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Could you offer a home to an ex-battery hen?

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

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

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Animal lovers are holding a special hen homing day for ex-battery birds his weekend.

Chickens waiting for their new owners to collect them at a previous homing day Picture: Chris BishopChickens waiting for their new owners to collect them at a previous homing day Picture: Chris Bishop

The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) is hosting the event at Gayton Thorpe, near King's Lynn, on Sunday (2 - 4pm), where 300 hens will be handed over to their new owners.

Laying hens are deemed no longer commercially viable once they reach 18 months old.

The charity collects birds from farms and works with a network of volunteers to find suitable retirement homes for thousands of hens each year.

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

Andy Beecroft, its Norfolk co-ordinator, said: "Rehoming ex-bats from the BHWT certainly brings about a touch of the feelgood factor as you give your little flock the chance to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and dust baths. It's the first chance they'll have had to enjoy many of the things that come naturally to a chicken.

"These hardworking little ladies will be coming out of their cages this weekend, so we really hope the Norfolk public get behind us and give as many of them homes as possible."

Hen keeping is on the rise across the UK with an estimated 1,000,000 households now having hens in their back garden, making chickens the sixth most popular household pet after dogs, cat, fish, rabbits and hamsters.

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

Jane Howorth MBE, Founder of the BHWT, said: "It comes as no surprise to us that hen keeping is becoming increasingly common as we know better than most what amazing pets they make. They're intelligent, friendly and inquisitive and soon find their way into people's hearts. There's something particularly special about rehoming ex-bat 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.

The BHWT, founded in 2005, has rehomed more than 12,000 hens across the Norfolk area.

If you would like to rehome a flock of your own on Sunday, register your details at www.bhwt.org.uk and then call Hen Central on 01884 860084.

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