Chickens are such wonderful little animals, and sadly they are one of the worst treated. If you've ever thought about rescuing a chicken and giving her a loving home, then sit back, grab a cup of tea and enjoy finding out more from our friend Georgia Rae Laidlaw Brown, who tells of her experience...
Meet my beautiful, cheeky, sweet little daughter Gerri (named fondly after mine and her Dad’s favourite Spice Girl, Gerri Halliwell). Every companion animal has a nickname, and hers is Gerri Ju Ju.
Gerri’s favourite foods are mash potato, miso soup, and porridge. She enjoys making mud baths, climbing on the fence and coming into the big house to see the cats and dogs.
In the morning when we’re all waking up, we call her name and she’ll peek out the window and say hello! If we go to the other end of the garden and call her name she’ll run as fast as she can to come and see us. She is my WORLD! And I’m very, very proud about that.
But Gerri hasn’t always looked like this. In fact, just two years ago she was a free-range commercial laying hen. The reality of what you think “free-range” is couldn’t be further from the truth. She had her wings clipped, her beak clipped and she was kept in the dark. They treated my baby like stock.
This image makes me feel sick to my stomach. Her eyes say so much and I can’t even think about what she must have been through…the physical and emotional pain she must have endured… As a “human” I feel such guilt that these intelligent animals are treated like this daily, as an accepted standard.
I choose to be vegan partially as a stance against this kind of treatment towards animals… these companies profit from such abuse… and the general public are often mislead with the use of pictures of happy roaming hens and with words such as “free-range”.
But putting my maternal rage to one side, this image is also a very positive part of Gerri’s story as it’s the first day she saw sunlight! It represents the first day she walked on fresh-cut grass, the first day she was able to spread her wings and the first day she would be safe and looked after forever.
The most inspiring thing is that she has taken this whole experience in her stride. Sunlight… fantastic! Rain… WOW! Snow… so exciting! Nothing has phased her and her gratefulness and care-free attitude towards life is something we could all learn from (and something she definitely helped me remember!)
Here she is opening her Christmas present last year, before she enjoyed a vegan chestnut wellington with her favourite mash potato, gravy and lots of veg! Not only is she a part of the family, I’d go as far as saying she’s the centre of the family and babied beyond belief! She enjoys cuddles and sitting on her Dad’s arm like a parrot and generally causing mischief by climbing on things she shouldn’t be.
When it comes to her eggs, she usually lays once a day. She eats a vegan organic diet, so now lays organic eggs as a result. She sometimes sits on one for a bit, then she’ll get bored or stand on it, so we sometimes give the eggs to friends or family members who still choose to eat them (but don’t want to buy commercial eggs anymore).
Gerri’s story has inspired so many people and even those that have only seen pictures of her are often blown away by her sweet and playful personality. She breaks all boundaries and demands attention just like a dog would and I don’t think one person has helped but fall in love with her!
The future is bright and she’s got big plans for 2019! We’re hoping to build Gerri’s confidence even further so she can visit the beach as well as the woods that are close to our house, so lots of exciting adventures in the pipeline…
I hope that Gerri’s story inspires people to look past the animal exterior and see what wonderful friends and family members chickens can be, as well as shedding light on an industry that not only hurts these beautiful animals, but hides the truth too.
You can follow Georgia and Gerri’s updates on Twitter!
Feeling inspired? Sign up to our free 31-day email series and find out how you can be kinder to animals.