This summer is set to be a record breaker for a North Devon-based national hen welfare charity, with more than 14,000 birds being saved from slaughter – 1,100 of which will be rehomed in Devon.

The British Hen Welfare Trust's network of 900-plus volunteers will be flocking to farms all over the UK to take hens out of their cages, with the end goal being to rehome them in people's back gardens - but the charity needs the public's help.

With more than 14,000 ladies looking to start their free-range retirements in a single month, the charity is appealing to people who have a bit of extra space in their back garden plus a passion for animals to get in touch.

Most of the hens being rehomed have been living in cages for 18 months, working hard to lay eggs for supermarkets and to go into processed foods. Once they reach that age their egg laying slows down so they are sent to slaughter.

That is, unless the BHWT steps in to rehome them as pets.

The charity can't guarantee the hens will continue laying, but nine times out of 10 you'll get enough eggs to enjoy a free-range egg breakfast.

Jane Howorth, BHWT Founder and co-ordinator for Devon said: "We are delighted to be part of this record-breaking effort and, with any luck, come July there will be thousands more hens enjoying the summer sunshine on their wings.

"We've got 800 hens looking for homes in Devon over the coming months, so please get in touch if you can help."

Jane set up the charity in 2005 and it is Britain's first registered charity for rehoming laying hens.

It says in the UK there are approximately 16 million hens kept in colony cages.

The charity has so far found retirement homes for more than 700,000 caged hens, all of which were otherwise destined for slaughter.

It also educates consumers about caged eggs hidden in processed foods, such as pasta, quiches, cakes and mayonnaise so they can make an informed choice when shopping.

Rehomings are taking place at the charity's Rose Ash centre near South Molton on Sunday, June 30 and in South Zeal on Sunday, June 9 and Saturday, June 29.

To reserve your feathery flock simply register your details at and then call Hen Central on 01884 860084.