From the death-sentence of a miserable existence in a cramped battery farm – to a life of freedom in a big garden – these hens have been given a second chance at life thanks to their plucky rescuer.
Nicki Murphy keeps hens at her home in Quadring - the majority of which were rescued from battery farms - including those left with special needs.
“I currently have 21 hens, 16 of which are ‘batties’ including a couple who are recovering from broken legs and one with a wonky beak due to their time in the awful conditions these girls are subjected to,” said Nicki. “They all settle in really quickly as they are very tame and real characters.”
As the images show - the birds are often in a terrible condition in the battery farms - having lost most of their feathers due to stress. But after a few weeks in a new home, the majority of their feathers grow back.
Nicki is now supporting Fresh Start For Hens - a charitable organisation that buys and rehomes ex-battery hens via 70 collection points around the Uk. Nicki has offered to be a collection point for the area. The next re-homing day is on February 28 and Nicki says she can take between 80-100 hens at her address ready for collection. Those wanting to help should register and reserve their hens via Fresh Start for Hens (see below).
“They make wonderful pets, steal your heart and are such wonderful characters,” said Nicki.
“I started out with four normal chickens (posh birds as my husband calls them) and within a few weeks had my first three ‘batties’. They had never experienced fresh air, sunshine or spread their wings. Seeing them experience this is a joy.”
Nicki admits she has a soft spot for rescued birds with special needs - and has recently taken in three blind ducks and converted a shed into a ‘hospital wing’.
She added: “These hens make ‘egg-Cellent’ pets. Many of them still lay for several years.”
Fresh Start for Hens is a commercial hen re-homing organisation founded in 2011.
They are a non profit voluntary organisation.
Fresh Start for Hens purchase hens from farmers just before the slaughter date.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “Commercially, all hens are slaughtered after about a year of laying, when their production drops below the six eggs a week. Their carcasses are worth very little and are usually sold for dog food or processed pies.”
They ask for £2.50 per hen to secure their life.
For more information or to place a reservation for hens, visit their website www.freshstartforhens.co.uk