Hazelbury Bryan to become hub for rehoming ex-commercial hens and helping their recovery
When Haidy Mansfield first heard about rehoming commercial hens in 2016 she had no idea that, six years later, she would be helping to rescue thousands of hens destined for slaughter. Haidy explained, “My partner and I wanted to be more self-sufficient so, along with our lush new veg beds we registered with the charity Fresh Start For Hens (www.freshstartforhens.co.uk) and soon rehomed three wee hens!
“And so began my discovery of what it means to be a commercial hen. I sat and watched these three scraggy girls, with barely a feather between them, looking so ill-at-ease with their freedom. They had come from their cages aged 72 weeks, diverted from the slaughter man by Fresh Start for Hens. Seeing them in that condition broke my heart and opened my eyes. I wanted to do more, so I volunteered with the charity and started helping out at rehomings.
“It was at one of these that a little hen was taken out of the crates ice cold, her eyes tight shut. It was suggested she wasn’t going to make it. I felt desperately sad for her, brought her home and sat in my shed with her that night. I could hear the church bells, so I named her Belle. When I kissed her goodnight I promised I would do all I could to fight for her and her sisters.
“When Belle finally opened her eyes we connected, and that was the start of two very happy years for us. Belle grew into a most beautiful girl and became head hen in my little clan. Watching my rescue hens stretching their wings, digging for grubs, dustbathing and sunbathing is so satisfying.”
On 8 October Haidy will be hosting a collection point in Hazelbury Bryan for people wanting to rehome hens. Register your interest at
You can keep up with Haidy’s rescue clan at