Hens that are approaching retirement are looking for their forever homes. 

Charity Fresh Start for Hens is looking for Andover residents who might be willing to rehome a hen.

On their website, they state: "We are a not for profit organisation, run entirely by volunteers who are dedicated to rehoming hens from the commercial egg production sector.

"Our aim is to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the plight of the commercial hen, and demonstrate that there are alternatives to early slaughter.

"Our committment is to rehome as many hens as we can into suitable homes, where they can live out the rest of their natural lives.

Basingstoke Gazette: Hens need a home. (Facebook/ Fresh Start for Hens) Hens need a home. (Facebook/ Fresh Start for Hens)

They continue: "Our goal is to educate the public about the ethical benefits of buying free range eggs, whilst supporting the work of British farmers."

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

Their carcasses are worth very little and are usually sold for dog food, baby food or cheap, processed pies, the website states. 

The statement continutes: "We work closely with British farmers and purchase the hens from the caged, barn and free range systems, just before their slaughter date.

"While these hens are often referred to as ex battery hens, the old style battery cages are no longer in use, with a new style, enriched colony cage being used instead."

Who can rehome a hen?

Fresh Start for Hens says almost anyone is able to apply to take in a hen. 

A spokesman said: "We rehome hens to a diverse range of individuals wanting hens as pets or companion animals.

"Hens have begun their new lives in town, city and country gardens, allotments, schools and residential care homes.

Basingstoke Gazette: Fresh Start for Hens says almost anyone can help rehome a hen (Facebook/ Fresh Start for Hens)Fresh Start for Hens says almost anyone can help rehome a hen (Facebook/ Fresh Start for Hens)

"You don’t need to have a big garden to keep a few hens, they will be grateful for the additional years of freedom you can offer them and reward you with their entertaining antics and probably an egg or two.

"To this end, we do not rehome to people wishing sell them on or for further commercial purposes."

How does it work?

Those interested can register on their website and then on an agreed collection date, will visit a collection point in Andover to meet their new pet. 

A spokesman said: "If you can offer these lovely girls a retirement they deserve please visit our website www.freshstartforhens.co.uk to complete a registration form with the October date if you are ready to rehome them.

"To help our small reservations team please send your photos to adminteam@freshstartforhens.co.uk and include your collection point and the collection date you would like.

"Donations can be made by clicking on the "donate" button on the website."

Where are the collection points based? 

The team will be collecting these over two dates (October 3 and 10) and have lots of spare capacity at several collection points around the country. 

As well as having spaces in Andover and Basingstoke on October 3, the charity is also arranging collection points at: Aylesford, Basildon, Congleton, Dolgellau, Gosport, Leyburn, Mablethorpe, Malvern, Ross-on-Wye, Scunthorpe, Southampton and Sunderland.

On October 10, the charity will be operating collection points in Alfretron, Barnsley, Gatrstang, High Wycombe, Hastings, Hitchin, Horsham, Huntingdon, Newton Abbot , Oxford, Selby, Southam, St Austell, Wakefield, Wareham and Wisbech.