Animal charity left counting its chickens appeals for volunteers to rescue hens

Animal charity left counting its chickens appeals for volunteers to rescue hens

Littlehill has lost count of the amount of hens currently at the sanctuary. Picture: Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary

A charity is appealing for volunteers to help with a rising number of rescued hens at their animal sanctuary in Co Kildare. 

Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary rescues and homes animals from all over the country including dogs, cats, and horses. 

But it is their hens that are receiving all their attention at the moment as there "are too many even to try and remotely try to count". 

"It's a sight to behold," said Littlehill founder, Susan Anderson, "there are hundreds and hundreds of them". 

The charity was left counting their chickens after a series of deliveries to prospective adoptive owners fell through over the Bank Holiday Weekend. 

Hens have proved popular throughout the lockdowns and are great company. Picture: Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
Hens have proved popular throughout the lockdowns and are great company. Picture: Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary

Struggling to keep up with the rising workload-mostly cleaning animal waste and egg collection-has led to an appeal for volunteers. 

Ragwort, a noxious weed, is a widespread issue on the 20-acre animal sanctuary as well that needs to be cleared. 

Littlehill has three drivers and just two administrators which has left a "logistical nightmare" for the animal charity, said Ms Anderson. 

"A lot of people would go crazy for hens," said Ms Anderson and added there was a renewed interest in them throughout the lockdowns. 

"Anyone who has really got our hens has come to realise how fantastic these little girls are," she said and described their friendly and sociable nature. 

A good pet for children, and the elderly as there is less risk of being knocked down like a dog, Ms Anderson said their rescue hens "are really entertaining and like human company, there's great craic out of them".

Animal lovers Ms Anderson and Bláithín Fitzgerald founded Littlehill over ten years ago with the majority of their hens coming from factory farms before they are culled at the end of a production cycle. 

The charity regularly sells eggs at markets as well as raises funds to cover costs like feed and veterinary bills. 

An adoption fee goes towards the charity's funding as well so as to ensure the hens go to a suitable home. 

The laying hens are looking for good homes. Picture: Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
The laying hens are looking for good homes. Picture: Littlehill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary

"We've loads of hens looking for homes so if anyone is happy to come to collect in Kildare," said Ms Anderson and directed people to contact their Facebook page to organise the adoption. 

Littlehill regularly takes in dogs that can't be homed from dog shelters as well as feral cats-at the last count there are over 80 at the Kildare sanctuary in addition to 24 horses and ponies. 

More information about hen adoptions and volunteer information can be found on their social media page here

With hens laying over 600 eggs a day, Littlehill said they could do with all the help they can get. 

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