Minskip Farm Shop set itself the task of rehoming all 6,000 hens within four weeks, but the reaction on social media was so strong that the appeal closed after three days.
The shop’s owners, Ben and Emma Mosey, only took over the business 18 months ago, and have won the British Free Range Egg Producers Retailer of the Year Award for the quality of their eggs. They felt it was important to attempt to provide homes for hens at the end of their commercial laying cycle, rather than subjecting them to slaughter.
Emma said: “We have been completely overwhelmed, we were hoping to rehome some of them, but to find homes for all of them and in such a short time frame is amazing.
“We are thrilled that the hens are going to live another day, and that they’re all going to such nice homes as well. It’s amazing how quickly the appeal took off, and how kind-hearted people have been. We are also relieved because we’d become really attached to the hens.”
Farmers from across the district responded to Ben and Emma’s urgent plea, with one resident taking on 1,000 hens alone.
Harrogate’s New Park Primary Academy is among those to be offering a new home to the hens, making an exciting addition to their community farm.
Headteacher Robert Mold said: “New Park recently opened its own farm with rescue hens and pygmy goats. When we heard that Ben and Emma were looking to rehome their 6,000 hens, we spoke to the whole school about whether we could offer to take some.
“Because of the work we’ve been doing at school, learning about ethical farming and the differences between free-range and intensively farmed animals, the children were really keen to help out. We’re excited about meeting the new additions to our growing flock.”