WISBECH: We're taking ex-battery chickens under our wing
FOR many battery hens a short productive laying life ends with a trip to the slaughter house.A gruelling seven-day job producing cut-price eggs leaves many never seeing the sky or breathing the air outside.Now hundreds of haggard hens across the region
FOR many battery hens a short productive laying life ends with a trip to the slaughter house.
A gruelling seven-day job producing cut-price eggs leaves many never seeing the sky or breathing the air outside.
Now hundreds of haggard hens across the region face a relaxed free-range retirement after a Battery Hen Welfare Trust centre opened at Parson Drove near Wisbech.
Volunteers Peter Boreham and Lisa Wood are the latest to join the band of people across the country saving hens from the slaughterhouse and they are the only branch of the welfare trust covering Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and parts of Suffolk and Lincolnshire.
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ITV Anglia News anchor Becky Jago adopted 20 birds rescued by Mr Boreham.
She said: "It was my husband who was saying he wanted to keep hens and someone pointed out to me that we could get battery hens.
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"I just wanted to save them. I wanted to get as many as I could."
"I was quite surprised that when I first saw them they looked like they had most of their feathers. I though they might look very very hen pecked and miserable.
"It was only when I got them back and they started to spread their wings that most of them did not have feathers under their wings.
Mr Boreham visited a farm in Norfolk on Saturday to collect hens, who would otherwise have been destined for the slaughter house.
Most battery hens have an 18-month lifespan as they are killed when their average number of eggs each week starts to decrease.
He said: "It can be upsetting when you go into the cage and see the injured birds. It's not pleasant. But it makes you feel so good when you take them out of where they were.
"It's a great way to give them new life. They have never seen the sky or the air. Quite often they do not know what to do when you first let them out.
He said they did not blame the farmers who were catering for the demand for cheaper eggs and competition from other countries who produce the eggs.
Most of the farmers are happy the battery hens are being given a better life.
The Battery Hen Welfare Trust has been running since 1995 and its patrons including Jamie Oliver, Amanda Holden and Antony Worrall-Thompson.