By Rose Barrett
Littlehill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary are making a passionate plea to animal lovers to try a different Christmas gift this year: to adopt and care for chickens/egg laying hens!
“We will be doing chicken runs for three weekends in December,” said Susan Anderson of Littlehill.
“And if we don’t rescue these poor chicks who have lived in caged hen farms, they will all be destroyed. They are about 13 months old or so, are still laying every day but when they reach that age, their production rate drops about 10% so poultry farmers have them put down and a new lot brought in.
“They make great family pets too,” said Susan. “If you log onto our FB page, you will see testament to that, how so many people have initially adopted them, for humane reasons and for the promise of free-range eggs. And then they become real family pets!”
Susan reminds that hens which have lived in caged units and never seen daylight, have sparse feathers and often appear rather ‘blue’.
“That’s the lack of sunlight, they’ll feather out within a few months and make great layers for years to come”.
Pauline McLynn, actress and comedienne renowned for her role as Mrs Doyle in Fr Ted, is patron of the animal charity and has a whole production line of hen jackets and jumpers for the bare hens, along with tea cosies sold to support the rescue centre’s work.
Susan commenced her exhaustive rescue schedule last weekend, with drop offs in Swords, Dunboyne and Drogheda.
“We find it difficult to get into the city centre and busy areas for parking and collection – so we pick spots like Swords, Tallaght, Bray and arrange to meet people there. Dublin people who regularly take hens from us prefer to travel and meet us in Tallaght or even Blessington, or border towns in North Kildare to collect.
“It’s handier and with the restrictions lifted for Christmas shopping, it will be a nightmare in Dublin city.”
See the schedules on Littlehill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary Facebook page and private message Susan, all requests will be replied to within a few days. A rehoming fee applies per hen.
“On Saturday, December 12, we’ll be heading to Bray, Tallaght and Blessington; on Sunday 13, we will dropping in Dundalk, Celbridge and Summerhill. And we have drops again on the 19 and 20, locations to be confirmed.”