Rescue bid saves 136 hens from the slaughter

Hils Davis with some of the 136 ex-battery hens she helped to rehome
Hils Davis with some of the 136 ex-battery hens she helped to rehome

A Kirton woman’s garden was filled with the clucking chorus of 136 rescued ex-battery hens when Standard readers responded to their plight.

As reported last month, Hils Davis volunteered to become the first collection point in the county for people re-homing the birds saved from a short life of misery in battery farms.

“I was thrilled we had managed to save so many from slaughter,” she said. “There was a definite uptake following the article.

“My partner’s face was a picture when he saw them, I think he thought ‘what if no one turns up to collect them?’”

Hils is working with independent organisation Fresh Start For Hens, which buys hens from commercial farms and rehomes them via volunteer-run UK collection points on special rehoming days.

These birds have never seen sunshine before or felt grass under their feet – and Hils said she was delighted to see their reactions to being given this for the first time.

“I cried when I realised what state they had lived in. The first lady out of the crate just stood there in the sunshine, staring into space,” she said. “They seem to know they are safe now and respond to a few words and a cuddle.

“It was incredible to see them gradually change from institutionalised hens to something more natural.”

The plucky animal lover has already got 17 chickens of her own, but decided to permanently rehome a few of the new arrivals herself. The rest have gone to 26 new homes.

“We kept three, one of whom is virtually ‘oven ready’ with very few feathers,” said Hils. “She looks dreadful but she comes to the side of the coop to chat when we go out there.”

Despite the birds living for around 12 years, battery hens are culled after 18 months as their egg production drops.

l For more details on rehoming an ex-battery hen visit