Archive for the ‘Fresh Start for Hens’ Category

We did it!! Cornwall Fresh Start for Hens’ first ever rehoming meant 281 ex-commercial girls have been saved from slaughter and are now starting their new lives as loved family pets. It is the loveliest feeling in the world to know that we have saved 281 precious little lives!!


Naturally the rehoming wasn’t without incident – not least the torrential (I mean TORRENTIAL) rain on Friday night as we drove the hens to their overnight accommodation. Desperately trying to unlock the padlocked gate in the downpour, still wearing my white disposable overalls complete with fetching hood, with a large van waiting behind me, I hoped against hope the police didn’t drive past and get the wrong idea!!!

And the girls, once in their stables, were feisty girls!!! When we went to check on them early the next morning they were all over the place! In the water trough, on the walls, sitting on top of the pile of crates, in the rafters…and they didn’t want to be caught!!!

Naughty hens!! Look at the smile on the hen on the far left’s face!!

Naughty? Me?

Luckily we had a splendid team – Paula and Tim who gave up their entire weekend to help these girls, and some expert chicken catchers and cuddlers in Lynette, Lynn, her lovely daughter Becky and Carol-with-the-chicken-earrings, who were totally marvellous all day. We even had FSFH national co-ordinator Taz and her husband Steve come down to support us on our first rehoming. And of course, not forgetting international pop star* Gary Barlow who spent the day washing crates.

left to right: Steve, Taz, Tim Gary, Jo, Lynette and hen, Carol, Paula, Becky, Lynn

All ex-commercial girls are special but these rehoming days always produce some rather wonderful and individual girls.

First there was little Onesey. As we were loading the crates at the farm, one little girl made a bid for freedom. We desperately tried to find her in the pitch black night but after many failed attempts thought she was gone forever. Suddenly as we were closing the van doors, a little face, drawn by the light, appeared. The gods were smiling on us as little Onesey allowed herself to be picked up. She has now gone home with Paula and is enjoying a life of complete luxury, along with two more sisters from the rehoming – Toosey and Freesey.

Little Toosey – already a handful! Apologies for mistaking her for Onesey initially

Then there were the three poorlies who came home with me. Greta Garbo with suspected egg peritonitis, Grace Kelly with her prolapse and little Gina who couldn’t cope with the change and just went into shutdown. On Saturday night I feared we would lose her. She was motionless and cold. We syringed sugar water and egg yolk into her every two hours, kept her snuggled up in a hay lined box, with a hot water bottle underneath her and hoped the angels were on our side and would let this girl enjoy her new life. Despite our administrations there was no change on Sunday but by Monday she had perked up and was eating on her own – discovering a penchant for egg yolk! She spent Monday night in the coop with her two new sisters and whilst still not 100% fit, is definitely on her way to full recovery. Greta seems to be perfectly well and Grace’s prolapse has been successfully treated! Welcome to my little flock ladies!

Georgina in her sick bay

All in all it was an exhausting but exhilarating day; there is so much in this harsh world of ours that we cannot change so this is one tiny, tiny drop in the ocean of compassion.

But it is my way of helping by making just a small difference.

And to tell you the truth I am thrilled!!! It may not be the biggest hen rehoming in the world but it was ours. We did it and we did it well.

Roll on February for our next rehoming!

Jo xx

* OK maybe not the once-tubby Take That singer, but still my Gary Barlow!


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It is not long now until Fresh Start for Hens’ first ever rehoming of ex-commercial hens in Cornwall takes place. I am thrilled that I have been asked to be the Cornwall co-ordinator and as the Big Day approaches I alternate between excitement and worry. I am good at worrying and getting this rehoming right is very important. Those little hens are depending on me.

There is much to organise to ensure the day runs smoothly – from sorting out food and bedding to disinfecting the crates; from organising collection slots for rehomers to baking the all-important cake to keep the team of fabulous volunteers going as they give up their weekend to help me rehome these precious girls.

All commercial hens, be they ‘enriched’ caged, barn or free range are sent to slaughter once they are no longer commercially viable, usually after about 18 months. So whatever system the girls we rehome come from, we are saving lives. Whilst it is all-to-easy to focus on the hens we cannot save, we must remember that every hen rehomed is a life saved. As the quote goes, by saving one animal you will not change the world, but you will change the world for that one animal.

So Saturday 6th October will see a team of volunteers (including the inspirational Taz who co-ordinates Fresh Start for Hens and the amazing Paula who is travelling halfway across the country just to be here) collect our hens from the farm and then, later in the day wave them off to their lovely new homes. It is a real team effort – it is touching how helpful and kind so many people have been. Not least the wonderful rehomers who have found room in their homes and their hearts for some ex-commercial girls.

There is still time to reserve your hens online for the Cornwall rehoming. There is also a Fresh Start for Hens national rehoming on 20th October. Please visit http://www.freshstartforhens.co.uk to reserve your hens.

Brigit enjoying her free range life!!

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