Thousands of 'frail' chickens have been rescued from a farm in Chesterfield.
Janet Jago-Lee from Huthwaite, rescued 20 caged hens from a farm in Chesterfield on Saturday March 2.
Phoenix Hen Rescue UK arranged the rescue of 1,117 hens, which would have otherwise been slaughtered due to the farmers retiring.
It is unknown which farm the chickens were rescued from, as Phoenix Hen Rescue UK take the hens to their rescue centre, where members of the public can come and pick them up.
Janet, aged 54, said: "I have kept chickens all my life, and I rescue them from farms.
"What upsets me is the state of the hens - this farm was one of the better ones that gave the hens more room than they legally had to, but they were still in a sorry state.
"The hens aren't very well, their combs are right over their heads.
"It was heartbreaking to see them.
"It’s hard to say whether they’ll fully recover.
"I would say though that they will have every chance with the right care. These have come from one of the better farms.
"When you see a tray of eggs in the supermarket for £1.50, you can imagine the conditions the hens are kept in.
"I would urge people to buy free-range eggs, which is still not great for the hens, but it is better.
Janet re-homed five of the hens, and asked for a donation for Phoenix Hen Rescue UK.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Around 50 per cent of egg laying hens in the UK are still kept in battery cages. This is a major concern as cages - mainly made of wire mesh - don’t allow hens enough space or the ability to scratch freely and perch comfortably. Restricting hens' behaviour can lead to frustration and suffering.
“We encourage shoppers buying eggs to look out for the RSPCA Assured label. This means the hens will not have been kept in cages.
“Hens are either kept in barns with plenty of space, perches and nest boxes or in free-range systems where hens also have access to an outside range.
Caring for chickens
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “Chickens can be so rewarding to keep - with the right care and knowledge, they can make great pets and are absolutely fascinating to watch and care for. They can have their own individual personalities and can be friendly and quite tame, so it’s really worth putting in time and patience to get more out of them and really enjoy them.
“Before getting any chickens it’s important you consider if you have the time, resources, commitment, knowledge and facilities to care for them.
“Anyone keeping 50 or more birds is required by Defra to register with the Great Britain Poultry Register, in order to help the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency get in touch in the event of any disease outbreaks. We highly recommend that anyone with any number of birds, even one or two, registers in order to receive any disease alerts and guidance.”
To find hens looking for a new home visit our website where you can also find helpful more information about keeping them happy and healthy
Phoenix Hen Rescue UK
The charity has arranged another hen rescue on March 30, from an as-yet unknown Chesterfield collection point.
To find out more, or to get involved, visit the charity's Facebook page HERE