Chickens ‘don’t deserve to die’
Helen Whitfield can fit exactly 46 chickens in her car.
It’s a lot of birds to jam into a Honda Jazz but could still mean hundreds of trips for the animal lover who has found herself in a life or death race against the clock.
The chickens that the Ka¯piti woman is driving come from a local farm. No longer wanted, they are destined to become dog food at the end of the month. There are 3000 of them. There’s been a lot of car trips since Whitfield heard the chooks’ days were numbered. The Ota¯ki farm owners let her rescue as many as she likes and then she sells them for $5 to cover costs.
‘‘It’s really expensive but I just hate the thought of them dying, they don’t deserve that. I’d like to give them away for free to good homes but I just can’t afford it.’’
Whitfield was adamant the farm owners were good people, they cared about the animals, and the chickens were in good condition on their release.
A farmer’s daughter, she understood the business: the chickens have stopped producing the amount of eggs that would make them viable. That’s how it works.
‘‘They want the chickens in homes, they don’t have to let me do this but they’re really lovely.’’
Despite not laying regularly enough to provide a business, ‘‘the ladies’’ would still produce enough to keep their new families in supply for at least two years.
While most people adopted the birds for their eggs, people also delighted in rehabilitating them into their new lives.
‘‘They don’t know how to be a real chicken so seeing them exploring their new environments is great.’’
She never planned to become a ‘‘crazy chicken lady’’ but a love of animals and, finally, a property to care for them combined to allow her to help unwanted creatures. ‘‘I feel that chickens are the underdog, that’s why I wanted to help.’’
With about 100 rehomed so far, Whitfield was working as hard as she could to find homes for the birds, but knew she probably wouldn’t be able to save them all. ‘‘On the day the truck comes I’ll be bringing as many as I possibly can back to my house. They’ll be safe there.’’
Contact Helen through her Facebook page: Elamore Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming, or givealittle.co.nz/cause/elamoreanimalrescue
Helen Whitfield describes herself as a ‘‘crazy chicken lady’’.