Wherstead: Battery hens get new lease of life

WHERSTEAD: They’ve spent the first 16 months of their lives as tiny cogs in a huge egg-producing machine, but hundreds of happy hens are looking forward to a wonderful retirement after a visit to Jimmy’s Farm.

Wherstead-based television personality Jimmy Doherty linked up with the British Hen Welfare Trust to find new homes for battery hens whose best laying days were over.

About 250 were handed over to new owners on Saturday. They will live the rest of their lives in free-range heaven scratching on the ground and (when it appears) feeling the sun on their backs.

Mr Doherty is a patron of the BHWT. This was the first time his farm had been a collection point – but it won’t be the last. He said: “We want to do this regularly. There are a lot of people who want to give homes to ex-battery hens and I’m delighted to help out like this.”

Lesley Austin from the BHWT was on hand to give the hens to their new owners.

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She said: “They are about 16 months old and at the end of their productive lives but they can still have a good retirement. They quickly get used to the free-range lifestyle.”

Although the hens look rather worse for wear after coming out of battery cages, they soon re-grow their feathers and within weeks can look like perfect specimens.

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If you want to offer a home to ex-battery hens, you need to register with the BHWT through their website, www.bhwt.org.uk

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