Meet Petunia, a rescued hen enjoying new found freedom!
Here's an egg-citing opportunity for you to help birds in need, while also having an ethical source of breakfast? This Sunday November 10, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary will travel to Clane and Maynooth with rescued egg-laying chickens who are searching for their forever families.
The Kildare-based charity is calling on compassionate people throughout the county to consider offering a happy home to these creatures, who have spent the first year of their lives in factory farm cages.
During the second half of October, LittleHill’s volunteers rescued thousands of hens from their cages, as the farmer intended to send his flock to the abattoir. Within the egg industry, culling of 15-month-old chickens is standard practice, due to a slight drop in productivity at this young age. “This slight decrease means that the hens might lay five or six eggs per week, rather than seven,” said Susan Anderson, founder of LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. “This wouldn’t make any difference to you or me, but to a business, this could mean the difference between profit and loss.”
Flocking to every corner of Ireland, the charity’s volunteers brought thousands of hens to their new adoptive families last month. However, a few hundred chickens had no homes to go to, and were taken back to the sanctuary, which is based near Kilcullen and Ballymore Eustace.
“These hens would much prefer to be in smaller flocks now, so we are appealing to people in Kildare and the surrounding counties to consider offering a loving home to a few adorable ladies,” Susan said. “They will reward you with companionship, great fun, and of course, delicious cruelty-free eggs.”
Susan and the sanctuary's patron, Pauline McLynn have spoken on several national media over recent weeks, appealing for homes for the hens, who would otherwise be slaughtered.
Many adopters report that their new pets become much-loved members of the family.
“We always wanted to get chickens, and I thought it would be a lovely idea to give some rescued hens a chance at a new, happier way of life,” said Samantha Kenny, a hen keeper who lives near Clane. She said it was so rewarding see her rescued hens transform from frightened, shy, scrawny birds, into fluffy, confident divas with distinct personalities.
“Now they strut around the place and love hanging out around the yard with us.”
Samantha further noted how hen-keeping is good for the environment! “My hens love scraps from our table and will eat other food waste” she said. "Eggs from your back garden also have a much lower carbon footprint than those purchased at the supermarket, as the emissions associated with indoor farming, transport and packaging are avoided".
To adopt your own feathered companions this Sunday November 10, the charity asks people to send a private message to their Facebook page, “LittleHill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary”, stating the number of hens they would like to adopt, and the collection town: Clane or Maynooth. Those without a Facebook page can book through a friend or relative’s account. There is a small adoption €6 per hen.