Hen Collection Driver
About the role
A day in the life of Dan, one of our volunteer Hen Collection Drivers
I have always been interested in animals and their welfare, so when I read an article about the work of The British Hen Welfare Trust, and found out that the Trust finds homes for ex-commercial hens I just knew I had to get involved!
I applied for one of the volunteer driving roles, which basically involves driving to the farm, helping load the hens into crates, driving to the rehoming site, taking the hens out of the crates, and then helping with all aspects of the rehoming, from counting the hens, checking on their welfare, loading the hens into the boxes, cleaning crates, or just generally chatting to the lovely people that give these hens such good homes.
On a rehoming day, we normally start around 6:30am, and drive to the commercial farm. We have really good relationships with the farm and know most of the farm hands which is really important as it helps with the smooth running of the hen collection.
On most rehoming days there are other BHWT teams at the farm from other areas — we have been rehoming together for years. Everyone seems to know what they need to be doing and when which is ideal for the hens.
We count out the crates and usually take a few extra hens because adopters generally decide they have room for a few more hens once they see them!
It’s a well-oiled machine once we start loading the hens from the cages into our crates, and it doesn’t take long before all the hens are in the crates and on the trailer.
After securing the tarp we’re on our way back to the rehoming point, although the drive back is a little slower as we have precious cargo on board!
At the rehoming point the rest of the team are there waiting for us. We unload straight away to get the hens out of the crates. It takes two people to lift a crate off the trailer as they are quite heavy and then we have a chicken count. We take our time so that we cause as little stress as possible to the hens, as they have already gone through quite a traumatic process of being caught, put in crates and transported.
Once emptied the crates can be quite a mess! Each crate and liner is washed and disinfected, then loaded back on the trailer for the next rehoming.
During the rehoming, it can be hard work but it is so rewarding. From seeing the hens come out of the crates to seeing the excitement on adopters faces when they arrive to collect their hens. It doesn’t matter if the adopter is two years old or 92 years old, the reaction is usually the same and you know that those people are now going to be hooked on keeping ex-commercial hens.
The best thing about volunteering is seeing these hens come out of their cages and getting a second chance at life, but the fact that you work with such a fabulous team of volunteers and also meet such lovely people who adopt the hens, makes every rehoming day really special.