Once Sage explained the situation to the hens and the roosters, they immediately began to make plans to help Flower and Rene rescue the pigs from the Factory Farm. It was decided that there would be two teams, each team made up of two hens and a rooster. Team One would help Flower and Team Two would help Rene. The hens who stayed behind would set up triage and be prepared to care for any wounded who might be brought back. The medical hens had been up helping the rescued hens and chicklets all night. They were working in shifts. They had already lost two hens and some of the chicklets were in danger. The strongest, of those wounded, were moved into the guest houses, to make room for the next wave of refugees. The cooks had been at their posts since the battery hens had arrived, making food for their guests. The healers were busy making medicinal potions and instructing the medical hens how to use them. Some of the other hens were in the laundry washing and drying blankets. The chicklets spent their time pressing their warm bodies against the new and stunned chicklets, while chirping them to sleep.
The rescue teams met at the gate. Flower and Rene refused to be separated, so they both went with Team One. Everyone had rolled in the dust and blended nicely into the moonless night. They reached the Factory Farm and went directly to where Rene said the pigs and piglets were being held. Once there, they unlocked the gate and silently led the pigs into the open field. This was by far, the most dangerous part of the operation. Some of the pigs had difficulty walking and several of the piglets began to squeal loudly. The hens tried to quiet them but to no avail. They had to run and they had to run fast.
“Follow us,” peeped, Rene, leading the way.
The pigs trotted after him, doing their best to keep up. The roosters, a piglet under each wing, ran beside them urging them on. Forty pigs were loose and spread out over the grass, when they heard a door slam open.
A human stated yelling and running toward them. He had a shovel raised above his head and his voice was threatening. Everyone ran, as fast as they could. The pigs went wild with terror, the piglets hurried after the others screaming in fear. The human was right behind them.
And then, a tiny piglet tripped and fell over on the grass. He squealed and cried out. Everyone was running toward The Coop but Flower stopped. She turned toward the piglet and started hopping and flying toward him. The human was still screaming and waving the shovel. They both reached the piglet at the same time. Flower threw herself over the terrified piglet, her wings outstretched, just as the shovel started coming down. She closed her eyes and chirped softly to the piglet. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “I’ll protect you.”
The shovel missed her by an inch and fell to the ground with a thud. The human screamed even louder, and crashed to the ground next to her. Flower rose and turned to see that brave Rene had flown into the human’s face, “Run,” he chirped. “Take the piglet. RUN!”
The human was batting at Rene with one fist and trying to cover its eyes with the other. Flower untangled the piglet and sent him on his way. She ran to Rene’s side and they pecked at the human, feeling every blow against their feathery bodies, their fragile wings. Once the piglet had been grabbed by one of the hens, the roosters, who had seen what was happening, jumped into the fray and helped in the attack, until the others had disappeared from sight.
The rooster squawked and the chicklets and roosters leapt away from the human and ran flat out, bodies bent forward, wings tucked in. By the time the human was on its feet, the chicklets and roosters were gone.
The terrified pigs crashed through the entrance to The Coop and fell to the ground. Exhausted and afraid, they made high pitched sounds of panic. But soon the magical peacefulness of The Coop covered them and they began to grunt contentedly, happy to be safe at last. The hens began leading the pigs away, their piglets by their sides.
Flower and Rene walked toward the kitchen.
“We did good,” chirped Flower cheerfully.
“We did,” answered Rene. “You were wonderful, Flower. You threw yourself over the piglet to save him. I love you.”
“What about you? You attacked a big human. You tried to save the piglet AND me. I love you too, silly.”
“Are you hungry?” peeped Rene.
“Starving,” she sighed. “You?’
“Always,” he chirped happily.
“How’s your wing? It looks all droopy.”
“I think it’s broken but I’m fine,” smiled Rene. “What about your leg?”
“No problem,” she peeped, limping toward him. “Do you want to visit the Rubber Ducks later?”
“Then we can decide who to rescue tomorrow,” chirped Flower merrily.