Derek, Lily, Rose, Pip, Rain, Poppy, Daisy and Petal
1st May 2013
Meet the Broilers
Families come in all shapes and sizes but the Broiler Clan come in one size only and that is BIG! There is the bold and boisterous Derek who, at only 5 months of age already weighs in at a whopping five kilograms. Lily is shyest of the clan, preferring to quietly navigate her way through the world as opposed to running flat out through it like her brothers. At just 11 weeks of age Rose has a curiosity that sees her venturing far and wide around the farm, yet when the call of, ‘Dinner!’ comes each night, she is always the first to come to a screeching halt by our side leaving Pip, Rain, Poppy and Daisy far behind. And then there is Petal, dear sweet Petal, who sadly struggled to keep up with her brothers and sisters from day one. While the others grew and grew, due to a metabolic condition that saw her body unable to adequately convert feed to mass, Petal remained smaller and less energetic than the rest. Taking some time out from her more mobile siblings, Petal has since befriended Pepper, a blind ex-battery hen and has proven to be just the gentle, kind companion that Pepper needed. And what at first appeared to be a threat to Petal’s wellbeing may in fact turn out to save her life. You see, a ‘broiler’ is another term for a meat chicken. These creatures are selectively bred and fed to grow at two to three times the rate nature intended, placing enormous stress on their internal organs and skeletal systems. Their rapid growth rate sees them reaching people’s plates at only 5 – 7 weeks of age and the very few who escape their preordained fate will never live a long life because of the enormous stress their bodies are forced to endure. So as Petal convalesces quietly with her new pal and regains her strength, her stunted growth sees her a more natural size for a chicken. In the meantime, we continue to do everything we can to ensure the remainder of her clan fit as much living into their years as possible and they do their bit too, scratching in the soil, dust bathing and sunbaking to their hearts’ content. If Petal will ever rejoin the Broilers we do not know but what we do know is this is one family reunion we surely won’t be missing.