Animal lovers are being urged to “act now” to save 9,000 chickens from the slaughterhouse.

The 18-month-old hens are considered too old to lay by supermarket buyers and as a result will be turned into nuggets – unless new homes can be found over the next few weeks.

Farms across the country work in cycles by getting rid of thousands of the animals at a time before bringing in a new batch.

But for the past few years Brighton Animal Action has been working in partnership with Mac’s Farm in Ditchling to save the birds from the butchers.

Sue Baumgardt, from the animal rights group, said: “They still lay perfectly good eggs, just not to the standards of the supermarkets.

“Unless we find new homes for them, they get packed into the slaughterhouse lorry and taken away.

“We haven’t got long. We need to act now.”

Eighteen months ago they managed to re-home all 9,000 for the first time ever.

Ms Baumgardt said: “That was a real victory for us. We had the pleasure of calling up and cancelling the lorry. We hope we can achieve the same this year.

“The problem is that those who have helped before still have their hens. So we have to keep finding new people.”

The group arranged for the British Hen Welfare to take a few thousand off their hands 18 months ago and they are set to do the same again this year.

Local animal sanctuaries also take a few hundred each with the likes of Alex Bastedo’s ABC Sanctuary in Pulborough and PAWS Animal Sanctuary in Findon among those involved.

They rely on the general public to help out with the rest.

Stacey McSpirit, who runs PAWS, said: “People don’t realise but they make really good pets. They lay good eggs and have fantastic personalities.”

The hens cost from just £2 each and are available for collection from August 31.

Ms Baumgardt: “The goal is to be able to cancel the slaughterhouse lorry again. That would be fantastic.

“Anyone who can help should get in touch with me as soon as possible.”

Contact Ms Baumgardt on 01273 885750, 07974 201999 or email

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