Staff at the RSPCA Patcham kennels are preparing to rescue 9,000 chickens which are due to be sent to a slaughterhouse.
The free range egg-laying hens are no longer wanted because of supermarket rules. But they could remain productive for a good few years yet.
Jenny Wells, the manager of the Patcham kennels, said: “Supermarkets don’t want eggs from chickens that are over 18 months old. Apparently the shells get thinner.
“But they can lay until they’re about four or five years old.
“Hens are becoming quite popular. We’re being encouraged to save water and grow our own veg and more people are keeping hens in their back gardens.”
The hobby of keeping egg-laying hens was a bit of an upside to the downturn.
She said that the animal charity would be working with other organisations to rescue the hens, adding: “We’re not just heading up there in a few cars.”
She said that the rescue was due to take place on Friday 25 May and that she hoped people would reserve as many of the hens as possible in advance and collect them over the weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 27 May.
The charity tried to work with commercial operators three or four times a year to carry out this sort of operation.
She said: “Obviously we want to rescue as many as possible and we would ask people for a donation to help with our costs.”
Anyone wanting to reserve some hens should call 01273 554218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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