We do hen rescues throughout the year in association with the British Hen Welfare Trust, these can be ex- bats or commercial free range hens. We run waiting lists of people who are looking to adopt hens and carry out home visits before the hens are released.

Please email us for more info or to go on the hen waiting list.

Ex-Battery Hen and “Free Range” Hens

Thank you for considering adopting one of 40 million hens currently producing commercial eggs in this country.

The following is a guide of what to expect if you decide to take on some of our hens for their retirement.

Age
Your hens will be approximately one year old. This is the time they would ordinarily go for slaughter. At this age, they will have laid around 300 eggs. They will still readily lay, and as a general rule you will get an egg every other day per chicken, although some lay very regularly each day.

Health
They can look very feather-bare for the first few weeks/months, however they will have almost complete feather re-growth in time. Caged hens very often suffer injuries due to the cruel and horrible conditions in which they were kept, including fractures of their wings, toes and legs, and despite every effort to ensure they are fit to be re-homed, your hen may require veterinary treatment soon after adoption. The ex- free range birds are less prone to injury (although this does happen, as conditions are frequently less than ideal) – they can move quite quickly, so be prepared! We can be dealing with large volumes of birds on rescue days, and sometimes a poorly bird could slip through the process, although this is very rare.

Your New Hens!
Your hens will be slightly shell-shocked (excuse the pun!) for a few days after adoption, they have spent all of their lives confined to tiny inadequate cages or in large flocks and when you take them home it will be the first time they have had space, felt grass beneath their feet, and seen the sky. But DON’T WORRY – it is amazing how quickly their instincts return, and they will be scratching around and sunbathing with their wings stretched out before you know it! More than anything else, they require love and kindness to compensate for the exploitation they have been subject to.

Life Expectancy
There is no guarantee how long a rescue hen will live. Some may sadly only live for a few weeks – however, if these weeks are spent in the fresh air being able to stretch their wings we feel they are luckier than a lot of other hens. On average they will live for a further 2-3 years.

Donna, the hen in the picture above, lived to the age of 8 years+. She never laid an egg but she was very much loved.

If you decide to proceed with adopting some of our hens, you will be given a ‘Caring for Rescue Hens’ leaflet, which gives you more in-depth information. You can also visit the British Hen Welfare Trust website at www.bhwt.org.uk.

Chicken Accommodation Sizes

The MINIMUM inside/overnight accommodation size is approximately 1½ sq. ft. PER BIRD, therefore;

A 10 x 8 ft. (80 sq. ft.) shed will accommodate 50 chickens

A 8 x 6 ft. (48 sq. ft.) shed will accommodate 30 – 35 chickens

A 8 x 4 ft. (32 sq. ft.) shed will accommodate 20 – 25 chickens

A 7 x 5 ft. (35 sq. ft.) shed will accommodate 20 – 25 chickens

A 6 x 4 ft. (24 sq. ft.) shed will accommodate 12 – 15 chickens

A 4 x 2 ft. (8 sq. ft.) hen house will accommodate 4 – 6 chickens

The MINIMUM HEIGHT permitted would be 2ft. – with a Roosting Perch @ 1ft. from the ground.

The MINIMUM outside accommodation size is approximately 2 sq. ft. PER BIRD.

If there is a garden or paddock that the chickens will have daily access to then that is great!

If the chickens are to be kept in a coop/arc then the measurements of the coop/arc will be calculated for how many hens this will be suitable for. i.e. a 4 x 2 ft. coop/arc = 8 sq. ft. which can accommodate 4 chickens.

PLEASE NOTE that these sizes are GUIDELINES and there will always be an element of flexibility providing good welfare standards can be maintained. 

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