VIDEO: Thousands of pet hens in need of homes in Derbyshire

Thousands of chickens in Derbyshire - who would have been sent to slaughter - are in need of good pet homes.

Volunteers from Fresh Start For Hens are looking for good pet homes for 6,500 hens - and 1,500 of them need to be homed by the end of this month.

Charlotte Curtis with her hens and geese, many of which have been re-homed from battery farms.

Charlotte Curtis with her hens and geese, many of which have been re-homed from battery farms.

Helpers at the not-for-profit organisation committed to helping a farmer out with re-homing 5,000 hens in March, when another one of their regular farmers asked them at the last-minute to help re-home 1,500 more by the end of February.

But finding that number of homes at short notice has not been easy, and there are still around 3,000 hens who have nowhere to go.

Collection points across the country were quickly contacted to hold open days, including in Nottinghamshire’s Kirkby and Retford, and Derbyshire’s Chesterfield and Ilkeston.

These points will be opened up on February 27, March 19 and March 26, as well as reservation pages on the website.

Fresh Start for Hens is run entirely by volunteers who are dedicated to re-homing hens from the commercial egg production sector, who would have otherwise been sent to slaughter.

Laying hens are usually slaughtered ages 72-78 weeks in the commercial sector, when their production drops slightly.

A Fresh Start for Hens spokesman said their carcasses are worth very little and are usually sold for dog food, baby food or cheap, processed pies.

The organisation works with British farmers and purchases hens from the caged, barn and free range systems, just before their slaughter date.

They re-home hens to a range of people who want hens as pets or companion animals.

Volunteer Charlotte Curtis said: “Hens have begun their new lives in town, city and country gardens, allotments, schools and residential care homes.

“You don’t need to have a big garden to keep a few hens, they will be grateful for the additional years of freedom you can offer them and reward you with their entertaining antics and probably an egg or two.

“Hens will not be re-homed to people wishing sell them on or for further commercial purposes.”

If you have space for any hens, get in touch with Fresh Start for Hens at www.fsfh.org.uk.