The TV campaign by celebrity chefs to persuade consumers to switch to “higher welfare” chicken is having an unexpected side effect, it’s fuelling the number of people keeping hens for eggs.
According to a recent article in the Sunday Times, one company – Omlet– who specialises in designer plastic chicken coops has reported a trebling in sales. The company said that sales began to take off just after the series of TV programmes earlier this year by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
Estimates now suggest over half a million households now keep hens and there are reports of owners organising “hen parties” where they gather to talk about hens and learn about keeping them.
The increased interest in keeping hens is also backed up by figures from The Battery Hen Welfare Trust. It says that interest in rescuing end of lay hens from intensive units has increased in recent months with more than 22,000 birds rescued this year alone. In Surrey the waiting list for people wanting rescued birds is three months long.