Phew! September was a whirlwind! From bringing on new volunteer teams and pop-up locations to finding homes for 12,000 hens, it seems like we didn’t sit down at all.
September 12th, 2020 saw our Devon volunteer rehoming team celebrating their 500th rehoming day, and to top it off the rehoming was held in our “almost-completed” new Centre. Founder, Jane Howorth, kicked off the celebration welcoming the volunteers, saying a few words and cutting the cake made by one of our longest-serving volunteers, Jilly (it was delicious). Jane noted that by the end of the day, the Devon team would have rehomed the 88,000th Devon hen since starting the Charity in 2005. She spoke about how the Charity had grown from her kitchen table, to Hope Chapel (currently Hen Central) and that the main operations would soon be moving across the car park to the new Centre. Designed specifically to Jane’s requirements for the welfare of hens, the Centre is a beautiful light, airy and modern building, housing two easily sanitised coops, a specialised veterinary care unit, a conference room, a visitor reception area and welcome lobby, a staff kitchen, and more than enough room upstairs for offices. The new Centre will enable to Charity to further our mission and broaden our efforts into veterinary practices and education programmes relating to hen health.
Once the hens arrived at the Centre, the volunteers swung into action, working together like a well-oiled machine, pairing up to unload the crates into the holding pen. Unloading was swift and soon the coop was filled to capacity with scruffy looking “tatty threadbares” as Jane calls them. Each hen was given a careful health check, water and plenty of strokes while they blinked in the lights of the room. Many of these hens had never seen daylight before, and they stood together in clusters peering out over one another’s semi-featherless heads and wondering at this new world.
After lunch the first of our pre-approved rehomers arrived and lined up for our “Cluck & Collect”, Covid-safe chicken take-away service. Pulling their cars into the drive-through bay, they popped open the boot of their cars and our volunteers loaded in their hens. 378 hens and 68 rehomers later our Devon team was all smiles and congratulations as the 88,000th hen was driven away to her forever retirement home. Now all that was left to do was wash down all the crates and sanitize the holding pen but it was done with great joy and laughter knowing that what they’d accomplished was so precious: life itself. Saving a life is such a great feeling, and 88,000 hens is a lot of saved lives.