Sale in West Sussex of thousands of unwanted chickens and ducks

Tracy Walkey with Alison
Tracy Walkey with Alison

Ever fancied owning your own chicken or even a duck? Thousands of birds are set to go on sale in West Sussex after being rescued from slaughter by hard-working volunteers.

Faygate resident Tracy Walker, along with a team of local helpers, are searching for homes for more than 2,000 birds, saved from the chop by a not-for-profit organisation.

The group is part of the Horsham branch of Fresh Start for Hens which works with farmers across the country, buying poultry no longer wanted and finding them new places to live and spread their wings.

Tracy, who has volunteered in the Horsham area for more than six years, said the latest batch had been saved from a farm in Essex.

She said: “They are Essex girls and there is 1,600 from there and we have 500 ducks.”

Every year tens of thousands of birds are saved by the group.

Tracy explained most of the chickens are rescued when the birds begin to moult, which usually happens when they are around 18 months old.

She said although it is a perfectly natural cycle farmers look to replace the animals as they stop producing eggs for a period.

“We obviously pay the farmer out of donations, what they would get for the chickens,” she said.

“There are other organisations that do what we do and try and rescue them but, if they don’t, they go for dog food and cat food and even baby food or cheap chicken pies.”

Tracy grew up in Crawley and said she always wanted to own chickens, but it wasn’t until she moved to Faygate seven years ago she began keeping them as pets.

It was then she discovered you could adopt birds saved from slaughter and since then she has never looked back, now being the proud mother of more than 60 chickens and five ducks.

She said: “They are lovely, lovely animals. They are so clever, I just call them and all of them come running to me. They are just fantastic.”

The birds will be picked up from their farms next month and two dates have been put forward for those interested in picking up the animals.

The chicken re-homing is set to take place on December 1 with those interested needing to reserve their birds beforehand. The duck re-homing will take place on December 15.

The group is asking for a donation of £2.50 for each hen and £4 per duck, with all the money then being used to save more birds from slaughter.

For more details or to reserve the birds, contact reservations@freshstartforhens.co.uk