Dust storms pose ongoing health risks
FIVE hundred retired laying chickens from a local farm will be looking for their forever home this Sunday.
The Hen Rescue pickup, run by notfor-profit charity Let The Ladies Go, is seeking to rehome the flock to save them from the slaughterhouse.
Founder of Let The Ladies Go, Tania Daykin, hopes to draw attention to chicken exploitation and provide the animals with a loving home after a life of producing eggs.
Egg-laying hens are typically disposed of at 18 months old, but this is when Ms Daykin steps in.
“What we do is come in (to chicken farms) and load the girls into our truck and take them to various locations, and as long as people comply with our very simple rules, which are designed to protect the girls, we give them to them,” she told Dubbo Photo News.
“So far we have rescued and rehomed 36,000 chickens and this weekend there will be about 500 from a smaller farm in the Dubbo area.”
Ms Daykin’s rules for rescuing a chicken include a limit of 10 ladies per household, no breeding or selling of eggs, the home must be predator proof, and suitable boxes or carry cages must be brought along on the day to safely transport the animals home.
The location of the rehoming operation is also kept under wraps and only disclosed to rescuers once they have registered and been approved as legitimate.
While many people in the Dubbo area have already registered, Ms Daykin said there are still chickens that will need a home.
“We’re about a third of where we need to be for the event this week, so we need a few more people on board,” she said.
“Otherwise we have to bring the girls back to our home base in Mandalong and that’s not fair on the girls, it’s better if we can rehome them in the area they are from.”
As a former human rights lawyer who also served for 12 years in the NSW police force, Ms Daykin describes herself as someone who has “always stood up for the underdog”.
“I guess I am an activist of sorts in that I don’t like seeing beings being bullied – and if they can’t speak up for themselves, someone needs to,” she said.
For those interested in adopting chickens as pets this weekend, call Tania on 0415 258 915.
WITH another dust storm stirring through the region on Tuesday, the community is being reminded of the potential health risks.
People, particularly those with asthma or heart and lung conditions should avoid outdoor activity and instead stay indoors with windows and doors closed, according to NSW Health.
Where possible, staying in an air-conditioned area where dust particles are filtered and avoiding strenuous exercise is also advised.
Dust particles vary in size, from coarse, to fine, to very fine, and it is the smaller ones which pose the most risk to health as they can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
As well as triggering pre-existing breathing-related problems, these particles can also cause itchy eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illness such as bronchitis, even to those who are generally healthy.
Those most vulnerable during a dust storm are infants, children, adolescents, the elderly, people with respiratory conditions, people with heart disease and people with diabetes.
On top of the health risks, visibility can deteriorate at a rapid pace during a dust storm.
If you are driving during an episode, NSW Health recommends reducing your speed and pulling over if vision is impaired to less than 100 metres.
Dust storms develop when there is a combination of strong wind, dry soil, an unstable atmosphere and low moisture in the air.
Given the current drought, soil is particularly dry and easily picked up by strong wind.
They are most common in Spring because of the cold fronts that move over the country’s southeast and interior.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, temperatures in Dubbo and Wellington will sit in the low 30s over the weekend and into next week, with winds of up to 30 kilometres per hour.
Dubbo’s Annabelle Arnold loves having chickens at her family home.