You don’t need a big garden to give a few hens a home to live in freedom this December.
The ex-commercial chicken re-homing organisation, Fresh Start for Hens, is encouraging everyone to rescue a few hens to save them from slaughter.
On December 3, 2,000 ex-battery hens from a south-coast farm will be re-homed across the country, with Spalding being one of 39 collection points.
The re-homing coordinator for Lincolnshire, Nicki Murphy, wants to make as many people as possible aware of the plight of the commercial hen.
She said: “Our commitment is to re-home the hens in safe, suitable homes where they can live out the rest of their natural lives.
“They adapt really well to their new free life and will reward you with eggs and fun.”
The organisation purchases the hens from farmers just before their slaughter date which is usually around 72 weeks old.
Commercial hens are slaughtered after about a year of laying, when their production drops below six eggs a week. Their carcasses are often sold for dog food or cheap processed pies.
The non-profit organisation say there are alternatives to early slaughter as well as ethical benefits to buying free range eggs while still supporting the work of British farmers.
Nicki said: “They are usually very friendly girls and such characters – to the point that leaving the kitchen door open will inevitably lead to visitors inside.”
Nicki is one of 70 coordinators who provide collection points for the ‘batties’ as she calls them. An animal lover, Nicki has rescued many hens of her own.
Previous rescue hens have been re-homed to a diverse range of individuals wanting hens as pets or companion animals.
Many hens have begun new lives not only in schools and residential care homes but also towns and cities.
Anyone wishing to re-home a hen must reserve them on the Fresh Start for Hens website fsfh.org.uk
A donation of £2.50 per hen is asked for which goes towards the costs of transport, insurance and vet bills for the birds.
Rescuers must also provide a photograph of where the hens will be living, for example a coop and run or a free range area. They require somewhere secure to sleep, lay eggs, play and peck.