Devon hen charity starts in Jimmy Doherty’s BBC2 programme

Posted 12th July 2010 11:37am by

PRESS RELEASE – 12-07-2010

Devon-based charity, The British Hen Welfare Trust, is featured in a BBC2 documentary presented by farmer and TV personality Jimmy Doherty this Thursday at 8pm.

The series embarks on a quest to reveal the hidden lives of farmyard animals. In Thursday’s programme, The Private life of Chickens, Jimmy Doherty seeks to find out what goes on behind the henhouse door by carrying out a series of experiments and observations to understand the behaviour and psychology of chickens.

Filmed at the British Hen Welfare Trust’s Devon Headquarters, Jimmy asks what really goes on inside the brain of a chicken and how chickens decide the pecking order. He also tries to find
answers to questions such as how do chickens communicate with their chicks? How can chickens look in two directions at once? And can hens really change sex?

The British Hen Welfare Trust’s Chief Executive, Jane Howorth, is featured in the programme. The BBC approached her back in October 2009 to ask her whether she and her charity, which re-homes caged hens, would be willing to be involved. Jane Howorth said: “We were delighted to be approached by the BBC to help make this programme here at the British Hen Welfare Trust. Most people are unaware of how intelligent hens are and it was a great opportunity to show people that there is more to hens than eggs!

The charity has re-homed more than 200,000 caged hens over the last 5 years and created a definite trend towards hen-keeping in Britain. People love to gather their free-range eggs every day but, as the hens reveal their quirks and personalities, they soon become regarded as family pets!”

It was great fun filming with Jimmy Doherty despite the freezing weather and inevitable re-takes when working with animals!”

“We anticipate a surge in calls to the charity and interest in re-homing hens when the programme is aired on Thursday. But re-homing is just part of what the charity does. Our main aim is to encourage support for the free range egg industry by asking consumers to only buy products containing British free range eggs. This is so all laying hens can enjoy the good quality life they deserve.”

The Private Life of Chickens will be aired on BBC2 on Thursday 15th July 8pm. To see a preview of the programme featuring Jimmy Doherty and Jane Howorth, log on to:

To find out more or to support the work of the British Hen Welfare Trust please email, log on to or tel: 01884 860084.