiful little family. I experience a small jolt of hope during these exchanges when I hear words to the effect of ‘I never knew chickens were like this’. This is not a militant crusade, rather gentle steps taken to shift perception via conversations brimming with fond anecdotes of these precious feathered souls that are my life.”

If you also have the love, commitment and space to welcome rescued animals into your world, please check out our adoption page.