UMBERSLADE Farm Park has rescued 30 battery-farm chickens from slaughter - so children can get an insight into intensive poultry production.
Jo Burnard is the farm supervisor at Umberslade Farm Park in Tanworth-in-Arden which opened for half-term on February 13 and during the course of the year will be visited by thousands of children in school parties as well as family visits.
Jo, a graduate from the Moreton Morrell campus at Warwickshire College, came up with the idea after visiting the website of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.
“This is a wonderful charity that rescues thousands of battery hens a year and finds homes for them to start a new life as free range birds. In mid-January I picked up 30 brown laying hens in boxes in my Land Rover and introduced them to life at Umberslade Farm Park.
“The hens are all approximately 17 months old, which is the age when battery hens are disposed of by the egg producers because their laying cycle has started to decline. After this age apparently they stop laying one egg a day and regress to laying five eggs over seven days.
“They are no longer deemed suitable for the production industry but are still perfectly good for laying eggs for a further three years. At Umberslade we are bringing them on until they are ready to go outside in the warmer weather and root around as free range birds.”
Umberslade Farm Park is run by Oliver Muntz and Matt Porter, two recent graduates of Harper Adams University College in Shropshire, having closed in April last year for refurbishment.
Oliver said: “People visiting the farm will be able to get close to sheep, pigs, chicks, goats, donkeys, ponies and shire horses. Most activities will be undertaken in one of the upgraded barns and farm buildings so visitors won’t be exposed to adverse weather.”
Activities will include bottle feeding lambs, handling baby chicks, ferret racing, tractor and trailer and pony rides, and crop investigation walks - depending on the time of year.