Rehoming Team Coordinator
About the role
A day in the life of Lucia, one of our Rehoming Team Coordinators
A hen rehoming day is pretty simple – you need to make sure that hens get from the farm at A to your rehoming centre at B, and then from B you will wave them off on their journey to C.
When you leave A you want to leave a happy farmer behind; at B you want to be working with a happy team, and when the hens are driven off to C you want them to be travelling with happy adopters.
The coordinator’s job is to make space for all this happiness to grow! Maybe a better title would be Chief Happiness Officer!
Of course….there’s always those pesky details! If the farmer is to be happy you need to arrive on time, with plenty of volunteers who know what they are doing and sufficient crates which are clean. Farmers start work REALLY early, so ‘on time’ is almost always 8am.
At the farm you need to collect the hens quickly and kindly. Don’t worry, while you need a degree of physical fitness, it’s nothing too scary and the more volunteers you bring along, the less each individual has to work, and the quicker the process will be. There will be several other BHWT teams there too – you won’t be on your own.
Once back at your host site it is up to you as coordinator to decide how best to run the rehomings and once the team is organised it swings into action. I love this bit: the hens are counted out of the crates and released, crates are emptied, washed and stacked. The adopter’s car park is marked out and signs are put up. Spare boxes are prepared for those adopters who bring inadequate ones. Poorly hens are identified and put in a separate pen.
The coordinator’s role is also to make sure nothing gets overlooked and make decisions confidently (“this poorly hen can be rehomed if we find the right adopter, but that one is too poorly and can’t be rehomed today”; “we arrived back later than expected and the hens haven’t had enough of a chance to eat yet – rehoming will start in 30 minutes”).
Once the adopters start arriving, my job is to be on hand to answer adopter’s questions (“Do I need to worm the hens? Will she get on with my cockerel?”). If an adopter is interested in taking a poorly hen I talk to them and try to decide if they can offer what the hen needs. On the extremely rare occasions when there is an awkward adopter (about 2 out of the hundreds we’ve seen) I deal with them.
As well as being the last to leave, as a coordinator my rehoming ‘day’ is much longer than just turning up at the farm and waving the last rehomed hen goodbye. There is a certain amount of organising beforehand: getting adopter lists ready, making sure there is enough hen food, making sure you have a driver and enough volunteers for the day.
After a rehoming there is the paperwork. I guess people become coordinators because we want to help hens, and we want to really get stuck in; we are happy to get up early, wallow in mud, heave crates around, have chickens poo on us, and generally work hard.
Paperwork doesn’t really get a look-in. I am not a natural form-filler-inner, and I guess many other coordinators aren’t either. There is no way to pretend that this bit is fun, but Hen Central need records for tracking and tracing chickens, which is all part and parcel of hen welfare. And, really, it’s not too bad.
I really enjoy rehoming days and being a coordinator. The main reason they are such happy days is because of the team I work with. Everybody is lovely and it is pure pleasure to work alongside people you like for such a very worthwhile purpose. In the morning you take hens that are just part of a flock of a few thousand – they are not even a number – and by the afternoon, because of you and your team, they have names, and people to look after them who will notice their personalities and feed them treats and try to make them happy.
Share with your flock