Would you like to adopt a new pet, while also having an ethical source of breakfast each morning? Well, here’s an egg-cellent opportunity!
This Sunday, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary will travel to Hollywood, Laragh and Rathnew with rescue hens who are seeking their forever coops. The animal charity is appealing to kind-hearted people throughout the county to offer a loving home to these animals, who have spent the first year of their lives in cages.
The hens were rescued from a caged farm last weekend, as they would otherwise have been sent to the abattoir. Egg-laying hens are routinely slaughtered once they reach about 15 months old, due to a slight drop in productivity at this young age. “This means that they 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 towns and villages across the country, LittleHill’s volunteers brought several thousand of these hens to their new adoptive families last weekend. However, four hundred chickens had no homes to go to, and were taken back to the sanctuary in county Kildare.
“These hens would much prefer to be in smaller flocks now, so we are appealing to people throughout county Wicklow to consider offering a loving home to a few adorable ladies,” said Susan. “They will reward you with companionship, great fun, and of course, delicious cruelty-free eggs.”
Susan told Wicklow News that she has decided to focus exclusively on rehoming hens in Wicklow this weekend, as she always receives a phenomenal response from people in the county. “Wicklow people are just so kind-hearted and generous,” she said.
Indeed, hundreds of compassionate people throughout the county have already made space in their lives for these creatures, with many reporting that hens make surprisingly good pets. “My rescue hens are funny, clever and follow me around like a little dog,” said Bebe Redmond, a hen adopter based in Arklow. “I have two girls – Gladys and Primrose. They are six years old now and still run around like young chickens!”
Bebe also discussed how keeping hens has helped her to reduce her environmental impact. She explained that they eat leftovers and other food waste, enrich the soil, and provide a natural source of fertiliser for gardening. Eggs from your back garden also have a much lower carbon footprint than those from the supermarket, as the emissions associated with factory farming, packaging and transport are avoided.
To adopt your own feathered companions this Sunday November 3rd, Susan is asking people to send a private message to the charity’s Facebook page, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, stating the number of hens they would like to adopt, and the pick-up town: Hollywood, Laragh or Rathnew. Those without a Facebook account can ask a friend or relative to book on their behalf. There is an adoption fee of six euro per hen.
Before the hens arrive, Bebe explains that you need a hen house, kennel or shed that can be locked at night to keep them safe from predators, and a secure outdoor area for them to roam around in during the day. “I bought my coop from Farm Fowl, which is a Wicklow-based company,” she said.
When asked what advice she would give to those considering adopting chickens, she said: “Adopt a hen or three, because you’ll never know the enjoyment until you have hens in your life!”