As Easter approaches and shoppers are bombarded with pictures of cute chicks, animal rights campaigners in Brighton are looking for help to save thousands of chickens from slaughter.

Chicken Liberation 2008, which is organised by Brighton Animal Action, will give up to 13,500 "end of lay" birds a chance to have an extended life, by finding them homes.

The chickens will come from a freerange organic farm in Sussex in mid- July, when the birds reach about 80 weeks of age.

After this time the chickens begin to lay fewer eggs, which farmers are unable to sell to supermarkets because they are not deemed perfect by buyers.

This is the third year the group has worked in co-operation with the Sussex farmer and last year almost 3,500 chickens were saved and rehomed with individuals and at animal sanctuaries such as Animaline in Horsted Keynes.

This summer the group hopes to collect as many birds as possible and has already found homes for about 2,000.

Sue Baumgardt, a spokeswoman for the group, said: "This year there are 13,500 and we would love to rehome them all but we would have to have guaranteed homes for them and it would be a massive project.

"The farmer loves her birds and hates them going for slaughter. She would much rather they be rescued.

"They have had a wonderful life on the farm, running through fields and hedges."

The chickens will still lay eggs and anyone who would like to rehome some would need a fox-proof run and a hen house with a perch.

Initial and follow-up checks will also be made on the birds.

The group is also looking for donations of carrier boxes, hay and straw and any money which is donated will also be used to buy equipment.

Anyone who can take any birds or would like to make a donation should email