‘No hen is left behind’ - Can you help rehome chickens saved from slaughter?
- Credit: Paul Macro Photography
They may not be everyone's first choice when looking for a family pet, but volunteers from Norfolk have made an appeal to help find forever homes for chickens which have been saved from slaughter.
Fresh Start for Hens volunteers dedicate their spare time to rehoming chickens saved from the commercial egg industry.
With 'hen collection points' across the country, the group has set up a site in Saham Toney, near Watton, hosted by Su-Bridge Pet Supplies, where those who register can come to collect the chickens and take them to their retirement homes.
Vicky Sewell from Wicklewood, near Wymondham, is coordinator for the county's collection point, and has been involved with the organisation for the last four years.
She said: "Between March and April we are looking for homes for about 5,000 hens across the country.
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"Farmers get in touch and say they have a barn of hens who are no longer commercially viable, so we travel there, catch and crate them and take them to our collection points for rehoming.
"If not, they would go straight to slaughter, so no hen gets left behind."
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Laying hens are usually slaughtered at the age of 72 weeks when their egg production drops and they are sold for dog food, baby food or cheap, processed pies.
But Fresh Start for Hens works closely with British farmers to purchase them just before their slaughter date.
Ms Sewell and other Norfolk volunteers will be at the county's collection point on Saturday, March 7, and they have already found homes for all 210 hens.
The next collection date after that will take place on April 4 and Ms Sewell hopes to bring more than 300 back to Norfolk for rehoming.
"They make the most amazing pets, they are so funny and really full of character," said Ms Sewell.
"You have to register through our site and send us photos of where the girls will be staying to be able to take them home. But if you have space in your garden you will truly enjoy these delightful little creatures."
For more information on collection points and where to register visit, freshstartforhens.co.uk/collection-points/