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Royal Approval for British Hen Welfare Trust Rescue Hens

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The 600,000th hen, who is yet to be named.

Six ex-battery hens have gone one better than most after landing themselves a slice of royal life in Kensington Gardens this week! Re-homed by the British Hen Welfare Trust, this rags-to-riches tale includes one even more significant bird – she happens to be the 600,000th hen saved from slaughter by the charity, and she has gone from a colony cage to setting up residence with the team that runs the Kensington Gardens’ allotment, together with five of her equally fortunate friends. It’s the first time in the charity’s 12-year history that its hens have forged a link with royalty, but the fairy tale destination seems just right for such a significant hen. She was re-homed along with 5,000 other hens who all found new homes on the same day, and bets are on as to what she will be called, with Lady Cluck and Her Royal Hen-ness apparently being popular predictions.

All six of the hens re-homed at Kensington Gardens will live on its allotment, which is open every day from 9am to 4pm for the public to visit. Visitors can pick up lots of tips about growing fruit and veg, and can now also make friends with the allotment’s newest ‘royal’ residents. Andrew Williams, Park Manager at Kensington Gardens, said: “We’re looking forward to giving these six hens the home that they haven’t had so far. They’ll join our small but perfectly-formed existing coop of hens, along with Bertie the rooster, to enjoy a nice life here at Kensington Gardens. We’ll give them names, and their photos will go on the wall, enriching the lives of families who walk through the park and come to visit them. The hens will have lots of space to run around in fox-proofed grounds during the day, and we’ll put them away every night,” adding: “And their eggs will be shared with the staff and volunteers who dedicate their time to managing the allotment.”

Volunteers Fiona Bentley and Tiggy Fuller together with Richard Griggs from the Royal Parks team and his son, who came to collect the six hens, plus Surrey co-ordinator Brenda Hart.

Kensington Gardens was once a part of Hyde Park and forms part of the Kensington Palace grounds. The palace is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who recently revealed that they keep five chickens of their own at their Norfolk home. British Hen Welfare Trust founder, Jane Howorth MBE, said: “I could never have dreamed when I founded this charity that one day our hens would be re-homed within royal grounds! It just goes to show the widespread appeal that keeping ex-bats has. I would encourage anyone thinking about it to give us a call and save some lives. Hens do change lives – and for the better! The six hens who have ended up in Kensington Gardens don’t know quite how lucky they are. By now they’ll be growing their feathers back and bathing in the autumn sunshine. Hen heaven.”

To re-home some ex-bats of your own simply visit www.bhwt.org.uk to register your details and then call 01884 860084.

Further Info about the British Hen Welfare Trust:

  • The charity was established in 2005 by Jane Howorth, and is Britain’s first registered charity for re-homing laying hens.
  • Jane Howorth was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.
  • In the UK there are approximately 16 million hens kept in colony cages. The charity has so far found retirement homes for over 600,000 caged hens, all of which were destined for slaughter.
  • The charity has collection points across the UK and is helped by 450+ volunteers.
  • The charity also educates consumers about caged eggs hidden in processed foods, like pasta, quiches, cakes and mayonnaise so they can make an informed choice when shopping.

About the Author:

Paul Melnyczuk is editor of Home Farmer, and together with Ruth Tott is the founder of the company. His Ukrainian father and Austrian mother came over in the 1950s, and he was raised near Accrington (of Stanley fame) in Lancashire. With a degree in European Literature and a year spent living in Sweden, and a further 2 years in the Sudan, his background is rich and varied.

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