Church welcomes a whole new type of flock by becoming a hen adoption site

A church in Sutton Coldfield is providing salvation to hundreds of hens saved from slaughter by a chicken charity.

The Wylde Green United Reformed Church is now a host site for the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT), which means that it will hold regular events for people to adopt ex-commercial hens.

It’s next adoption event will be on Sunday, October 17. Anyone interested in adopting a hen needs to register with the BHWT by Thursday, October 14.

Rev. Chris Dowd, who adopted four hens from the BHWT in September, said, “I love the thought of giving these poor animals a real chance to enjoy life. I’ve rehomed hens from the BHWT in the past and seeing them learn to trust and become affectionate is really lovely.

“Our new hens are a bit timid at the moment, but I know the more we keep showing them kindness they’ll soon become confident. That’s what happened with our last flock, they used to sit at our feet and peck around, which was their way of saying ‘pick me up and give me a scratch’. They just make really lovely pets.”

The idea to become a host site came from Rev. Dowd but was given the full approval of the church board. To help fund the cost of becoming a site, the church held a pet service attended by cats, dogs, and even stick insects.

Becoming a host site is part of wider work the church, which has previously won a Bronze Eco Church Award, is doing to enhance and protect the environment. They have also planted native plants around the church to attract pollinators, use green energy where possible, and are revitalising an under-used field behind the building.

Rev. Dowd said, “I believe the greatest moral issue within our society is the care of the planet. Working with the BHWT fits incredibly well with the vision we have for our church where inclusion and ecology are the main driving values.

“Animal welfare is all part of creation care. From a faith point of view, we were asked to care for creation, and we can show that kind of care by rehoming these animals and giving them a good life.

“This will also help us to engage with the wider community by showing them that we’re interested in a much bigger view of faith than they may think. This shows people we’re interested in the real world, and we want to play our part by doing practical things that make a difference, as well as talking and praying.”

Notes to Editors

The British Hen Welfare Trust [BHWT] has been rescuing hens from slaughter and rehoming them throughout the United Kingdom since 2005. Working closely with leaders in the egg industry, the BHWT designed and developed the original rehoming model, and has rehomed over 900,000 hens to date.

In addition to it’s rehoming efforts, the BHWT works closely with government agencies and veterinary institutions to develop programmes and practices to improve hen welfare. The BHWT has also developed an education programme providing resources to schools to help pupils explore food, farming and animal welfare. Additionally, the BHWT is researching and developing a Hens as Therapy programme to assist those suffering with mental health.

The BHWT provides online information and expert guidance for pet hen keepers and offers a hen helpline for advice on caring for sick birds.