This Blackpool woman rescues thousands of hens from Lancashire farms, now she needs help re-homing them
A woman from Blackpool who rescues thousands of hens needs help to re-home them.
Shelly Jagger, a social entrepreneur from Anchorsholme, founded "Give a Hen a Home" in February 2018.
"This month we have 2,800 chickens to re-home, and it has to be done by August 31, or they will not come to a good end," said the 34 year old.
She began rescuing chickens after learning that poultry farms regularly culled their hens at just 18 months old.
"Every single hen is culled. It was a massive shock to me," Shelly said, "older hens can sometimes lay different sized eggs, but farmers need them to be uniform for their business".
She contacted one local farm in Wyre, and asked them to see if she could re-home their hens.
"They were really happy to find an alternative way; they didn't enjoy culling them," she said.
"I found someone who had done this kind of rescue before, and we worked together to re-home them all".
Conditions for the hens on large farms can be poor, and many suffer from feather loss or respiratory issues.
Shelly believes re-homing them can massively improve their quality of life.
"And once I had started I knew I couldn't stop, I had to carry on! So I started Give a Hen a Home as a community interest company," she said.
Shelly has helped to rescue and then re-home more than 6,000 hens since February 2018, but sees a steep climb in demand.
"It used to be that I was working to re-home chickens every three months, but now it is more like every month.
"We are holding two re-homing days near Lancaster University: Saturday, August 24, and Saturday, August 31".
Chickens are flock animals, so Give a Hen a Home ask people to adopt a minimum of three.
Each re-homed hen costs £2, as Shelly's company supports local farmers by paying them for each rescued bird.
"It is a really broad group of people who we see at our re-homing days," said Shelly, "sometimes I am blown away by who comes.
"Families with children, smallholders, allotment keepers, small farms, stables - we have even re-homed to residential schools.
Anyone interested in re-homing hens can contact the Give a Hen a Home Facebook page.
"I do speak to each person, and then I send them a link to an online form. Once they have filled it out I get back to them with the address of the re-homing event.
"The reason I do it that way is that demand can be so high that I don't want people to make the journey on the day and be disappointed," Shelly said.
She thinks looking after hens is pretty simple.
"As long as you have a bit of an area to keep them, and a coop to keep them safe from predators, they're fine.
"A nice patch of grass is great too - they love to help with the gardening!"