Rehome Ex Battery Hens

If you’re thinking about rehoming ex battery hens now or any time in the near future, you can now visit a new website called the Hen Rehoming Hub at

It features an easy to use mapping service that helps you to find ex battery hens to rehome, complete with direct access to the rehoming organisation’s own website, contact details and any extra tidbits of information that might be useful to know. The site has just launched, so there are a few bits and pieces that need ironing out – but for all intents and purposes, it works! We should be adding a blog soon that will keep Ex Battery Hen owners and prospective owners up to date with ex battery hen news.

If you’re a member of Facebook, you can also ‘Like’ the Hen Rehoming Hub’s ex battery hens Facebook page at

Although we support hen rehoming organisations in giving these hens a chance at a ‘new life’ that they should have always had have, no ex battery hen rehomer or keeper wants to see farming systems where hens are kept in cages. We rescue and rehome because we think that these hens deserve to be given a second chance at a free range life, rather than ending upside down in shackles in a slaughterhouse, destined as cheap pet food or pie filler.

Me and my ex battery hens c.2006, when they first discovered worms in the soil!

Me and my ex battery hens c.2006, when they first discovered worms in the soil!

Although barren cages are now actively being phased out across the UK, and the very basic welfare conditions of hens in cages had improved a little, we’re still actively trying to support farmers to move to free range systems. Many farmers would like to move to a free range system but need to be supported by us, the consumers, and in turn the supermarkets, who both drive and control demand for products. With hens in cages out of sight, they’re often out of the minds of many consumers. Ex battery hen keeping has greatly contributed to increasing exposure of the plight of the caged hen, as well as giving many pet owners a lot of satisfaction from these incredibly sociable and fun creatures.

Some countries in the EU including Spain, Italy and Poland are dragging their heels with the changeover from barren battery cages to so-called ‘enriched cages’, so it’s really important that as consumers, we support British farmers. So wherever you can, please help to stop an influx of cheap imports by buying from British egg producers, opting for Free Range eggs (and Organic if possible), and take care that you check the ingredients of your food for egg products. The vast majority of egg products in foods such as cakes, pasta, desserts, pies, sauces and such still come from hens in cages, so it’s up to us to make the change and see hens in cages as a thing of the past!

If you’d like to make the difference and decide whether a hen ends her life prematurely in a slaughterhouse, or has an unknown quantity of free range life ahead of her, then head over to ex battery hens’ Hen Rehoming Hub. Many organisations can only take as many hens as they have homes for, so the more homes we can find, the more hens we can save.

I Have Mostly Been Helping Hens this Christmas (by proxy)

It’s Christmas Eve and it’s probably been about six weeks since I last blogged… and so I find myself suddenly wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Again!

I’ve literally been so busy that I haven’t even put the Christmas Tree or any decorations up. It’s Christmas Eve! This is unheard of! I might do it later. I might.

So here I am, sitting here with a stupid dribbling cold, but otherwise still alive and well, and still functioning (remember last year when I caught proper badass ‘flu and couldn’t function for over two weeks independently???). All I can say is that my lack of blogging has arisen due to a number of bona fide reasons. These are namely; Family Stuff (not my story to tell), Health (mine and others), work, and let’s be honest, probably just plain laziness too. I’ve been informally disconnected from my Smallest Smallholding and generally the outside world since late Autumn, not focusing at all on anything remotely vegetable or mineral-related since I sorted out my last veggie harvest. So unless you count feeding the birds who have been arriving in droves to feast Chez Moi, there has not been an awful lot to tell that’s of any real interest to anyone, or that I am able to share on a public platform. Wow, that’s so annoying isn’t it – it’s like saying “there’s actually been some quite major stuff happening, but I won’t tell you!”. Sorry. It’s just… it’s other people’s business too.

All I will say is, it has been a big challenge, there has been a lot of anxiety but I think things will turn out alright. That’s until the Hadron Collider creates a big black hole and sucks us all in it on December 21st of next year when the Mayan calendar stops. Ho, ho, ho. Just kidding!

Illustration Copyright Kat Whelan 2011

But despite what you might be thinking, I have actually been incredibly busy over the past few weeks, and I have most definitely not been wallowing in a bog of my own pity. Good grief, no. In fact, one of the many things I’ve been working on is a little project called the Hen Rehoming Hub. It can be found at and my idea was to create an easy to use tool that maps and details hen rehoming organisations’ locations, and the dates and locations of their upcoming rescues. The website was put together by a friend of mine who is more than a bit nifty with code and computery things, but it’s still in development and we’re still finding organisations to add to the site.

I did contact BHWT (British Hen Welfare Trust) HQ to ask if their nationwide coordinators would like to be involved, but they politely declined on the basis that they “… have a policy of only promoting our re-homing dates through our own channels, where we can ensure the re-homing initiative is part of the complete message we are delivering”. To be honest, I don’t really understand it as I would have thought that there’s no better consumer education than seeing for yourself the state of battery hens when they’re first rehomed – and the more hens that are rehomed the more exposure factoring farming gets – but hey ho. I’m more than happy to help support and create exposure for all the other smaller organisations that work really hard to educate consumers and find homes for these hens, and I still recognise that the BHWT do good work. I’ve done it for no other reason that to make finding ex-battery hens for pet-only homes easy, and helping as many girls evade the slaughterman as possible.

So what’s left to do this year? I can safely say that with my cold, my upcoming birthday and some work to finish in between Christmas and My Birthday (AKA New Year’s Eve), I won’t be doing anything Smallest Smallholding-related. I’ve long since given up beating myself up about it and I’ll tackle it a bit later in the New Year when my impending mad rush of Big Freelance Work Projects and Mum’s big upcoming operation (not my story to tell!!!!!) are over. I’ve come to realise that self-sufficiency is as much about making a living that allows you to live independently, as it is about being frugal and doing things yourself with the limited impact you desire. Within the next couple of weeks I also have my tax return to do, one of the worst aspects of being self-employed when you can’t really afford an accountant. I just need to focus on debt reduction in the first bit of 2012. Not easy when our car is threatening to stop working, the cats need their teeth doing and for the first time in ten years (I’m not lying!) we were considering going away on a proper holiday to celebrate my 30th birthday… but we’ll worry about that after I’ve turned 29!

So although there’s not been many Smallest Smallholding tales to tell, I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, and here’s to a happy and peaceful 2012 – let’s make it the Year of the Chicken!

Ex-Battery Hen Rescue & Rehome December 3rd, 2011

My ex-battery hen Cynthia - a few months after being freed from her cage, and a year later

My ex-battery hen Cynthia - a few months after being freed from her cage, and a year later

One Little Egg/BHWT are organising an ex battery hen rescue in the Wigan area for December 3rd 2011.

Sophie, who is organising the rescue writes,

“… my next battery hen rehoming day is December 3rd – 300 hens. The clock is now ticking very loudly for all the 14 million battery hens out there because, due to the ban, they will not live beyond December 31st. I seriously need your help finding homes for these 300 hens. If you are in the North West and can give a home to a couple of battery hens (and you literally will be saving their lives) please phone BHWT on 01769 580310 or email to book some very grateful last-chance girls…”

So there you have it! If you live in the North West of England and have been thinking of rehoming some battery hens (NOT for commercial purposes and most definitely not for the pot!), then why not contact BHWT and offer these girls a new chance at a proper life?

Likewise if you’re closer to the East of England, Little Hen Rescue are also looking for homes for 3000 hens and are keen to have as many pre-booked to go home as soon as possible. You can find out more here.