ONE of Scotland’s first rescue chickens has formed an unusual friendship – with a rescue dog.
Maisie Goodchicken is one of thousands of birds saved from the chop at the last minute by a Scottish group who buy them from farmers.
Maisie, two, now lives in suburban comfort in Edinburgh and has bonded with her owner’s pet greyhound, Colin, 12, who was himself rescued as a puppy.
The pair play in Fiona McGravie’s garden in Currie and even cuddle up on the sofa.
Fiona says Maisie’s story shows exactly why the work of her organisation, Wing And A Prayer Rescue, is so important.
The group was the first of its kind to be set up in Scotland and in the the past 15 months Mrs McGravie and her friends have rescued more than 3,000 birds.
The chickens are rehomed with animal lovers who pay £3.50 for their new pet.
The birds would otherwise be sent for slaughter because at 18 months their egg production starts to fall.
Mrs McGravie, 40, said: “When Maisie first came to us she was really quite poorly and spent a long time in her straw filled box in the house and Colin used to go lie next to her.
“It’s really quite unusual because Colin’s breed is meant to hunt and chase anything small that moves but they just bonded straight away.
“When Maisie was moved outside with the other chickens it was almost as if they were pining for each other. He would watch her for hours and she would try get back into the house.”
Maisie was so enamoured with her new friend that she even laid her first free-range egg next to Colin as they cuddled on the couch.
Mrs McGravie added: “I have to say that not all dogs and chickens get on though. Colin is a bit of a one-off. But they love a good cuddle on the couch.”
The women negotiate a price with farmers for the birds – which typically fetch just 25p at the slaughterhouse – before finding them loving new homes.
Some rescues have taken place just one hour before the trucks have arrived to take the animals to their death.
And some rescues have been so large that around 900 birds were taken in at the one time.
Mrs McGravie added: “We were the first group to start doing this in Scotland because so many animals were going to slaughter despite being perfectly healthy so we thought let’s do something.”
Mrs McGravie and her friends, Linda Grier, Jackie Balfour, Jean Dow and Kim Atherton have applied for the group to receive charity status and hope they will have it by this time next year.