Could you give a hen a new home?

research shows the benefits of keeping hens

research shows the benefits of keeping hens - Credit: Archant

Most people who have rehomed ex-commercial hens would recommend the hobby to their friends and family – and the great news is there are more coming up for rehoming in the next two weeks.

In a recent survey of more than 60,000 supporters, the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) discovered that people's love of ex-bats (the affectionate term given to ex-battery hens) shows no sign of waning. In fact, more than half of its supporters have rehomed from the charity more than once.

The rehomed hens are 18 months old and have been laying eggs to be sold in supermarkets or put into processed foods for the public to buy. Most of them will have lived in cages, meaning they've not experienced life outside or had the chance to become much-loved family pets.

But, given the opportunity, ex-bats are happy to become just as much a part of the family as dogs and cats, with 72 per cent of the charity's supporters saying they perceive their hens as being equal to other pets. A further 13 per cent said they saw their hens as a hobby and a nice addition to the garden.

As well as being much-loved family members, chickens are relatively inexpensive to keep once their initial needs are catered for, with rehomers telling the charity they spend between £10 and £25 per month on their hens. The only ongoing costs associated with hen keeping are a nutritional chicken feed and bedding.

Jane Osgathorp, Cambridge co-ordinator, said: "It's clear that keeping ex-bats is not only hugely rewarding but adds a new dimension to family life - not to mention delicious eggs. I loved reading our latest Hensus results, especially when reading how hens have enriched the lives of the people who've rehomed them. I'm biased, of course, but if you're looking for a household pet with additional egg-shaped benefits then please consider adopting some hens."

The BHWT will be rehoming in Godmanchester on Saturday, September 7 and 21. To rehome a flock of your own, register at: www.bhwt.org.uk and then call: 01884 860084 to complete your booking.

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