Charity helps to give hens a new start for 2012

NEW HOME Dr Roy Stainton and his wife Sue load a dozen chickens into their vehicle for a better life at their Bishops Waltham home. Inset, some of the many chickens found a new home by Alice Moneypenny.

NEW HOME Dr Roy Stainton and his wife Sue load a dozen chickens into their vehicle for a better life at their Bishops Waltham home. Inset, some of the many chickens found a new home by Alice Moneypenny.

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THEY’VE spent their lives cooped up – but hundreds of ex-battery hens have now been rehomed by loving Hampshire families.

After months of relentless farming in cramped conditions, hens facing an untimely death were given hope of a happy retirement.

NEW LIFE Some of the many chickens found a new home by Alice Moneypenny.

NEW LIFE Some of the many chickens found a new home by Alice Moneypenny.

An impressive 335 hens were collected from the British Hen Welfare Trust’s Denmead team – taking the number of chickens rehoused across the region this month alone to a record total of almost 900. The Denmead team’s monthly average is about 300.

Alice Moneypenny, 34, a volunteer at the charity from Horndean, said she was thrilled with the number of people coming forward to take an unprecedented number of hens, many of which face being slaughtered due to an EU-wide ban on conventional ‘barren’ battery cages from 2012.

She said: ‘Hampshire people are absolutely brilliant. We get a mix of city and country residents who want to do their bit to give the hens a good retirement.

‘What the hens go through is heartbreaking, and they deserve good homes.’

Sue Stainton, 63, and her husband Roy, 75, of Dean, picked up a dozen hens to add to their brood of seven.

She said: ‘This is our fourth lot over the years – we want to save the hens from being turned into mincemeat and give them a chance to roam free in natural light and sunshine.

‘Even if they don’t live long, they’ll at least have some time living the way they should.

‘The chickens make wonderful pets and it is hugely satisfying to see them gain in strength and regain their health.

‘They do lay eggs, but that’s what’s most important to us is that they are happy.’

To find out more about rehoming contact Alice on 01769 580 310 or visit bhwt.org.uk.

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