Category Archives: Health

January 14th rehome update…

It is with great sadness that we have, in consultation with our farmer, decided to cancel the rehome scheduled for January 14th.

Despite extensive bio security measures in place and equipment purchases being made to sanitise crates…vans and people. We simply cannot risk going ahead with the rehome given the current situation.

We had hoped that because there is no restriction on movement of hens at this time we would be able to proceed in line with DEFRAS suggested biosecurity guidelines and we were well prepared to do so. 

However after thrashing out every possible outcome and measure with our team and our farmer ….cancelling, although not the ideal situation, was the most secure and sensible way forward.

We will be contacting all rehomers to discuss what happens next and we hope you all understand this decision. Believe me it was not taken lightly and has been extremely hard on everyone from management and farmer to volunteers and rehomers.


thank you

DEFRA announcement and our 14th January rehome

Hi all

just a quick update regarding Avian flu and its effects on us and you. Currently after speaking to DEFRA our 14th January rehome is still going ahead as the uk exclusion does not affect transport or movement of hens from a single source.

However we must advise than any rehomers have actively read the DEFRA guidelines on and have adequately prepared housing in line with the guidance.

As a minimum all Poultry keepers should keep birds in a secure covered run with no access to wild birds. This means no free ranging even in gardens is allowed. Please ensure you have adequate facilities to house any poultry before reserving or if you have already reserved please update your housing as required by DEFRA.

Should this not be possible or you need to cancel please contact our team on and we will advise and help.

Top Tips for a Happy Rehoming

So you have your hens reserved and made your donation – what next?

  1. In the week before the rehoming (usually on the Monday), your local volunteer will email to give you their collection address and a pick up time. Please look out for their email (it may go to your junk folder) and reply as soon as possible confirming you can make the given time.
  2. On collection day please ensure you have suitable carriers to bring your hens home in. Cardboard boxes from the supermarket are fine and cat carriers or dog crates work well too. Ensure boxes have letterbox style slits along the sides to allow fresh air in – hens are very hot and can quickly overheat if there is not enough ventilation. Line the boxes with some straw to stop them sliding about on the way home.
  3. Try to arrive on time as you are part of a ‘big plan’ for the day, but be prepared for a short wait – it can be hectic and it’s quite easy for the volunteers to get caught out and run behind.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask your FSFH volunteer questions – they are very knowledgeable and can advise on any concerns you may have. Beware though, most can talk your ears off when it comes to chickens.
  5. Ensure your hens are secure in their boxes- there is nothing worse than walking down the path and your hens drop out the bottom of the box, or hens getting out in the car on the way home!
Sturdy boxes or cat carrier work well

Sturdy boxes or cat carrier work well

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Dealing With A Prolapse

One of our Freshstart facebook group regulars Simon Hodge recently had to deal with a prolapse. Here is his account of the process.  We must state that we always advise seeking a vets opinion before treating prolapses and provide this article as 1 persons account of how he dealt, quite successfully, with the issue.

Treating Prolapse

I dealt with my first chicken prolapse 2 weeks ago today. One of the hens had laid a 96 gram egg, I posted it on a few pages and someone said check for a prolapse, I thought pfft but did it anyway, everything was fine.

The next day however I heard her making an alarming type noise so I rushed over as I was already in the garden and saw what looked like a massacre! It was huge and there was some blood dripping and I saw 2 others peck at it as I approached the enclosure.

I rushed her inside, filled the kitchen sink with warm water and some Aveeno oil which is very gentle. I cleaned it very carefully using wet cotton wool balls, gently patted it dry with kitchen towel and then applied some vaseline and gently pushed it back in (Georgina was holding her the whole time or I’d have struggled on my own), I also trimmed off a fair few feathers as they were gunked up with congealed blood, her bum was already mostly bald due to some of the girls still sorting out their moult. Pumpkin was very good during the whole process. I popped to Tesco afterwards for some Witch Hazel which is good for applying externally as it helps to shrink the vent because it reduces swelling, it worked because prior to me getting the WH it popped back out twice but then after applying the WH it stayed in a treat, I could even see her vent shrinking a bit as I was applying the WH.

I set up a spare cage I had in the garage and made her a nest using half a cat carrier, gave her honey water and grain to eat, no pellets as I wanted her to stop laying any eggs, covered the cage to keep it as dark as possible.

The next morning she laid a soft shelled egg, that’s fine I thought, its soft because of the stress from the previous day but I also told her not to lay any more! I kept her on grain but also gave her some extra protein in the form of sardines, dried mealworms and scrambled egg to help her internals repair themselves. By Tuesday she had been doing brilliantly so although I thought it was probably a little early I put her back in with the others, all was well. Wednesday morning there was a single egg in one of the nest boxes so I thought I’d better check Pumpkin in case she’d managed to lay already although I thought it was unlikely….yep, prolapse, it was only a very small one this time though. Before I started I nipped to Aldi for some 59p rubber gloves as I didn’t have any and it wasn’t very pleasant the first time. I was also suffering from a nasty virus which I am still trying to get over after 5 weeks now! and I had a throat infection too, what with that and sticking my fingers up a chickens bum I decided gloves would be best in case my stomach decided to hurl! lol

Once home, I set the cage back up, washed the prolapse again but this time I applied Manuka honey to it before pushing it back in as I’d read it helps to reduce swelling and gives it a barrier from bacteria, I have used it on rabbits and guinea pigs for various injuries with great effect.

I put her back out Wednesday this week so she’s had a full week inside on a non egg making diet which worked. 2 weeks on and she’s fine, I don’t know if she has laid at all but if she has then she hasn’t prolapsed again, if she hasn’t then that’s fine, I’m sure she will in the coming weeks when she’s ready and built up her calcium levels again. I will be keeping a close eye on her though all the same. So there you have it, a prolapse can be dealt with at home, the trick is not to panic. I did panic a bit mind you as it looked horrific! I had previously read up on the subject to a degree just in case and I’m glad I did as I pretty much remembered what to do which paid off.

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2 photos, the first is after it was pushed back in and the third is her as of today.