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Hundreds of hens rehomed in charity event

PUBLISHED: 16:26 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:26 10 March 2018

Fresh Start For Hens organiser Vicky Sewell and Princess the hen who was rehomed at the event on Saturday. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Fresh Start For Hens organiser Vicky Sewell and Princess the hen who was rehomed at the event on Saturday. Photo: Harriet Orrell

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A woman was up before the sun to pick up almost 500 chickens and drive them more than a hundred miles to start a new life in Norfolk.

The Fresh Start For Hens Watton volunteer crew, from left, Dave Girling, Maggie Girling, Vicky Sewell, Jim Woodcock, Donna Girling, Rachel Littlewood, Rose Tremain, Jo Wicker and Mark Girling. Photo: Harriet OrrellThe Fresh Start For Hens Watton volunteer crew, from left, Dave Girling, Maggie Girling, Vicky Sewell, Jim Woodcock, Donna Girling, Rachel Littlewood, Rose Tremain, Jo Wicker and Mark Girling. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Vicky Sewell, 53, enlisted her friends and family to take part in the her first Fresh Start For Hens charity event of the year which saw the birds being rehomed from her garden.

The birds are routinely collected from farms by volunteers like Mrs Sewell once they reach the end of their “working life” to save them from the slaughter and help them find a new home.

Chickens live for around six years and farmers sell them into the food chain after 18 months.

She said: “We pay the farners for the hens so they don’t lose out and then we hold a rehoming event where we ask for a £2.50 donation to cover our costs.

The chickens rehomed by Fresh Start For Hens previously worked on farms laying eggs. These eggs were laid throughout the event on Saturday. Photo: Harriet OrrellThe chickens rehomed by Fresh Start For Hens previously worked on farms laying eggs. These eggs were laid throughout the event on Saturday. Photo: Harriet Orrell

“Everything we raise goes back into Fresh Start For hens and we are all volunteers.

“Everyone here are my family and friends and this is a real family concern.”

Mrs Sewell, who works as a business development manager by day, has been running hen rehoming events from her house in Woodrising, near Watton, since 2015 and has eight chickens herself.

“I just really love hens,” she said. “A few years ago I saw an event in Beccles and they said they were desperate for someone to run one in Norfolk so of course I volunteered.”

Fresh Start For Hens is a charity organisation that helps rehome chickens which have reached the end of their 'working lives' on farms, saving them from being sent to slaughter. Photo: Harriet OrrellFresh Start For Hens is a charity organisation that helps rehome chickens which have reached the end of their 'working lives' on farms, saving them from being sent to slaughter. Photo: Harriet Orrell

At this month’s rehoming Mrs Sewell rehomed 340 hens and dropped 140 off to a lady in Acle who is running a similar event.

When they pick up “the girls” from a farm, no bird is left behind and they take in hens who are not in peak health and nurse them back to health before rehoming them.

This weekend every hen was rehomed with several people asking for more than they had initially signed up for and Mrs Sewell estimates she has rehomes 1,500 to 1,600 hens a year.

The next rehoming event will be in May and for more information join the Watton Norfolk Fresh Start For Hens Facebook page for updates.

Almost 500 hens were collected from a farm in East Sussex and driven back to Norfolk to be rehomed. Photo: Harriet OrrellAlmost 500 hens were collected from a farm in East Sussex and driven back to Norfolk to be rehomed. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Vicky Sewell rehomes around 1,500 chickens every year at her Fresh Start For Hens events. Pictured is Princess, named for the crown-shaped comb on her head. Photo: Harriet OrrellVicky Sewell rehomes around 1,500 chickens every year at her Fresh Start For Hens events. Pictured is Princess, named for the crown-shaped comb on her head. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Some of the hens escaped their enclosure during the event but all were rounded up and sent to their forever homes. Photo: Harriet OrrellSome of the hens escaped their enclosure during the event but all were rounded up and sent to their forever homes. Photo: Harriet Orrell

Vicky Sewell likes to offer something more alongside the chickens at her Fresh Start For Hens rehoming days. Photo: Harriet OrrellVicky Sewell likes to offer something more alongside the chickens at her Fresh Start For Hens rehoming days. Photo: Harriet Orrell

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