Hundreds of battery hens are rehomed - and you can still help too
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant
Battery hens are today starting a free-range retirement in Suffolk, after hundreds were saved from slaughter.
The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) rehomed 250 caged hens at the weekend at one of 44 pop-up collection points, in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.
Sara Horncastle, one of the trust's rehoming volunteers at Stanton, said: "We homed 265 hens today - it went very well. It's so lovely to see these little girls getting new homes and a whole new life."
She said they had around 60 more hens to rehome than originally expected, and had found good homes for all of them.
"These were all hens which had always been caged, so they have never been outside."
The brown hens will all now be kept as pets, and enjoy discovering the fresh air.
Hatty Ashton, one of the new owners who rehomed chickens on Sunday, said: "I was going to take four hens, but in the end I took six."
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She is very happy to be able to give the chickens a new home. "It feels great for me to do it and it changes their lives."
Miss Ashton, who lives near Bury St Edmunds, started keeping chickens at the beginning of lockdown last year, beginning with bantams.
"They have helped my mental health during lockdown - they are very affectionate, just like dogs or cats."
She added she was calling one of her new hens Eggs Beatrice, similar to Eggs Benedict, and others would be named after competitors in RuPaul's Drag Race.
If you would like to rehome former battery hens, there are still more opportunities to do so.
The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) was established in 2005 by Jane Howorth and now has 1,000 volunteers.
It was the UK’s first charity to save laying hens from slaughter and rehome them as family pets.
Each year, the Devon-based charity saves more than 60,000 hens, It offers full support to owners who take on rescue chickens, to help them look after their new pets.
The next rehoming day at Stanton will take place on August 29, with another planned in September.
The BHWT asks for a donation to cover adoption costs and hen welfare campaigning work, such as veterinary and education programmes.
If you are interested in giving chickens a home at one of these future events, you can sign up at the BHWT website to register your interest, or call 01884 860084.