Hundreds of hens need homes in West Sussex and an urgent appeal has gone out ahead of a rehoming event this weekend.
British Hen Welfare Trust, a national charity, has a collection point in Ferring, enabling it to rehome laying hens once they reach 18 months old and are no longer deemed commercially viable.
The charity collects the hens from farms and works with a network of volunteers to find suitable retirement homes for thousands of hens each year.
Founder Jane Howorth: “Just because it’s a bit cold outside, don’t let that put you off adopting some hens. These resilient little creatures may come out of their cages missing a few feathers but they’ll soon be sporting a new set of fluffy bloomers.
“We think a warm cosy coop is the least they deserve after all their diligent egg laying.”
The charity was founded by Jane in 2005 and now operates from more than 40 locations across the UK, supported by almost 1,000 volunteers.
Families have found ex-battery hens make wonderful pets, though sometimes they get into a few scrapes.
Bobbie Plater, who adopted Heidi the hen from Chichester, the former rehoming point, said: “My friend’s dogs visit quite often and we were chatting to a neighbour when Heidi slipped out. Fortunately there were no cars down that road. The dogs thought ‘oh what fun’ and went out with her, too.”
The next rehoming event will take place in Ferring on Sunday, November 17. Register at www.bhwt.org.uk and then call Hen Central on 01884 860084 to book.
Bre Hart, Surrey co-ordinator, said: “Rehoming ex-bats from the BHWT certainly brings about a touch of the feelgood factor as you give your little flock the chance to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and dust baths. It’s the first chance they’ll have had to enjoy many of the things that come naturally to a chicken.
“These hardworking little ladies will be coming out of their cages this weekend, so we really hope the Sussex public get behind us and give as many of them homes as possible.”