Farm’s bid to save 9,000 laying hens

Re-homing hens SUS-160802-151633001
Re-homing hens SUS-160802-151633001

The Mac’s Organic Egg Farm in Ditchling is working with animal rights organisations on the huge task of finding new homes for 9,000 hens in a bid to save them from slaughter.

Farm owner Susie Macmillan said: “This is a mammoth undertaking and takes months of organising. We’ve only managed it once in seven years, so this time we’re appealing to the public to help us.

“Around half a million people are believed to keep chickens in their back gardens and re-homing a healthy, vaccinated, ex-commercial bird is a cost-effective way of starting or adding to a small flock.”

In the last seven years, Susie and her husband Danny have quietly re-homed more than 55,000 chickens, helped by various organisations and rescue centres including Brighton Animal Action, Fresh Start for Hens, The Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, Compassion In World Farming and the RSPCA.

The 43-year-old added: “We work with vegans, vegetarians and animal rights organisations, and we couldn’t undertake re-homing on such a mammoth scale without them. Many are people who should dislike us, because we’re farmers, but in fact we spend an interesting and harmonious week working together.

“I learn just as much from them as they do from me.”

The Macs, as they’re known, ask for 50p a bird, the same price they’d get if the chicken went for slaughter, although it costs re-homing organisations between £1.50 and £2.50 per bird because of crating and transport costs.

Susie said: “These are laying hens which should give you a little ‘present’ most days. They’re not for eating – the meat is too tough.”

If you live in Sussex and think you can re-home a hen, contact Sue Baumgardt at Brighton Animal Action on shoreham.protester@ntlworldcom.

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