British Hen Welfare Trust announces ‘cluck-and-collect’ rehoming date at Raystede in Sussex

The British Hen Welfare Trust is to host a rescue hen rehoming day at Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, near Lewes in East Sussex, on Saturday April 8.

The rescued hens would otherwise go to slaughter aged just 18 months, while still laying, but deemed no longer commercially viable. They are sourced from farms with caged, bar or free-range egg production.

The COVID-19 lockdown saw a surge in the numbers of Brits keeping chickens. The pandemic made people reflect on what is truly important; slowing down and returning to a more grounded, healthier lifestyle. Hen-keeping has once again been embraced by the nation – not just for the delicious fresh eggs – but also to promote a sense of wellbeing, relieving daily stresses and providing hours of endless entertainment.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thanks to the Trust. and its nationwide network of volunteers, around 60,000 commercial hens enjoy a free-range retirement each year, with 12,000 people discovering the pleasure of hen keeping every year.

A commercial hybrid, the birds are bred for their docility. They are gentle, inquisitive and friendly. They will eat out of your hand, sit in your lap and follow you round the garden and even into your house, if you let them.

Adopters insist hens make much better pets than rabbits and guinea pigs – and regularly post photos of them on social interacting well with their other pets – including cats, dogs, sheep and llamas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown created a huge surge in demand for ex-commercial laying hens, and the BHWT rose to the task, responding safely, compassionately, and efficiently,” said Jane Howorth, Founder, British Hen Welfare Trust, adding, “We implemented a COVID-19 safe ‘cluck-and-collect’ rehoming process which ensured the safety of our volunteers, our staff and our rehomers, whilst allowing us to save hens and place them into hen-friendly homes. Our nationwide network of pop-up rehoming locations is now open and our hundreds-strong volunteer team is fully engaged, rehoming thousands of hens each rehoming weekend.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To adopt rescue hens, rehomers need to complete online registration via This includes sending photographic evidence of their suitable free-range, fox proof accommodation and shelter for the hens. Adopters are required to keep a minimum of three hens, as they are social animals and are happiest as part of a small flock. A suggested donation of £5 contributes to the Trusts overheads and educational programmes.

The British Hen Welfare Trust [BHWT] has been saving and rehoming commercial laying hens throughout the United Kingdom since 2005. Working closely with leaders in the egg industry, the BHWT designed and developed the existing rehoming model, and has rehomed over 800,000 hens to date.

The Trust runs an education programme providing curriculum-supporting resources to school to help pupils explore food, farming and animal welfare.

The BHWT provides online information and expert guidance for pet hen keepers and has a hen helpline for advice on caring for poorly birds.