More than 200 ex-battery hens have experienced sunshine for the first time, thanks to a re-homing appeal between two animal charities.

The British Hen Welfare Trust teamed up with Wood Green The Animals Charity to find homes for the former commercial-laying hens who would otherwise be destined for the slaughter house.

All 230 hens, who are about 18 months old and will still lay eggs, were re-homed at a pop-up event held in Huntingdon on March 7.

Marie Channer, field and small animal welfare manager at Wood Green, said: "Seeing the magical moment when they are released makes all the hard work really worthwhile. It's so rewarding, especially when you see the girls out in the sunshine, charging around in the grass.

"Within a few weeks the hens will be full feathered and fabulous, content to spend the rest of their lives roaming freely. They will quickly adjust to their new found freedom, enjoying dust baths and laying eggs for their new owners."

Mel Lazenby, Cambridge co-ordinator for the welfare trust, said: "They make amazing pets, giving so much back with their friendly and inquisitive natures - not to mention eggs."

The welfare trust says the hens need a little know-how and space, but keeping them as pets can be a rewarding hobby. Since its launch in 2005, the charity has re-homed more than 445,000 hens from 30 pop-up events.

INFORMATION: If you want to re-home one of the remaining hens, go to www.woodgreen.org.uk. To find out more about future re-homing events, visit www.bhwt.org.uk.