Over-the-hill hens seek loving homes

Retirement ... once their commercial laying days are over, homes are needed for chickens to enjoy the rest of their natural lives
Retirement ... once their commercial laying days are over, homes are needed for chickens to enjoy the rest of their natural lives
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An appeal was launched in Sussex this week for help in finding homes for thousands of chickens saved from slaughter.

It was made by Sue Archer, who is the Hailsham area co-ordinator for Fresh Start For Hens.

This non-profit organisation works alongside farmers nationwide to rescue and re-home ex-commercial hens due to be destroyed once they reach the age of 18 months.

Sue said, “We have a large event in March involving 5,000 hens when we will be looking to find new homes for these girls.

“They are no longer considered commercially viable after the age of 18 months, but can go on laying for many years. We would like to hear from anyone who would like two or three for the back garden.”

Fresh Start for Hens is run entirely by volunteers who are dedicated to rehoming birds from the commercial egg production sector.

The aim is to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the plight of the commercial hen, and demonstrate that there are alternatives to early slaughter.

The organisation is commited to re-homing as many hens as it can into suitable homes, where they can live out the rest of their natural lives.

The goal of Fresh Start For Hens is to educate the public about the ethical benefits of buying free range eggs, whilst supporting the work of British farmers.

Commercially, all laying hens are slaughtered at the age of 72 weeks, when their production drops slightly. Their carcasses are worth very little and are usually sold for dog food, baby food or cheap, processed pies etc. The organisation works closely with British farmers and purchases the hens from the caged, barn and free range systems, just before their slaughter date.

It re-homes hens to a diverse range of individuals wanting them as pets or companion animals. Hens have begun their new lives in town, city and country gardens, allotments, schools and residential care homes. You don’t need to have a big garden to keep a few hens, they will be grateful for the additional years of freedom you can offer them and reward you with their entertaining antics and probably an egg or two. To this end, the organisation does not rehome to people wishing sell them on or for further commercial purposes.

Re-homing will take place at collection points across the South of England on March 19, and across the North on March 26. To find out more visit www.freshstartforhens.co.uk

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