At Raystede we have hens, cockerels and ducks available for adoption.
During the Spring and Summer we take in large numbers of ex commercial hybrid hens (these birds would have been known as ex battery hens in the past). Battery systems are no longer legal in the UK so now they come to us from a range of farming set ups including caged, barn/aviary systems and organic/free range. Free range and organic hens have the most space and access to the outside.
We also often have a variety of pure breeds available that individuals have surrendered to us as they can no longer accommodate or care for them. We take these in year round.
Most of the ex commercial birds are about 18 months of age so will still be laying regularly. We cannot guarantee the same with the pure breeds that come to us as they are often a range of ages.
Poultry should always be kept in pairs or groups as they take comfort from being together.
If you are interested in adopting poultry from Raystede you will need a secure, fox-proof coop with access to an outdoor enclosure. Or, if you are planning on keeping them free range in your garden they must be supervised at all times.
To keep the hens physically and mentally healthy it’s necessary (and great fun) to provide plenty of enrichment. They should have places to perch, such as branches and logs (rotten logs are also full of invertebrates which the chickens will love rooting out).
Hanging up vegetables such as corn on the cob or broccoli with some string is a great way to feed them and keep them occupied.
We often have lots of cockerels at Raystede looking for new homes - They make a great addition to a group of hens. To avoid having baby chicks simply remove the eggs as you normally would; without incubation they won’t develop.
Cockerels are noisier than hens so make sure your neighbours don’t mind before bringing them home.
Before we can approve your application for chickens, ducks or geese we will need to see photos of your set up. Please get in touch with the Wildlife, Fowl & Small Animals team on 01825 840252 or email us at SmallAnimals1@raystede.org with the following form: Application To Adopt Chicken Wildfowl
You might also like to read our Chicken And Wildfowl Care Guide to see what you will need to prepare for the arrival of your birds.
If you would like to speak to someone in person about adopting a poultry bird please visit the centre between 10am and 4pm. We are always happy to give advice.