HUNDREDS of hens are hoping to avoid the slaughterhouse and start a free range retirement in time for Christmas.
The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) will be re-homing hens in Rowlands Castle during December and is appealing for more members of the public with a bit of space in their back garden to get in touch and save some lives.
These hens have been working hard for 18 months, laying eggs to be sold in supermarkets or put into processed foods but once they reach this age their egg laying slows down or becomes irregular and so are sent to slaughter.
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At this point the BHWT steps in to save as many as possible and re-home them as family pets.
Holly Spence, who owned chickens previously, adopted Myrtle the hen to save her from the slaughterhouse.
She said: ‘When I got her she was looking a bit tatty but very quickly grew all her beautiful feathers back within weeks.
‘I love all my chickens so much but I think because she is the bottom hen, she has a special place in my heart.’
To adopt a flock of hens in time for Christmas register your details at bhwt.org.uk and then call 01884 860084.
Re-homings are taking place on Saturday December 8 in Rowlands Castle.