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Norfolk volunteer’s mission to help rehome ex-commerical hens through the charity Fresh Start for Hens

Vicky Sewell with some of the hens she has helped rehome. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Vicky Sewell with some of the hens she has helped rehome. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

An animal lover has helped to find new homes for more than 1,000 ex-commercial hens.

Rehomer Sally Prentis (right) from Diss, collects her hen from Vicky Sewell's recent rehoming event. Picture: Vicky SewellRehomer Sally Prentis (right) from Diss, collects her hen from Vicky Sewell's recent rehoming event. Picture: Vicky Sewell

Vicky Sewell, 52, volunteers for the charity Fresh Start for Hens which works with farmers to purchase egg-laying hens who have reached the end of their production use and are set to be slaughtered.

Mrs Sewell, who lives in Woodrising, near Watton, is the only Norfolk collection point for the charity and said she loves seeing people coming to pick up the hens to take home as pets.

“It is so nice because everybody is happy,” she said. “There are smiles on people’s faces when they take the hen away. I love it.”

The volunteer recently held her first rehoming day of this year after restrictions were put in place due to the bird flu outbreak in South Norfolk.

Some of the 110 ex-commercial hens waiting to be collected by their new owners who will keep them as pets. Picture: Vicky SewellSome of the 110 ex-commercial hens waiting to be collected by their new owners who will keep them as pets. Picture: Vicky Sewell

A family event, her daughter, sister, partner and father helped as 17 families from as far as King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth came to collect the 110 hens.

Mrs Sewell, who works for an events management company, is holding two further collection days on July 15 and 22.

The charity is looking to rehome 5,000 hens and Mrs Sewell has said her target is to try and find new homes for 400 of them.

She said: “They make such nice pets. They are very clam and they are great for children to look after.

Vicky Sewell's daughter Amy with one of the hens waiting to be collected by her new owner. Picture: Vicky SewellVicky Sewell's daughter Amy with one of the hens waiting to be collected by her new owner. Picture: Vicky Sewell

“They are gentle and friendly and they are inquisitive and quirky. They have great personalities.

“They are also quite an easy pet, they just need a safe coup and some ground to scratch around on.”

Commercially, all laying hens are slaughtered at the age of 72 weeks because their production drops.

The charity buys the hens from farmers and asks for a £2.50 donation from the person who rehomes a hen.

A volunteer for two years Mrs Sewell said she decided to help the charity because she has an “immense love for chickens”.

“You are never going to stop all of it but if we can just save a small percentage then why not because they make such nice pets.” she said. “We try and save as many as we can and offer them a forever home.”

For more information about the charity and how to reserve a hen click here or search Fresh Start For Hens on Facebook.

To contact Mrs Sewell visit Watton Norfolk Fresh Start For Hens on Facebook or call her on 07914847460.

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