People are being encouraged to buy up a closing farm’s chickens to save them from the slaughterhouse.

Happy Hens farm in South Yorkshire is closing after 40 years after its owners ran into debt problems.

It is going after being an important part of the community and helping troubled young people get their lives back no track.

Now, its 5,000 chickens are up for sale and must be gone by September 12 or they could face being slaughtered, reports Derbyshire Live .

Ashley Ames, 20, is the farm manager at Happy Hens, and said they had no option than to sell the hens and they want to sell the birds, rather than see them killed.

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He said: “We are going to sell as many of the hens as we can – we want them all to go to new loving homes.

“We don’t want any of the chickens to have to go to slaughter, but they all have to be gone by September 12, so we’re hoping there are people who will take them.

“Fresh eggs are on another level to the ones you can buy in supermarkets. And you only need one or two chickens to have enough for a whole family.

“We’ve got a few people coming to pick some hens up soon, but we still have around 4,000 that need homes before September 12.”

He added there are also pygmy goats, cows, alpacas and emus that will need to be sold, and they will be available from September 16, after the farm has closed.

Rachel Moore, 30, from Derby, rescues hens and ducks and says she hopes there will be plenty of people to take on some of the hens.

She said: “Someone told me that Happy Hens was closing and my first thought was ‘what are they going to do with all the animals?’

“So I got in touch with them and they said they needed to sell 5,000 chickens or they would have to go to a ‘less fortunate destination’, because you can only keep 50 chickens if you don’t have a licence. I was gobsmacked.

“If it was someone having to get rid of 5,000 dogs, there would be uproar, but people associate chickens with food.

“They’re no different to any other pet. I go out to see the hens and they all have their own personalities. They come running and have a fuss when I go up to them.”

The idea for Happy Hens came in 1984, when the couple decided they wanted to create a refuge where young people in difficult circumstances could work on their poultry farm.

Burton Live recently reported the refuge was under threat of closure after the Hoskings suffered major financial problems.

But it has emerged the service now has a bright future – thanks to what Roger describes as a “miracle”.

Earlier this year, the Hoskings family announced they had decided to sell land, equipment and stock to pay off their debts in hopes of remaining in the house they love.

The hens are available for £1.50 each, or £1 each for anyone buying more than 100. Bosses at the farm say they are all expected to continue to lay eggs for at least a few more years, and are all healthy and vaccinated.

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Anyone interested in buying one of the chickens can do so by popping down to the shop, which is open between 10am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, messaging the Happy Hens Facebook page or texting 07548 614298.

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