April is here, spring has sprung! Winter is finally behind us and things are looking brighter everyday. Plus, I have some good news and some great news!
The compulsory housing measures for poultry were lifted today! Due to an outbreak of avian influenza all keepers have been required to keep hens indoors since December. It's been horrible for our hens stuck inside constantly, we all know how that feels thanks to our covid lockdowns!
This morning we opened the chicken hatch for the first time in months, I wasn't sure whether the hens would immediately come out or whether they would be a little nervous of the outdoors. I should have known better! As soon as the hatch was lifted they all came charging out squashing through the pop-hole, feathers flying and fighting for space to get through! Absolute chaos! It was so funny to stand back and watch the mayhem unfold which was soon replaced by a lovely peaceful scene as they got to work scratching, basking and dust bathing. It's wonderful to have the flock back outside where they belong!
Avian influenza continues to pose a risk to poultry but the level has been reduced to 'medium'. This means that we must all continue to practice high levels of biosecurity and advice on this can be found on the APHA website.
Ok, so that was the good news. Now the great news!
Our own lockdown is also set to be relaxed somewhat over the coming weeks and these changes to the covid restrictions means we can finally RESCUE HENS AGAIN! Yes, the return of rehoming events!
We have spoken with farmers and we hope a rescue will take place around the end of April. If you are hoping to re-home some hens I must ask, please do not try to fill in a booking form yet. Bookings will not be opened until a rescue is confirmed, at least the middle of April and we will send you an email when booking is active. At the moment, it is unlikely we will be running all 8 locations but we will confirm which events will take place in our next post.
We are really excited to get back to doing what we love and saving hens from slaughter. It's been such a tough time for humans and chickens alike and it's great to have this to look forward to.
I hope to see lots of you at rehoming events soon, in the meantime check out our support us page, any donations towards our costs are much needed and gratefully received. Keep an eye out for our next post because it WILL have dates on it for rehoming events!
All the best
Director of Homes4Hens Rescue CIC (SC567846)
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Once a month I sit down and write an email to send to all our supporters. Usually it's filled with news about upcoming events and goings-on here at Homes4Hens HQ. However, this month there is a definite lack of anything to write about! I suppose I can always reiterate what I said last month so here goes.
Lockdown continues to prevent us from rescuing any more hens. We would usually have already rescued and rehomed the first thousand hens of the year but instead our crates remain empty for now. There is little news coming from the Scottish Government on when we might be able to resume our work, I'm sure all will become clear soon but it's highly unlikely to be this month. In the meantime, we are continuing to care for the many sick, injured and elderly hens that are permanent residents here.
As well as caring for the hens, Homes4Hens also offers sanctuary to two pigs saved from becoming meat and a small gang of rescued cats that are supposed to patrol the barns in search of rodents but in reality, just sleep all day on straw bales!
APHA are still insisting that we keep our hens indoors due to the spread of Bird-flu. We are fortunate to have the space to be able to keep the girls happy and healthy indoors but I am certain they are missing the freedom of outside. Unfortunately they are suffering the same restrictions as the rest of us and I guess we all just have to wait it out. Good times will return soon!
In last months email, I wrote briefly about our reduced income. Without our rehoming events which brings in donations in the way of a rehoming fee we have had to dip in to reserve funds to buy essential products like feed, bedding and medication. It was really heart-warming to receive a flurry of donations following that email which has helped to keep the hens in comfort for a while longer. I know its difficult for a lot of people at the moment, these are tricky times to navigate! If you are weathering the storm and are able to make a donation towards our daily costs there is a button at the bottom of the page where you can make a one-off donation or join our monthly supporters by providing Homes4Hens with a regular monthly gift. As a small, registered not-for-profit organisation your donations mean a lot to us, we really appreciate the help and it is heart-warming to see that our cause is valued by other people too.
Soon, I'm sure, the nicer weather will return and with it the end of lockdown and the end of bird-flu restrictions. We are well prepared for the year ahead and I can't wait to be rescuing hens from slaughter again. Fingers crossed my next post will include an announcement of dates for new rehoming events!
All the best,
Director of Homes4Hens Rescue CIC (SC567846)