The modern phenomenon of ‘cheap chicken’ has come at a huge cost to the welfare of the birds. Engineered over generations to grow very ‘meaty’ very quickly, chickens born into the meat industry today are around three times larger than their ancestors. This unnatural growth rate puts enormous pressure on their hearts and immature skeletons and is common across all farming systems – whether factory-farmed, free-range or RSPCA Approved.
At just 7 weeks old, Bigs was still a baby when we filmed her story. Yet that’s the age most chickens are killed for their meat. They are baby birds in adult bodies. Sadly for Bigs and other rescued chickens, there is no turning back this ‘genetic clock’ – all their carers can do is try to slow it down to give them the longest life possible.
Bigs was born into a world that values chickens not for who they are, but rather, for how much meat their bodies can produce. But thanks to the kind-hearted people at Rosie’s Hospice of Compassion, while Bigs may still have a short life, it will be one filled with love and adventure.