Could you give a loving home to a hen like Poppet?
- Credit: Sue McNeil
Poppet the house hen rushes to greet her owner and makes a few appreciative clucking sounds when she bags a spot on her favourite chair.
She would probably purr if she could and like most pets is a much-loved member of the family.
Along with thousands of others she was destined to make dog food after her egg-laying career was finished.
But she was saved by smallholder Sue McNeil, who has now made it her mission to rescue thousands more and find them good homes.
Mrs McNeil dotes on all her animals - including her 40-odd hens - but has a special affection for Poppet who needed extra care indoors when she arrived.
“She just makes me smile,” she said,
Now the 54-year-old has become involved with Fresh Start for Hens which re-homes thousands of birds and has set up a collection point at her home in Limpenhoe near Acle to be held on May 12.
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She said hens were sent to slaughter after 72 weeks but volunteers were routinely buying them from farms and finding them new homes.
“I helped a lady in Watton who re-homed about 200 hens.
“It was so lovely to see them go off to new homes and I thought it was something I could do.”
MORE: Hundreds of hens rehomed in charity eventMrs McNeil is taking orders for hens and is trying to increase the numbers being re-homed in East Anglia.
She said her hens came from a lovely free-range farm in Surrey where the owner was only too pleased to see his flock carry on leading happy lives in Norfolk.
“They make really good pets,” she said.
“They are inquisitive, friendly and great for children who can learn about where eggs come from. They give people a lot of satisfaction, are cheap to keep and not noisy. The only noise they make is if they lay an egg.”
To reserve a chicken people need to click on the website and send a picture of the enclosure where the hens are going to live.A donation of £2.50 per bird to cover transport and bills is suggested.
They generally live for three to five years and carry on laying.