Over the last week Vonnie had been involved with a battery hen ‘rescue’ that involved getting 1500 battery hens from a farm in the south of England and distributing them all over the country. We were supposed to be getting 170 of the hens yesterday morning for distribution around Scotland but due to a variety of reasons the Scottish leg of the rescue was called off at the last minute. Hopefully the next rescue will get some birds up our waybut it got me thinking.
In England from what I’ve read the Battery Hen Welfare Trust buys hens from the farmers for around 35-40p per hen usually and passes them on to chicken keepers all over for the cost of £1 per chicken which goes towards care, food and petrol costs. They seem to have no problems finding homes for all these chickens as at very short notice they rehome thousands of birds with great success. In Scotland though there is a waiting list of 1500 people waiting to help out. Farmers just don’t want to sell their chickens to them. Then the Lanark auction came up last week and a good 30-40% of the poultry there were ex-battery hens. I’m caught in two minds about this. Yes it means they get a new home but with auction prices rising it also means the farmers are doing it for a quick buck. I know they have to find cash where ever they can these days but it’s the sudden increase in back garden chicken keeping they are taking advantage of. On one hand they are still selling them on to be looked after but they are doing so at much higher prices than before.