An animal sanctuary is hoping to find homes for thousands of battery hens who would otherwise be slaughtered.
Battery hens are intensively farmed and most are sent to an abattoir as soon as their egg laying rate begins to decrease.
Some hen farmers get their birds rehomed and Susan Anderson, founder of LittleHill Animal Rescue, volunteers her time trying to help. Her own home is a veritable zoo of rehomed animals and she brought Hayley, one of her rescue hens, to the Newstalk studio to chat about her work helping animals.
“She came from an egg farm, they would be kept laying eggs for approximately a year and then their production rate would go down and they would go into moult, so they are culled and a new lot of younger hens are put in,” Susan explained.
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Thousands of hens need rehoming every year and anyone who can provide a feathered friend with a second chance at life is asked to get in contact with LittleHill Animal Rescue via social media:
“Ideally Facebook because I think people think we have a team of people but we don’t,” Susan continued.
“There’s two or three or four of us. We try and do all the admin, Blaithín is working day and night at the moment, trying to take all the bookings.
“What we’re going to do is drive all over the country, starting tomorrow and if people would go to our Facebook page, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, all the information is on the pinned post and they can private message to book their hens.”
And of course, there is one huge benefit to having hens - eggs:
“These hens, when they go into their second year, you’ll probably get five or six eggs a week. The complaints are always, ‘Oh, I’ve so many eggs I don’t know what to do with them.’”
Prospective owners do not need a large outdoor area but they should invest in a safe place for the hens to sleep at night.
“Ideally, they should have a nice little dog or fox proof sleeping area, coop, shed, kennel and then a dog fox proof run so that you can go to work in peace,” Susan said.
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Main image: A stock photo of a brood of hens | Image: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images