All ducks have been reserved!

After a rather frantic weekend, all 800 ducks have now been reserved!

Thank you all for your fantastic response.

If you missed out, you may like to know we will have more ducks available at the end of January/beginning of February.

In the meantime, we have another 10 hen rehoming dates booked between now and Christmas, and are working hard to ensure the maximum number of our collection points can open for at least 2 of these dates, so lots of opportunities to get some lovely pets.

If you want hens or ducks, please join our waiting list and add a note.

Ducks – emergency rehome!

We have been asked to rehome 800 Cherry Valley ducks from a commercial farm on 5th September – very short notice!

Ducks are around 2.5 years old and although may still be laying, we rehome them as pets. We ask a minimum donation of £5 per duck, payable in advance and also require photographs of secure and suitable housing to be sent through with your reservation.

Ducks don’t travel as well as hens, so we will not be opening a large number of collection points, although you can reserve to collect from the following:

High Wycombe
St Austell


If you would like advice, to send photos of your duck set up through or to chat with one of our team, please email

By Sally Pike

Ducks are hardy creatures, who need the right balance of nutrients and access to clean water at all times to maximise egg production and keep them healthy.
They are relatively easy to care for, but like any animal they are a commitment; they rely on you to feed and water them, keep them safe from predators, keep them clean and take them to a vet if they are unwell. In return they will provide you with lots of eggs and hours of time wasting watching them.

Chicken layers pellets can be used for domestic laying ducks although specific duck food is preferred. Please do ensure though that the pellets do not contain Coccidiostat, as this is harmful to them. Layers mash is not suitable as it can clog up their nostrils. Grit should be freely available and fed in a strong trough or bowl. Ducks do not have teeth, so they need grit to be able to grind up their food. Mixed poultry grit (including that with oyster shell) is ideal. Ducks also love corn and wheat but this should be given at the end of the day as a treat. They also love grass, dandelions, green vegetables (cucumber, peas, cabbage, lettuce, spinach etc), boiled cold potatoes, boiled egg and fruit (especially blueberries). They will also eat any worms, slugs and frogs in your garden, obviously whilst eating your crops at the same time.

The feeding of bread is contentious, but we would recommend avoiding feeding it to them.

Do not throw feed straight on to the ground, ducks will paddle it into the mud and spoil it and the waste will encourage vermin. Use a strong open feeder or a trough that cannot be overturned.There needs to be sufficient for all ducks to eat at once – the ones higher in the pecking order will be overly greedy leaving little or none for the most timid of the flock.

Ducks need to be able to submerge their heads so that they can clean their eyes and nostrils and have “splashing” water to throw over their feathers. The latter activates a “preen” gland near their tail and by rubbing their head and necks over it the gland releases an oil for preening. This not only helps keep a duck’s plumage in good order but also waterproofs the duck. A stream or pond is perfect for ducks, however not everyone has those in their back garden so a small pond such as a child’s rigid paddling pool, baby bath or trug is an ideal substitute.

They will need help to get into the water, so a ramp will need to be provided and a brick in the pond to help get out. Ducks fowl water very quickly, so they need to be cleaned and refilled daily.

It is also recommend having a separate container for drinking water, although this will get muddy it will not be soiled with their poo. This needs to be near their food although not too close as they will splash it and ruin it.

If they eat pellets and then don’t drink straight away, the food can swell up and cause discomfort and possibly death.

It sounds ridiculous but ducks can drown if they have a too deep pond that they cannot get out of or when ex-commercials are first rehomed as they are not fully waterproofed (lack of oil makes them waterlogged as the water cannot run off them). Please introduce slowly to deep ponds and keep an eye on them when first introduced (not a problem as they are the ultimate time wasters).

Keep safe – children and some pets can drown even in very shallow water.

Ducks are mucky! Their love of splashing water everywhere mixed with dabbling means an area can get muddy very quickly unless it is rotated often.
If runs are kept in a permanent position it is worth putting their pond on slabs or gravel. Even if you free range your birds its useful to still have a pen in case you need to shut them in. The duck house needs to be about 0.4sq m per bird. It needs to be ground level or have a ramp for the ducks to access it, as they cannot fly or climb up ladders. They also do not roost so any perches need to be removed. Line the floor of the house with sawdust or aubiose type bedding, and provide a bed of straw for them to sleep. They are likely to lay their eggs here as well, so the straw will need to be replaced and eggs collected regularly to prevent them becoming soiled.

Ducks do not put themselves to bed at night like chickens. They need to be put to bed – bed time story is optional.

For those with a big pond with an island, you will still need a house to keep them safe at night unless the pond is surrounded by a secure fence – predators can and do swim!

Ideally ducks should be kept separately to chickens, however they can coexist. Perches must not be above where the ducks sleep so they are not pooed on overnight and any water must not be deep enough for a chicken to drown in it. Also keep an eye on the house becoming too damp from wet ducks.

Ducks are less prone to the dreaded red mite but can still be affected. Ensure their house is sprayed using a product that kills red mite each time it is cleaned. If you have a major infection, use red mite powder on your birds. This is best done at night when they have gone to bed so that they are dry and do not remove the powder when bathing.

Fly strike can affect older or unwell birds. In hot weather check your duck’s vent and remove any poo. If you suspect fly strike, please contact your vet immediately as it can be fatal.

Breathing problems can be caused by fungal spores in damp litter and mouldy bedding. Prevented by using clean straw and changing it regularly.

Ducks do moult at certain times throughout the year. Don’t panic if you walk into your garden and find it covered in feathers; this is a perfectly normal process.

Ducks require a regular worming programme.

If your bird appears unwell it is important to isolate and treat it. There are various forums and groups on the internet to provide advice. If home treatment is given and there is no improvement, doing nothing is not an option. The duck’s welfare should be your priority and a vets advice should be sought sooner rather than later.

When collecting your ducks please bear in mind wet ducks and cardboard do not mix. Please bring suitable plastic pet carriers with you, eg cat carriers or dog crates

The whole rehoming will be a traumatic experience for them. Their routine would have changed and they will be in a totally new world. Calmly place them in their new home and allow them to discover water and food for themselves. Watch them from afar and try to resist cuddling them. Gradually they will get used to you (especially if you give them lots and lots of treats) and become tame.


We’re rehoming again!

With Government restrictions on travelling now lifted, we are delighted to announce we are starting our new Cluck ‘n Collect service from a limited number of collection points.

All collection points will operate with strict social distancing rules in place and appointment times that are given MUST be adhered to, to ensure we do not instigate any social gatherings.

If there is a collection point opening near you and you have already joined our waiting list, you will be receiving an email offer to collect hens, detailing the date and partial postcode.

PLEASE BEAR WITH US! Our lists are long and our team is small, overworked and definitely underpaid!  We WILL get to you, but this is not going to be a speedy process.

PLEASE NOTE: We have enhanced our home checking process to ensure the hens go to homes that are both suitable and safe, so please read your email carefully.

We rehome ex commercial hens as PETS. Whilst these hens have all come from farms that produce eggs on a commercial scale, we cannot guarantee any one hen will continue to lay, but our terms are that you offer them a safe home for life and keep them for the entire duration of their retirement.

The ability to open a collection point is dictated by
a) our volunteers being happy to host
b) our volunteer drivers (we have just we have just a handful at the moment and are spreading them thinly!)
c) space on our vans

We have a number of rehoming dates planned for May and June and will be in touch by email and text if there is one open near you.

You can join our waiting list by clicking RESERVATIONS at the top of the page and completing the form.

An update on FSFH operations during the COVID-19 outbreak

If you have reserved with us for any of our upcoming dates, we WILL be emailing you, but have a small team and a lot of reservations, so please be patient and wait to hear from us. Your quick response will be helpful.

28th March

The hens on this farm will be collected as planned as it has been too short notice for the farmer to make alternative arrangements.

We have taken advice from the Government and as this is an animal welfare issue, we have been given the green light to continue. We will be employing enhanced personal protection equipment and zero contact policies in place at all our collection points, which we will ask you to respect

Some of our volunteers are classed as vulnerable, so these collection points will not be opening – you have been sent an email offering an alternative collection point. Where alternative collection points are not suitable or accessible, we will refund you.
PLEASE CHECK YOUR MAIL AND RESPOND ASAP. We have limited capacity on the vans and at the collection points, and can only deal with these on a first come first served basis.

4th April

Thankfully the farmer for this date is able to hold onto the hens, so you will be offered an alternative collection point for this coming weekend, 28th March, (where possible) or a refund. Your reservation will be added to our waiting lists and we will contact you with the next available date.

The key message is, these hens are safe 

PLEASE CHECK YOUR MAIL AND RESPOND ASAP. We have limited capacity on the vans and at the collection points, and can only deal with these on a first come first served basis.

18th April

This date is outside the current Government 3 week legislation. As you know, the situation changes almost daily, but where we can, you will be offered hens to collect this coming weekend, 28th March. Otherwise, please wait for an email from us, hopefully by Monday.

Sorry, a lot of information all at once, but we want to be upfront with you and clear on all points

Please keep yourselves safe and well 



Anyone who knows us will know we are down to earth and practical, as well as passionate about rehoming hens!
We will continue doing this with the same passion for as long as possible throughout the COVID-19 situation.

Volunteers have all been briefed, and we would like to share with you our plans for carrying on, without drama, through this difficult time – the hens are depending on us!

Collection Points
Some of our collection point hosts may have to self isolate.We are lucky that we have a dedicated team of helpers, and so wherever possible we will continue to run the collection points as planned. However, changes may need to be made at the last minute, so please keep a close eye on your emails – if you have supplied a mobile number, we will also send you a text message to alert you to a new email.

If we have to close a collection point at short notice, we will email and text you with as much notice as possible, ideally giving you an alternative location to collect from, or worst case scenario, moving you to a future date.

We may have to alter driver routes at short notice, which could have an impact on your collection times – again, as much notice as possible will be given.

Self isolating rehomers.
If you have had to self isolate but are still well enough to collect your hens, please contact your collection point and let them know.

When you arrive at the CP, remain in your vehicle and phone the CP host (the number will be on your email).
They will box up your hens and bring them to your vehicle/designated collection spot, giving you the thumbs up when your full number are ready. After they have retreated, you may leave your vehicle and load your hens. We will mark the paperwork on your behalf, so no need to sign.

Last minute cancellations.
If you are too unwell to collect your hens and have no-one else who can collect on your behalf, please let the collection point host know, AND email, giving as much notice as possible.

If you do this, we can move your reservation to a future date or refund your donation, if you prefer.

We do not issue refunds to rehomers who simply do not show up without contacting us, although we do listen to you if you get in touch 

We are trying hard to maintain a balance and keep saving these hens with minimal drama. We will keep you informed of any updates to our policies.

Please keep yourselves and your loved ones well, as far as you can 

February Newsletter

So far in 2020, we have collected 4506 hens from commercial farms, the majority of which have started their lives in back gardens, schools and community associations.

Our diary is looking really busy for the coming months, with live rehome dates on the website for 22nd February (almost all gone), and our new Yorkshire farm on 7th and 14th March. Upcoming dates are already in planning – 28th March and then 4th and 18th April, with the fabulous Mac’s Farm hens.

We also have 500 ex commercial ducks coming on 8th March, although almost all of these have found homes already and we have now closed reservations.

We have lots of new volunteers coming on board and collection points are springing up in areas we’ve had little coverage previously, such as Oxford, Bromsgrove and Darlington, to name just a few. We could not run without our volunteer team and we are always looking for more, particularly drivers who are happy to hire and drive vans throughout England and Wales. If this is something that you would be interested in, please check out our website and complete the volunteer form.

Fancy becoming a Fresh Start For Hens Volunteer?

We have an amazing team of volunteers who get thousands of hens out of cages and barns every year, and into forever homes.

We are currently in the process of extending our network of Collection Points in England and Wales and are looking for volunteers to:

  • Host collection points
  • Assist at local collection points
  • Drive vans to transport hens

In addition to the above – we have a farm team made up of experienced, trusted volunteers who help us to take hens out of cages and barns. The hens are checked over for any ailments/illness before loading them into poultry crates and onto vans, ready for transportation by our drivers to the many collection points.

Extending our network of collection points will allow us to get hens out to many more rehomers and ultimately allow us to save more hens.

If you would like to become a Volunteer then further information and an application form is available here.

New Rehoming Date!

Our first rehome day of 2019

Please Share, Share, Share 🐔 🐓 🐔

5th & 12th January 2019

3500 free range organic hens.

Hens are available from the following collection points for a donation of just £2.50 each – please read to the end to find out how to reserve and then share with all your friends

Burton on trent
Bristol South
High Wycombe
Melton Mowbray
North Walsham


Either fill out the form on the Reservations page or email with the following:

Chosen date
Chosen collection point
Home address
Phone number
Number of hens
Photo of your coop and run/free range area

Terms and Conditions of rehoming

By completing the above reservation you are agreeing to our terms and conditions, as stated below:

I am over 18 years of age.
I agree to make a minimum donation of £2.50 per hen
I will provide a pet home for the rest of the natural life of the hens.
I will seek professional veterinary care as and when required.
I am prepared to send a photograph of of my coop and free range area within 2 weeks of my reservation, as part of the home checking process.
I will make my donation asap and within two weeks of placing my reservation otherwise it will be cancelled and I will not receive my hens.
I understand Fresh Start For Hens reserve the right to reject any reservation and will inform me as to why by email.

Thank you 🙂

Notice: Function WP_Scripts::localize was called incorrectly. The $l10n parameter must be an array. To pass arbitrary data to scripts, use the wp_add_inline_script() function instead. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.7.0.) in /home/ploi/ on line 5865