CAN you help 930 chickens saved from the slaughterhouse keep cool on the journey to their new homes?

The Macs Farm in Ditchling works with animal rights groups to find new homes for its hens when they are retired.

Hundreds of them will be heading to new homes at the weekend.

But the animal rights groups organising the transport are worried the hot weather could mean some die on the journey.

They are now appealing to local ice manufacturers and retailers to help keep the hens cool on their two-hour trip to Hampshire, which could take even longer if traffic is heavy.

Activist Celia Marker said: “We are rehousing 930 hens over the weekend in four long vans.

“Temperatures are still very high and I just had this idea we could help keep them cool by placing bags of ice between the crates.

“We don’t want to rescue 930 hens and then find some of them don’t make the journey down.”

Temperatures are expected to reach sweltering highs of 20C and 22C at the weekend.

The hens will leave the Ditchling farm on Saturday and Sunday to head for Hampshire where they will be picked up by their new owners, many of them families.

Every 18 months the farm works with various organisations and rescue centres in an attempt to rehome about 9,000 hens.

This year Brighton Animal Action has found homes for 3,000, while the other 5,500 hens would be rehomed by the Fresh Start for Hens organisation.

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

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

It ensures the new homes are suitable with a secure hen house and run, away from prying foxes and other predators.

Sue Baumgardt, from Brighton Animal Action, said: “They are really friendly hens and they have years of laying eggs ahead of them.

“People tell me they still have hens from years ago and they are still laying – it’s just that their not laying enough to be commercially viable.

“Most of them go to people who keep them in their gardens and give their eggs to neighbours, family and friends.

“It is a step back to how things were before supermarkets.”

If you are an ice manufacturer or retailer or would like to rehome a chicken, contact Sue Baumgardt at Brighton Animal Action by emailing