Would you like to have a few feathered friends, who can make you a healthy, delicious breakfast each morning? Well, here’s an eggs-citing opportunity!
Due to popular demand, LittleHill Animal Rescue will return to county Clare this month with rescued hens for adoption. The Kildare-based charity is calling on compassionate people throughout the county to consider offering a home to a few feathered ladies, to save them from the slaughterhouse.
“We had a phenomenal response in Clare during October’s hen rescue operation,” said Susan Anderson, founder of LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, “so we have decided to return to the county during our next rescue effort, and will travel to Ennis, Shannon, Corofin and Lahinch on the 17th of November.”
So, what are these hens being rescued from? Commercial egg-laying chickens are routinely slaughtered at about 15 months of age, when their productivity drops slightly. “They take a little break from laying at around this age,” Susan said. “When they start again, their productivity is reduced by about 10%. This small reduction in eggs wouldn’t make any difference to you or me, but to a farmer on tight margins, this could be the difference between profit and loss.”
Collaborating with several egg farms in Ireland, LittleHill rescues as many hens as possible from this untimely demise, so that they can experience long and happy lives, free from the stressful conditions of intensive farming. “The majority of these hens will live for a few more years,” Susan stated, “and they make the best little companions.”
Already, hundreds of compassionate people throughout county Clare have made space in their lives for these creatures, with many reporting the surprising benefits of keeping rescue hens.
“I love being able to give these girls a happy life, it brings me so much joy,” said Marie McCarthy, who keeps five hens in her back garden in Ennis. “They are such intelligent, funny and charismatic animals – I could stare out the window at them all day long.”
Marie discussed how rewarding it was to watch her new hens transform from timid, pale and scruffy creatures into beautiful, strong and confident characters. “The poor little critters were in an awful state when they first arrived: terrified and missing feathers,” she said. “However, within a few weeks of enjoying their new-found freedom, they started to transform into the most glamorous girls, with hilarious and distinct personalities!”
Now, Marie and her husband consider the hens to be an integral part of their family, and even let them into the house sometimes to watch TV. “The kids love bringing them inside to give them treats, and let them sit on their laps while they’re watching cartoons,” she said. “But there are little accidents sometimes, so I need to design a comfortable chicken nappy!”
To acquire feathered ladies for your own back garden, prospective adopters are asked to send a private message to the charity’s Facebook page, LittleHill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, stating the number of hens they would like to adopt and the collection town for the 17th of November: Ennis, Shannon, Lahinch or Corofin. Those without a Facebook account can ask a relative or friend to make the booking on their behalf. A small adoption fee of six euro per hen applies.
So, how can you prepare for your new arrivals? Marie explains that you need a chicken coop, kennel or shed that can be locked at night to keep the hens safe from predators, and a secure outdoor area that they can enjoy during the day.
“They’re so easy to keep, and they actually save us money because they lay so many eggs,” she concludes. “We absolutely adore our feathered ladies, and wouldn’t be without them!”