Sometimes the best days are those spent snuggling up together just chatting through a winter afternoon. And that’s just what BFF’s Molly and Clarice love to do. These once discarded backyard hens were lucky enough to find a home at Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary and while they each arrived a year apart, it’s plain to see that they were destined to be friends. These two prove what anyone who has spent time with chickens already knows – that they are individuals with their own needs and wishes who enjoy bonding and being loved like the rest of us. But they are the lucky ones.

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The Life of a Backyard Hen

Sadly, backyard hens have increased in popularity as more people buy into the “local” trend of animal husbandry. Many well-meaning people think that by raising their own hens, they are helping the fight against factory farming. But even these hens endure many of the same problems as factory farm chickens. Every day, 500 million chicks are born in large-scale hatcheries where they live in metal drawers and never meet their mothers before being shipped off. Some of these chicks are sent to people who want to raise their own and millions more are still sent to factory farms. In both cases, the male chicks are killed at birth since they can’t lay eggs.

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Many people aren’t aware of the work that goes into raising hens either. Like any pet you might care for, keeping a hen requires being aware of their needs and making sure the living conditions are optimum for health and happiness. Often, people don’t consider that hens are vulnerable to predators and that they have to be very well protected by fencing both around and over them, which not only takes up a lot of room but can also be costly.

Hens are also only able to lay eggs for a few years, which means they are often abandoned when they are no longer able to produce eggs. These poor animals who have only known a life of being fed and sheltered are frequently dropped off in the woods or the side of a road and left to fend for themselves. Their short lives of service will end either with starvation, by attack, or due to illness.

A Better Life for Molly and Clarice

Molly and Clarice were lucky enough to be dropped off at a sanctuary but that is not a solution people should rely on. The cost of taking care of hens as they age can be expensive especially considering many vets are not equipped to see them.

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This places a strain on the limited resources of sanctuaries too. As Molly and Clarice grow, they too are beginning to feel the effects of old age. These days both of them are given daily doses of medication for their arthritic joints and are lucky enough to have people to watch over them. Most importantly, they have each other and the comfort of having found friendship after a lifetime of being treated as commodities instead of individuals.

To follow the daily life of Molly and Clarice and support the work of Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary, click here. 

All image source: Lewis Oliver Farm Sanctuary

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