Tralee People Asked To Save ‘Spent’ Hens From Culling

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An animal charity is asking Tralee homes to take in ‘spent’ hens.

By Nelly Berg

AN animal charity is asking Tralee residents to take in hens this month who will otherwise be killed.

On October 20, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary will bring hundreds of rescued egg-laying hens to Tralee for adoption.

The charity is appealing to kind-hearted people in Tralee and across county Kerry to offer happy homes to these unfortunate creatures, who will otherwise be sent to the slaughterhouse.

At commercial egg farms, hens are kept until they reach the relatively young age of about 15-18 months, after which point their productivity declines slightly.

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This small reduction in eggs renders the birds unprofitable, and they are routinely culled, to make way for a younger flock.

For the past six years, LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary has been finding caring homes around the country for these “spent” commercial hens, so that they can save as many as possible, and allow them to experience long and happy lives, outside the confines of factory cages.

“We began rescuing hens a few years ago, as I hated the fact that most commercial chickens are killed without ever knowing a moment of compassion, or even seeing the outside world,” explains Susan Anderson, founder of LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.

“They are just over a year old when we rescue them, so most will live for a few more years, often providing their new owners with five to six delicious cruelty-free eggs a week.”

However, an ethical breakfast is just one benefit of taking these birds home, as many adopters describe that they become cherished family pets.

“They take a while to trust you, but once they do, they follow you around and even sit in your lap! They are very thankful to have a life they could have only dreamed of,” said Janet James, a hen adopter who lives near Listowel.

“They have great personalities for children, and just watching them can give you the best belly laughs.”

Janet also described the fulfilment she experienced while watching her new hens – Queeny, Little, Florey and Gerty – change from pale, partially-feathered and frightened critters into beautiful, fluffy birds with a great lust for life.

“The transformation is amazing,” she said. “From being scared, bald, unsure of humans, unaware of what grass or the sunshine is. But after just a few days they perk up, begin to regrow their feathers, and start strutting about and sunbathing.”

To adopt a few feathered ladies for your own backyard, potential adopters are asked to send a private message to the charity’s Facebook page, LittleHill Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, stating the pick-up town, date and the number of hens they would like to reserve.

Those without a Facebook account can book through a friend or relative. As mentioned, the charity’s volunteers will be bringing rescued hens to Tralee on the 20th of October. Other Kerry locations include Killarney on the 12th, Kenmare on the 13th, Dingle and Listowel on the 20th, and Castleisland on the 27th of October.

So, what must people do to prepare for their new arrivals?

“All you need is a fox-proof chicken coop or shed that can be locked at night, and a small outdoor area that they can scratch and roam about in,” Susan said. “Loads of our rescued hens are thriving in people’s small back gardens.”

“In comparison to keeping rabbits, chickens are far easier,” added Janet. “They are happy just wandering around and they always put themselves to bed. And their delicious eggs are a huge bonus!”


  1. Matty O'Leary says:

    Little Hill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, this is a wonderful initiative.
    I am sure it will be a great success.

  2. Hazel Bohan says:

    I would love to adopt a dog if possible?

  3. I have 7 chickens at the moment I could take 5

  4. I always have hens 5 at the moment would take 3 to even up to 8 as they pair friendly worked for poultry breeder years ago

  5. This write up didn’t mention you need a license from the council to keep chickens.

  6. Hi there, i have 4x hens already.. they have loads of space in our big garden, and 2x little hen houses. I would have room for 2x of the hens if you havnt found them homes yet??

  7. Noreen Murphy says:

    Hi I would take 2 hens, as I have a large chicken coup and 3 chickens. Where in tralee is pick up and time and. Date, thanks