Many people who have visited us ask us what kind of hen Bertha is. She is a ‘broiler’ hen. She was ‘designed’ to live for 39 days, that’s all it takes from birth to slaughter for food.
She was destined to be slaughtered at just over a month old. At this age these hens still have blue eyes and ‘cheep’ like baby birds, why, because they are still babies, chicks in obese adult bodies all in the name of cheap food.
Bertha has suffered many, many health issues because she has been selectively bred to produce meat very quickly. In this photo she has bumble foot – this condition has plagued her since she came to the rescue centre.
The foot needs regular lancing to drain puss and then needs bandaging. She then has to go on a course of antibiotics. She suffers from circulatory problems and spends much of the day sat down because she can’t properly support the weight of her own body.
We think the health issues of broiler hens alone warrants them a better standard of living but companies like Tesco who like to keep the price of their chickens down insist that these poor hens should be squeezed into sheds so that they can maximise their profits at any cost. Just watch the video of Tesco’s media spokesperson and judge for yourself: