ANIMAL lovers are urging people to help save hens destined for slaughter by adopting them and giving them new homes where they can live out their lives.

Emma Docherty’s house in Langley Moor, near Durham, is set to become a rehoming centre for some of the some of the thousands of hens who have passed their use in the commercial egg production sector.

She said: “When the hens get to 72 weeks old the farmers then send them for slaughter because they are not viable for egg production.

“Their carcasses are worth very little and are usually sold for dog food, baby food or cheap, processed pies.

“Fresh Start for Hens has a good relationship with British farmers and buy the hens from the caged, barn and free range systems, just before their slaughter date.

“They are then relocated them throughout the country so they can go to forever home to lived out the rest of their lives.

She added: “My husband Dox and I have kept hens for a couple of years now, and always wanted to rehome some ex-commercial hens, but were worried about the state they may be in and what extra care they would need.

“But, in May this year, we reserved six hens through Fresh Start For Hens and collected them from Leeds.

“We got them home, and let them settle in, they were all quite scared and cautious at first, but one girl, Lola, immediately gave us cause for worry.

“She was very bald, very skinny, very shy and looked in a bad way.

“These hens were from a free range farm and they did have access to the outdoors. But looking at the condition she was in, she was clearly very low in the pecking order, and probably didn’t dare venture outside.

“After a few weeks with plenty of food, water, treats and love, she had transformed.

“She’s now healthy, happy and loving her life. Every day we’ve had her has been a day of freedom that she never knew before.”

Emma added: “We wanted to do more but couldn’t because we don’t have the space to keep more than 20 hens.

“So the next best thing was to set up a collection point of our own.

“We have done training with Fresh Start for Hens and the first time we are going to have a collection point for the region will be on Saturday, September 22. Fresh Start for Hens are going to collect 8,000 hens from a free range farm and distributing them to different collection points in the country.

Anyone wishing to reserve hens should do so before Thursday September 20 by emailing Include the preferred collection point (Durham), with your name, address, telephone numbers, and the number of hens required, along with photos of your coop, run or free range area. A donation of £2.50 is asked for each. Visit Durham Fresh Start for Chickens on Facebook.