-- the hens in these photos are from Free Range farms. They live in barns of up to 10,000, with access to an outside area during the day.
-- hens in commercial egg farms are culled at 72 weeks old, as they are no longer useful. They are called "spent hens". They are replaced by 16 week-old hens, and the cycle repeats. Hens can live for 6 years or more.
-- around 3 million chicks are hatched each month in the UK to be sent to egg farms. The baby boys are killed almost at birth. Like the hens who have spent thier lives laying eggs for humans, they are now a by-product.
Rescuing ex-commercial hens...
-- commercial laying hens have been selectively bred to lay around 300 eggs a year. Their wild ancestor would lay around 12 a year.
-- this intesive breeding, and exhausting egg production, has a huge toll on their bodies. Egg peritonitis, prolapse vent, ovarian cancer, vent gleet and many other issues are common. In barns of thousands, it's almost impossible for them to receive individual care and medical treatment.
-- you can find a brilliant resource for all chicken health issues from the Open Sanctuary Project here.
at Pear Tree Farm Animal Sanctuary, we see all hens for the beautiful individuals that they are
This is Zelda. She was terrified and bald when she arrived at the sanctuary. She trusted us very quickly, and hid behind us from other hens when she was scared. She grew in confidence, she grew her feathers, and now she is a brave, fluffy member of the main flock.
click 'contact us' above and ask for more information!
Ethel the Hen
this absolutely beautiful painting of Ethel the rescue hen, was created by a wonderful supporter and chicken rescuer - Helen from Fae Cottage Artistry. £5 from each mounted cotton-rag print is donated to help us with our work!
This is Twist. She came to us with 350 of her sisters on our most recent chicken rescue.
She had ‘wry neck’, which means her neck was weak and twisted too far round, and she would often get her head stuck upside down. This is caused by either physical trauma, or malnutrition as she was growing up. She also had a really nasty case of sour crop, and wasn’t digesting her food very well at all. This is a yeast infection, and meant that as her food was not clearing, it was fermenting inside her crop.
When hens are kept in barns of thousands, who will notice that something is wrong with one?
Of the hens that make it to safety with us, countless have conditions ranging from uncomfortable, to severely painful, to fatal. Some have had these conditions for a long time, some are caused by rough handling before their journey to us. Most can be treated and many can survive with proper care and love. But most will never get the chance to survive.
We removed Twist from the group as soon as we realised her condition. She spent time in the hospital wing with many others from that rescue. We gave her vitamin E every day with her food to help with her wry neck, and a treatment plan of apple cider vinegar, medication and homeopathic spices to tackle her sour crop. It cleared up eventually and she began growing back her feathers and seeming much happier. Then, suddenly, we lost her.
These hens have been through so much by the time they reach us. Their entire lives - 72 weeks’ existence in mass-production commercial farming. They are bred to be alive for one purpose only, and they are worked hard. We have had to get used to loss a lot more around here since we began saving chickens. It does not get one bit easier.
Twist had a huge impact on us here. She was an incredible, funny, brave individual. She deserved a life of freedom, but she couldn’t quite make it. We just hope she felt the love that we showered her with in her time here.
Some of her sisters are here still and will remain in our care. Many have gone to their forever homes, and are embarking on a life of happiness and freedom.
Millions of others are in the egg farms. Nameless, stressed, unloved. When they reach the end of their service, and are bound for the slaughterhouse, some farmers agree to let us take them instead. We bring them home, and we find them new homes where they will be cared for and respected.
We know it’s not fixing the whole problem, but it means the absolute world to each and every hen who is saved. We want to see these beautiful creatures have a chance at a life beyond the barn.
If you'd like to support the work we do and help us to rescue animals in need, there are a few different ways you can help
GIFT from our wishlist
we have an Amazon Wishlist set up, which we regularly update with things we need around the sanctuary! any of these items can be bought and will be sent directly to us.
if you have any of the items lying around at home - we'd also be super grateful for them! at present, particularly useful items are old duvets, blankets and towels. anything animal-related also useful! get in touch if you have any questions.
if you live locally to our sanctuary, please get in touch for volunteer opportunities
we have lots of ways to get involved - if you have a couple of hours a week to spare, you could get involved with daily animal care and socialising, or be involved in our rescue missions. we're always on the lookout for a range of skills!
you can also volunteer from home! email for more information
set up a regular monthly donation and sponsor one of our tribe. you can choose one of the amazing sheep or beautiful pigs, and get personalised letters from your friend monthly or quarterly - complete with photos and all the news!
we are always fundraising to raise money to help what we do. every single penny helps us with building infrastructure to temporarily house animals in need, funding emergency rescues, and for the daily care, feed and ever-growing vet bills for our current rescues
if you’d like a personalised thank you card from our beautiful animals, please email us your address :)
please see below for how to donate
100% of donations go straight to the animals we help and those still in our care
ANY amount however big or small is greatly appreciated here at the sanctuary. It takes lots of love, hard work and funds to care for the ever-growing tribe of rescues here at Pear Tree Farm... and although we have plenty of the former, we are always struggling for funds
£5 means a big bag of carrots to share throughout the residents
£7.50 is a bag of animal feed
£20 is a big bale of hay to keep our goats and horses happy
£35 is a huge bale of straw to keep our animals warm, clean and dry
£50 keeps all of our piggies fed and happy for a week
Fundraising for us
Fancy a challenge?? Why not sign up to run to the top of a mountain, or walk the length of the country... all the while raising funds for the amazing animal rescues we help at the sanctuary.
You could also fundraise for an upcoming birthday!
Our work here at the sanctuary involves rescuing animals from slaughter and neglectful situations. We then care for and rehabilitate these animals, and search for forever homes where they will be safe, respected and loved.
This helps us to continue our work, having the resources to take in and save more lives.
Looking for homes : cockerels, pigs, sheep, goats
If you are willing and able to adopt a rescue animal or two, please do get in touch. Use the form below to express interest, and we will contact you to discuss further.
"I used to close my eyes to any evidence about what horrors the dead animals on my dinner plate had to endure, in order to satisfy my appetite. I would just scroll on by, with a generalised "oh I know it’s horrible, but I don’t want to see it"... sort of way.
Then one day I stopped scrolling by and opened my eyes. I looked into every aspect of how animals are mistreated and brutally murdered, so that we can consume them. And I felt sick. And I cried. And I changed. And I became a vegan. What I’ve found since, is not only have I eaten a vast array of plant based
food, more delicious than anything I had before, but that the joy of seeing the diversity of animal beings, living their best lives - safe, happy, freely - in a sanctuary like Pear Tree Farm Animal Sanctuary is absolutely uplifting.
Pear Tree Farm is amazing. They have put in backbreaking hard work to achieve little miracles all the time. Many of the array of animals that they have rescued, come here in an awful state as a result of the despicable way in which they have been kept and treated, as well as having been but a short breath away from the slaughterhouse. They are then nursed back to health by the skill, care, love and dedication of the remarkable team at Pear Tree Farm Animal Sanctuary. It is very hard work. They work so hard, with ever present concerns about having enough money to attend to the sanctuary’s needs. They rely on voluntary donations and have done wonders with what little they have.
I heartily applaud them for what they have established and continually try to achieve at Pear Tree Farm Animal Sanctuary.
It’s a very special place and I feel honoured to be its Patron."