Free-range egg laying hens are carried one by one, from barn to carrier cage. Rescued from slaughterhouse fates. On their way to safe forever homes. The change in routine makes some of the hens more nervous than others. Claws find their way around fingers seeking stability and comfort.
The natural lifespan of a hen is 5–10+ years. At approximately 18 months of age, layer hens stop producing eggs for six weeks to give their bodies a break and regenerate. This time is unprofitable and costly for commercial farms, and the hens are sent to slaughter. Most consumers are unaware of this standard practice called "depopulation".
It is rare for farms to allow rehoming. Rescue teams are grateful when they do. The farmer at this free-range farm had a real heart for his hens. He couldn't bear the thought of the alternative. "If I knew then, what I know now, I would have bought an orchard."