It’s down to the wire for 100 hens set to be slaughtered on an Auckland farm.
Animal refuge New Beginnings Rescue and Rehoming has until Friday to find “forever” homes in Auckland for the free-range birds which are due to be culled.
At 18-months old, the brown shavers were moulting and having a breather from egg laying, said Dani Prance, who runs New Beginnings Rescue and Rehoming in Taranaki and Auckland’s Rodney District.
“They can still lay eggs but they've reached their use by date for farmers.”
Prance has found homes for about 900 hens from the farm and is desperate to see the rest relocated so “they can live until they’re ancient and die of natural causes.”
“Normally we’d easily find a lot of homes in Auckland but it’s dwindling down,” she said.
Free-range hens face over crammed conditions with limited food and no grass, Prance said.
“You find girls that are definitely at the bottom of the pecking order. They're super skinny and you can see all their bones.”
But they flourished when they got to their new homes, learning quickly how to scratch and forage for food, she said.
“The best feeling is when you pull a hen out of one of those farms and get to put them down on grass and you just watch the amazement in them.”
They made great pets, she said, as they became friendly and ended up following their owners around.
“They’ve just got amazing personalities.”
The adopted hens have been re-homed in a variety of settings ranging from suburban town houses to 20-acre blocks.
“Some people want to fill up community food stalls with eggs, or you get home bakers that do a lot of baking for the community or Meals on Wheels and just want to be a bit more self-sustainable,” Prance said.
Chickens live eight years on average, but hens only productively lay eggs in the first two years of their lives.
Anyone interested in adopting the hens- from collection points in Dairy Flat, Wharehine and Bombay- can email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the rescue’s Facebook page.
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