Search

Rescued ex-battery chickens adopted at special hen homing day near King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 16:17 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:03 02 October 2017

A hen peers curiously out of its box. Picture: Chris Bishop

A hen peers curiously out of its box. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

Nearly 400 ex-battery hens were given a new lease of life at a special rehoming day in Norfolk.

Chickens waiting for their new owners to collect them. Picture: Chris Bishop Chickens waiting for their new owners to collect them. Picture: Chris Bishop

The 65-week-old hens at the end of their commercial laying careers were saved from being turned into petfood by animal lovers.

Members of the British Hen Welfare Trust collect them from egg producers and pass them on to new owners.

Today they had a special collection day at a farm at Gayton Thorpe, near King’s Lynn.

Volunteer John Greenwood with an ex-battery hen. Picture: Chris Bishop Volunteer John Greenwood with an ex-battery hen. Picture: Chris Bishop

Queues formed across the village green as the trust’s Norfolk co-ordinator Andy Beecroft and his team of volunteers got to work.

“We’ve got orders for 363 and we’ve nearly got through that,” he said, lifting a squawking almost-bald hen into a box. “We’ve had people up from Suffolk, we’ve had a very good response.”

A steady stream of families and hen lovers left with their charges in cardboard boxes and cat crates.

A hen on its way to a new home. Picture: Chris Bishop A hen on its way to a new home. Picture: Chris Bishop

“The average number is probably about six, they come from all over the place,” said Mr Beecroft. “We normally do this every six weeks, 250 at a time, we’ve got eight volunteers, mostly from Gayton Thorpe, peoplem I’ve roped in.”

Potential adopters are vetted before they are allowed to reserve hens - to weed out any looking for a cheap Sunday roast. They pay a donation of around £3 - £5 per bird to cover the trust’s costs.

Many of the birds - lovingly referred to as girls by Mr Beecroft - bear signs of close confinement such as lost feathers and sore rumps. But given a little TLC, they soon regrow their plumage and become egg-laying pets which can live for five years or more.

An ex-battery hen which is being re-homed. Picture: Chris Bishop An ex-battery hen which is being re-homed. Picture: Chris Bishop

Anne Tappin, from Feltwell, queued with husband Simon and five-year-old son Charlie for six hens.

“We got some two years ago from this very place,” she said. “Charlie likes them a lot. They have characters and end up very friendly.”

Ben Chinery came from Nordelph with wife Lucinda, eight-year-old son Lucas and three-year-old daughter Erin were also collecting hens.

The Tapping family from Feltwell on their way home with their new pets. Picture: Chris Bishop The Tapping family from Feltwell on their way home with their new pets. Picture: Chris Bishop

“We had some a few years ago,” said Mr Chinery. “We’re quite keen animal lovers so any rescue we try to help with.

“They’re fun for the kids as well. They make better pets than you’d think.”

Anyone thinking of rehoming hens can find out more about adopting and caring for the birds online here.

Hen welfare volunteers (from left) Bev Edge, Andy Beecroft and John Greenwood. Picture: Chris Bishop Hen welfare volunteers (from left) Bev Edge, Andy Beecroft and John Greenwood. Picture: Chris Bishop

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest from the EDP

Show Job Lists

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast