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‘Cluck-and-Collect’ with the British Hen Welfare Trust's chicken re-homing initiative


The British Hen Welfare Trust is to host a rescue hen rehoming day at Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, near Lewes in East Sussex, on Saturday 30thJuly.

The rescued hens would otherwise go to slaughter aged just 18 months, while still laying, but deemed no longer commercially viable. They are sourced from farms with caged, bar or free-range egg production.

The COVID-19 lockdown saw a surge in the numbers of Brits looking to keep chickens. The pandemic made people reflect on what is truly important; slowing down and returning to a more grounded, healthier lifestyle. Hen-keeping has once again been embraced by the nation – not just for the delicious fresh eggs – but also to promote a sense of wellbeing, relieving daily stresses and providing hours of endless entertainment.

Thanks to the Trust with its nationwide network of volunteers, around 60,000 commercial hens enjoy a free-range retirement each year, with 12,000 people discovering the pleasure of hen keeping every year.

A commercial hybrid, the birds are bred for their docility. They are gentle, inquisitive and friendly. They will eat out of your hand, sit in your lap and follow you round the garden and even into your house, if you let them.

Adopters insist hens make much better pets than rabbits and guinea pigs – and regularly post photos of them on social interacting well with their other pets – including cats, dogs, sheep and llamas.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have created a huge surge in demand for ex-commercial laying hens, and the BHWT has risen to the task, responding safely, compassionately, and efficiently,” said George Shaw, a volunteer for the, British Hen Welfare Trust, adding, “The ‘cluck-and-collect’ rehoming process whilst allows the Trust to save hens and place them into hen-friendly homes once again. Our nationwide network of pop-up rehoming locations is now open and our hundreds-strong volunteer team is fully engaged, rehoming thousands of hens each rehoming weekend.”

To adopt rescue hens, rehomers need to complete online registration via www.bhwt.org.uk/rehome-hens. This includes sending photographic evidence of their suitable free-range, fox proof accommodation and shelter for the hens. Adopters are required to keep a minimum of three hens, as they are social animals and are happiest as part of a small flock. A suggested donation of £5 contributes to the Trusts overheads and educational programmes.