Necky a rescued hen Photo Niamh Cubie
Kildare-based charity, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, appeal for families to take on feathered pets, that is, hens!
The rescue charity have been hosting runs over the last few weekends with another mega run over the bank holiday weekend.
LittleHill’s volunteers will bring rescued chickens to over 100 towns and villages, reaching every county in Ireland, in what will be their most ambitious re-homing effort to date. The rescue run continues over bank holiday Monday, 28 October.
So, where do these hens come from, and why do they need to be rescued?
Commercial egg-laying hens are routinely culled at just over one-year-old, when their egg production wanes slightly. “This might mean that they lay five or six eggs per week, rather than seven,” said Susan Anderson, founder of LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. “To you or I, this wouldn’t make any difference, but to a commercial farm, this could be the difference between making profit or making a loss.”
The charity saves hens from several egg farms in Ireland, so that the birds can experience long and happy lives, outside the cage. “The majority of our hens have a few more years in them after we rescue them,” Susan said, “they continue laying, and they make the best little companions.”
Indeed, hen adopters often report that their new pets become cherished family members. “They follow me everywhere,” said Delia Leonard, based near Straffan, Co Kildare. “When I drive in after being out, they come flying for the car to welcome me home!”
Hen rescuers report that rescued chickens make great pets and good layers
Samantha Kenny, a hen keeper near Clane, described how her rescued hens transformed from frightened, shy, scrawny birds, into fluffy, confident divas with distinct personalities. “They went from shy and scared of the outdoors to being confident and outgoing,” she exclaimed. “Now they strut around the place and love hanging out around the yard with us. They are really comfortable with the dogs and cats and they even chase the horses!”
To acquire feathered friends of your very own, consult the pinned post at the top of the charity’s Facebook page, LittleHill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, where all of the drop-off locations are listed, including Naas, Kildare, Leixlip, Newbridge, Monasterevin and Kilcullen. You can then send a private message to the page, stating the pick-up location, date and the number of hens you wish to adopt. Those without a Facebook account can ask a relative or friend to make the booking on their behalf.
To prepare for your new arrivals, Samantha recommends first buying a chicken coop, which can be purchased online from many merchants throughout the country, or a shed that can be locked to keep the hens safe from night-time predators.
“Hens are so easy to care for,” she concludes. “They love scraps from our table, they produce the most delicious eggs and give lovely cuddles!”
Please note, there is a charge per hen of €6; LittleHills do not give or encourage hens or animals for free. The full list of countrywide drops are on LittheHills Facebook page. PM the town or village and the number of hens you require. Cages or cartons with air vents must be supplied for hens being collected.
Some of the nearer venues include: Saturday 12, Naas, Carlow, Gorey and Enniscorthy; Sunday 13, Blesington, Baltinglass and Bunclody; Saturday 19, Naas; Sunday 20, Blessington and Tallaght; Saturday 26, Kildare town and Carlow; Sunday 27, Athy and Newbridge; Bank holiday Monday, Naas, Kilcullen and Monasterevin. Full nationwide listing on the FB page.