Hens egg-static over cage change

British Hen Welfare Trust volunteer Anna Whiteside from Evenley
British Hen Welfare Trust volunteer Anna Whiteside from Evenley

A WOMAN from Evenley is hoping to give 200 ex-battery hens a Christmas to remember by find them new homes.

In 2010 Anna Whiteside told her boyfriend she was terrified by chickens, but after he took in a sick one she become besotted.

She said: “We started nursing it back to health and I just took to it, now I’m totally addicted.”

Since then Mr Whiteside has helped find new homes for 7,000 hens and as a volunteer for the British Hen Welfare Trust she is backing their drive to re-home 6,000 ex-battery hens by Christmas.

Mrs Whiteside said battery hens are usually a hybrid of Lohmann Brown, Hyline and Rhode Island Red, bred for their high egg production.

She added: “Farmers send them to slaughter because they stop being cost effective after around 72 weeks, however there’s still lots of eggs left in that chicken.”

She added: “Even though they’re not producing eggs at a commercial rate, they have so much more life in them, and they have heaps of character. I have a friend who said she would only keep pure breeds, now she’s got 12 ex-bats.

“And one of the things I would say, I’m a bit of a workaholic and this is the most stress relieving hobby I’ve had.”

BHWT have launched the Christmas rehoming drive ahead of of January 1, 2012 when new EU rules come into force banning the current style of battery hen cages.

BHWT have two rehoming days left this year. To find out more call 01769 580310, email hens@bhwt.org.uk or visit wwwbhwt.org.uk.