Animal Aid

Could you care for rescued hens?

Posted 16 June 2008

Egg-laying hens, like dairy cows, are treated like machines. They are pushed to their biological limits and forced - through selective breeding and constant lighting combined with a high protein diet - to produce up to 30 times more eggs than they would naturally in the wild. Inevitably their bodies can only cope with such high production for a short period, after which, they can no longer produce the amount of eggs required by the industry. At around 72 weeks of age they are no longer profitable and known in the industry as 'spent hens'. Their worn-out bodies are worth as little as two pence and go into cheap meat products such as pies, soups and pet food. But some lucky girls are given a chance to live out the rest of their lives in peace, thanks to rescue groups such as Brighton Animal Action and North London Hen Rescue.

In July 2008, Brighton Animal Action has been given permission to spend six days legally liberating 13,500 end-of-lay hens and they will all need homes! North London Hen Rescue regularly also needs to find homes for rescued hens. The birds will require a safe, secure, large enough area in which they can scratch, feed and explore, and a safe place at night where foxes cannot reach them. Chickens are sociable birds and so must be homed in pairs or more. They are loveable characters but there are a few points to consider before offering to re-home hens. Where there is chicken food on the ground, rats are likely to be attracted. If this is a problem for you, please don’t take any chickens. And if you’re a keen gardener then chickens might not be for you, as they are hugely destructive! Oh, and they can be loud, especially in the morning! If, after considering all of that, you are still interested, please contact Brighton Animal Action or North London Hen Rescue and they may arrange a home check.

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