On the Backyardchickens forum, there is a status saying "Overrun with chickens"; I believe I am now beginning to grasp what it means.
We have been thinking of adding some more ex-battery hens to our flock, remembering the satisfaction we felt at having seen them recover in our yard from the miserable caged-up life they led until they came to us. Sadly, several were killed by our dog when she got loose, but at least they had had a chance to live and enjoy freedom before that happened. So, we were planning to get some more.
But then, someone posted a message on the local poultry forum and said he is looking for a home for these little chicks. They come from a commercial strain of White Leghorn, and from what we were told, were used in lab experiments as eggs, and then discarded just a day or so before hatching. Many still managed to hatch, but were weak and with a bad condition of spraddle leg.
The good soul who picked them up had the right notion of putting their legs in a sort of hobble at a fixed distance from each other, to help the chicks stand upright and learn to walk properly, but unfortunately he did it with hard plastic "snappers" (sorry, don't know the English word), and so when my husband picked up about a dozen of them and brought them home, they all had sores and chafed skin on their legs. We patiently snapped off the plastic, and this morning I spent an hour or so fixing their legs in place with some soft yarn instead. Shira made a debut as a Poultry Physical Therapist Assistant, as she held the wriggliest chicks for me while I worked on their legs.
They seem to stand and walk much better already, and are all active and with a good appetite. By the way, they have a much larger "nursery", I only placed them in this box for a group photo, together with our home-hatched crosses.
Hopefully, they will grow up to live a happy and productive life here in our yard.