HUNDREDS of hens are hoping to avoid the slaughterhouse with Hampshire homes in time for Christmas.

The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) will be re-homing hens across the country during December and is appealing for more members of the public with a bit of space in their back garden to get in touch and save some lives.

The hens have been laying eggs to be sold in supermarkets or put into processes foods for 18 months but have now reached the age when their egg laying slows down.

At this time, the hens are sent to be slaughtered.

Now, the BHWT are calling on Hampshire residents to help rehome their hens so they can enjoy a free range retirement in time for Christmas this year.

Francesca Mapp, marketing and communications officer at the BHWT, said: “These hardworking hens want nothing more than to start their free range retirements in your back garden.

"They make the most wonderful pets and become so tame you can even pick them up and cuddle them like you would a cat or a dog.

"They’ve also got such individual personalities.

"We’d really love more people in the Hampshire area to get in touch and come along to adopt hens this Saturday.

"What better way to celebrate the festive season than by saving lives.”

One hen who has been rehomed is Myrtle, who was adopted by Holly Spence.

Holly said: "When I got her she was looking a bit tatty but very quickly grew all her beautiful feathers back within weeks.

"She has a really high pitched squeak, loves her food and loves to curl up next to me.

"I love all my chickens so much but I think because she is the bottom hen, she has a special place in my heart!

"In this photo she was posing for the camera and puffed up her feathers just as I took the picture, I think she looks like a Christmas robin!”

The trust have the opportunity to rescue 300 hens but there are still 258 hens without homes.

Rehoming in Hampshire is taking place at Rowland's Castle near Havant on Saturday, December 8.

To adopt, register your details at:

Then call: 01884 860084.