CAN you make sure these chickens do not fall foul of the slaughterhouse and give them a new home?

Mac's Organic Egg Farm in Ditchling is working with animal rights groups to find new homes for 9,000 retired laying hens.

In the past seven years Susie Macmillan and her husband Danny have rehomed more than 55,000 chickens.

They have worked with various organisations and rescue centres including Brighton Animal Action, Fresh Start for Hens, The Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, Compassion In World Farming and the RSPCA centre in Patcham.

Every 18 months they undertake the mass rehoming operation but have only hit the magic 9,000 number twice.

Mrs Macmillan said: "This is a mammoth undertaking and takes months of organising.

"We have only managed it twice in seven years, so this time we’re appealing to the public to help us.

"Around half a million people are believed to keep chickens in their back gardens and re-homing a healthy, vaccinated, ex-commercial bird is a cost-effective way of starting or adding to a small flock."

Legally hens cannot be kept on farms for longer than 78 weeks because the quality of the eggs fall and the shells become thinner.

On most farms lorries then take the birds for slaughter but the Mac's Organic Egg Farm aims to rehome as many as possible.

Mrs Macmillan said: "These are laying hens which should give you a little present most days. They are not for eating - the meat is too tough.

"We work with vegans, vegetarians and animal rights organisations, and we couldn’t undertake re-homing on such a mammoth scale without them.

"Many are people who should dislike us because we’re farmers but in fact we spend an interesting and harmonious week working together. I learn just as much from them as they do from me."

The birds cost between £2 and £3 per bird depending on how many you want to rehome.

Sue Baumgardt, from Brighton Animal Action, said: "We want to help Susie re-home all the hens - it’s our mission to stop even a single one going to slaughter.

"What she does is admirable - she could have the slaughter lorry take away all the hens in just one morning, yet we spend a week working together to find them a happy home."

If you rehome a hen you will need a fox-proof run and a secure hen house.

To rehome a hen in Sussex contact Sue Baumgardt at Brighton Animal Action by emailing