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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Wood Green, The Animals Charity

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Wood Green, The Animals Charity
by tom on 04-08-2011 12:08 - last edited on 04-08-2011 12:08

As I said in my last blogs, one of giffgaff’s core values it about doing the collective good and doing the right thing. This led us to have an idea about, Unlock a phone, Unlock a chicken.

We have teamed up with Wood Green, The Animals Charity who take in Battery Chickens, rehabilitate them and pass them on to homes from nice members of the public.

Wood Green, The Animals Charity, first opened in 1924 in north London by Miss Louisa Snow, who was concerned at the large number of abandoned and injured animals on the streets of London following the First World War.

A few weeks back, I took a trip to see Wood Green, who have been re-homing battery chickens since 2008. They are completely funded by donations from the public and when you’re looking after 5,500 types of animals in three locations, you can imagine the hard work Wood Green do.

After a drive to Cambridgeshire and some introductions we went to see, Thelma and Louise, two old girls, rehabilitated after time spent in a Battery Farm. Thelma and Louise, now act as Mother Hen’s to newbie chickens, who are seeing the outside world for the first time.

We then moved onto the main chicken area where they rehabilitate battery hens. As we talked, the passion from the Wood Green was inspiring. They told us some stories - battery hens regularly have around an A4 page size to live in, they are often so cramped, they can’t turn around and never really see daylight. Many of them, once freed, hide back in their coops as that is all they know, restricted spaces. Even more shocking is that often they have only eaten soft textured food (a bit like baby food) and have no idea what hard feed is or the ability to snuffle up a bug or two, from the ground, when they are peckish. Luckily, if needed, Thelma and Louise are on point to teach the way of the world. Seeing some of the birds, 2/3 days after being sent to Wood Green, really brings home the conditions they live in.

The amazing thing is that within a few weeks to a month or so, these tenacious birds are back up, healthy and happy, quite an achievement. Once they are in this situation they are re-homed by members of the public who have space in the garden and probably a penchant for eggs. I went to speak to a friend of mine who re-homes Battery Chickens and will post a blog up later this week about her motivations.

You can have a look at a few photos from our morning at Wood Green.

In addition to spreading the word about re-homing battery chickens, and the work of Wood Green and giffgaff, there are lots of ways you can get involved. You can help in four ways, donate (the cost to rehabilitate and re—home one chicken is £4), re-home, (as many of you have already,) support or visit. All the info can be found on their website.

Lots of you have mentioned you have re-homed chickens, which is an amazing thing. I'd love to hear more stories, which I can post as a blog later this week.

Can I lastly add that it’s amazing to have so much positive feedback to my previous blogs and this project, it makes working at giffgaff even better…and to be honest it was pretty good any way.

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