AN ANIMAL-LOVER is helping ex-commercial hens live out their natural lives in peace and comfort.
Julie Torode from Southam is a volunteer with re-homing organisation ‘Fresh Start for Hens’.
Volunteers purchase the hens from caged, barn and free range systems just before they are due to be slaughtered.
Hens, which naturally live around ten years, would normally be slaughtered at around 18 months, once egg production begins to drop.
But the organisation has already saved some 12,000 hens from a grisly end this year.
The hens are loaded up in a lorry early in the morning once a month and transported to various collection points across the country.
Those who have reserved hens through the programme then travel to their nearest point to take the hens home.
And Julie is among those providing a collection point for owners to pick up their new companions.
She already has some 20 hens of her own and has taken in around 200 during her largest collection to date.
Her passion for chickens grew as she got to know their ways and personalities and keeping them was less about the eggs they sometimes laid.
She added: “They appreciate the freedom they have here and show their thanks. One runs up to me when she sees me to come over for a chat and cuddles.
“Each hen has a personality. They are so entertaining to watch. They have bags of energy.
“They talk to you and they actually purr. There’s one who taps its beak at my front door for food they are absolutely hilarious. It’s very relaxing to sit down and watch them communicating with each other.
“I love seeing people’s faces when they come to collect them, especially children who like to give them names. It’s great to teach them where food comes from.”
Visit www.freshstartforhens.co.uk for more information, to help rehome hens and for upcoming dates.