A NATIONAL hen charity is calling on animal lovers in the county to come forward and help save birds from slaughter.

The British Hen Welfare Trust has held its last round of re-homing animals at its current site in Denmead and is now in urgent need of a new site and a team of volunteers.

Volunteers say the ideal location would be Winchester, but the charity would like to hear from anyone in Hampshire who is able to help so that the hens can wing their way to starting their free range retirements.

A host site acts as a halfway house for hens between them leaving farms and going off with their new keepers.

The ideal site would be a barn or stable enclosure which could house the hens for a few hours, plus an area for parking.

The charity says it also needs volunteers to help to transport the hens from farms to the host site.

Gaynor Davies, the charity’s head of operations, urged new faces to come forward.

She said: “We regularly have hundreds of hens looking for homes in Hampshire, and equally lots of kind-hearted people willing to adopt them.

“But all of this is impossible without having a host site and transport.

“It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding and you’ll finish the day knowing you have literally helped save hundreds of lives.

“So far more than 17,000 hens have been re-homed in Hampshire, but these are the lucky few and we need to rescue more hens from slaughter to give them a happy retirement too.”

The site and volunteers would only be needed once every four to six weeks.

The Hampshire branch of the British Hen Welfare Trust has been helping birds in the county for eight years.

If you think you can help, call the charity on 01884 860084.