Eccles Sixth Form College, home to its very own indoor and outdoor animal centre, has rehomed 17 rescued battery hens, with a little help from departmental staff and students.
College departments, including sport, health and social care, travel and tourism and uniformed public services, have all adopted hens which were previously working hens, caged and used to mass produce eggs.
The hens were originally saved by Lucky Hens Rescue in Wigan; a small, non-profit community interest company who save former battery hens from being slaughtered after they’ve been retired.
Once ‘spent’ or too old to continue producing a substantial numbers of eggs, commercial caged hens are often sent for slaughter as they are presumed to be no use to production companies any more. But, ‘Lucky Hens’ strive to save and rehome as many of the animals as they can.
The animal department at Eccles arranged the adoption and rallied staff and students from across the college to encourage them to adopt and contribute the small £4 fee to the charity for a hen.
The 17 rescued warren chickens will now enjoy the luxury of living in a large barn with plenty of open grassland after years of being subjected to life in a cage. They join seven vorwerk chickens, a polish chicken and two turkeys in the newly refurbished pen.
Chris Pye, Animal Centre Coordinator said: “They have all settled in so well, it took them some time to venture outside but we have to remember they have never seen anything like this before. It was also so nice of all of the departments to come together to help these animals, and this worthy cause. I feel immensely proud of us all.”
And that’s not all the college has done for the chickens. With the recent cold snap, and the fact some of the hens don’t have many feathers due to their former, limiting lifestyle, the chickens have suffered in the low temperatures. With that in mind, health and social care students knitted jumpers for those who needed a little help keeping warm.
Chris continued: “We don’t keep their jumpers on all the time as it would restrict feather growth but it is nice to have something to help keep them warm. In a month or two their feathers will grow back though and they will look as good as new.”