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New homes found for rescued battery hens

PUBLISHED: 15:26 17 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 17 November 2019

Ex-battery hens which are on their way to new homes in Norfolk and further afield  Picture: Chris Bishop

Ex-battery hens which are on their way to new homes in Norfolk and further afield Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

More than 2,000 ex-battery hens have been rehomed by an animal welfare group over the weekend.

A hen is transferred to a crate ready for the journey to its new home  Picture: Chris BishopA hen is transferred to a crate ready for the journey to its new home Picture: Chris Bishop

Instead of being slaughtered at just 18 months of age, when they are deemed to be no longer viable egg-layers, the birds have found a new lease of life in back gardens, allotments and small holdings.

Some 300 were snapped up by new owners in less than two hours at Gayton Thorpe, near King's Lynn, on Sunday afternoon.

Andy Beecroft, Norfolk co-ordinator for the British Hen Welfare Trust, said similar events were being held in neighbouring counties after the charity collected 2,000 birds from an intensive farm which no longer wanted them on Saturday.

One of the first in the queue was Tiffany Brown, a beautician who had driven from Waddington, Lincs, to pick up her new pets.

More than 300 hens were rehomed at Gayton Thorpe, while similar events elsewhere around the region took the weekend's total to 2,300  Picture: Chris BishopMore than 300 hens were rehomed at Gayton Thorpe, while similar events elsewhere around the region took the weekend's total to 2,300 Picture: Chris Bishop

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"We did come for four but we've got five," said mother-of-three Mrs Brown, 33. "One of my friends had some from here, I guess it's the story behind them."
Food industry worker Gary Eggleton, 55, was topping the 20-strong flock at his home in Shouldham Thorpe, near Downham Market.

"It's an opportunity to do a bit of good," he said. "There's not really any need for batteries, it's just a good way to highlight the issue."

The British Hen Welfare trust has homed more than 12,000 birds since it was formed in 2005.

Volunteer John Greenwood with a chicken  Picture: Chris BishopVolunteer John Greenwood with a chicken Picture: Chris Bishop

It reckons chickens are now the sixth most popular household pet after dogs, cat, fish, rabbits and hamsters, with an estimated 1m households now having hens in their back garden.

Its founder Jane Howorth, MBE, said: "There's something particularly special about rehoming ex-battery hens, as not only have you saved their lives, but you've given them the first chance to really experience what life is all about and it's through that joint experience that gives us lucky people the chance to form special relationships with our hens."

To find out more about hen homing, click here or call Hen Central on 01884 860084.

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