HENS are being given a chance of being rehomed instead of going to the slaughterhouse.

The 18-month-old birds come from a variety of farms with caged, bar and even free-range egg production.

They are still laying but are deemed “no longer commercially viable”.

The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) is hosting the rescue hen rehoming day at Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare in The Broyle, Ringmer, on Saturday, July 30.

The Argus: Picture from Steven LilleyPicture from Steven Lilley

George Shaw, volunteer for BHWT, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have created a huge surge in demand for ex-commercial laying hens, and the BHWT has risen to the task, responding safely, compassionately, and efficiently.

“The ‘cluck-and-collect’ rehoming process allows the trust to save hens and place them into hen-friendly homes once again.

“Our nationwide network of pop-up rehoming locations is now open and our hundreds-strong volunteer team is fully engaged, rehoming thousands of hens each rehoming weekend.”

The trust helps around 60,000 commercial hens “enjoy a free-range retirement” with the 12,000 people each year who choose to adopt hens across the country.

The Argus: Battery farm chickensBattery farm chickens (Image: Hereford Times)

Commercial hybrid hens are bred for their docility and are known to be gentle, inquisitive and friendly.

A spokesman for the charity added: “They will eat out of your hand, sit in your lap and follow you round the garden and even into your house, if you let them.

“Adopters insist hens make much better pets than rabbits and guinea pigs – and regularly post photos of them on social interacting well with their other pets – including cats, dogs, sheep and llamas.”

People who are interested in rehoming hens must complete online registration on BHWT’s website.

This includes sending photographic evidence of their suitable free-range, fox-proof shelter.

Adopters are required to keep a minimum of three hens as they are social creatures which are happiest in a small flock.

The charity is also encouraging people to donate £5 to its costs for the adopting event and educational programmes.

Since starting in 2005, BHWT has helped rehome around 800,000 hens.