Wanted: Loving new nests for retiring chooks

Holding hens for sale in Mosgiel yesterday are Brougham Park Poultry Farm owner Chris Wilson (L)...
Holding hens for sale in Mosgiel yesterday are Brougham Park Poultry Farm owner Chris Wilson (L) and animal rights activist Tayla O’Driscoll. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Thousands of retiring Mosgiel hens are looking for new nests.

Brougham Park Poultry Farm owner Chris Wilson (78), of Mosgiel, said she was closing the enterprise she and her husband built in Factory Rd.

After more than 40 years of running the poultry farm, Mrs Wilson has decided to close it, sell the house and retire.

‘‘I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘That's it'.''

She and husband Arthur, who died from asbestosis three years ago, started the business from nothing, she said.

‘‘It's been a great life. The hens have been good to us. I've loved it.''

The work included marketing eggs at the Otago Farmers Market for eight years.

The farm usually had about 10,000 hens and about 3000, caged and free range, remained for sale. They ranged in age from 18 months to 2 years.

‘‘I'm selling them to whoever wants some chooks for their backyard.''

The 4.8ha property was under negotiation and the new owner did not want the land for a poultry farm, she said.

Legally, the hens could not be sold to another commercial farm and she hoped all would be sold by the time the business closed about the end of the month.

The hens were on sale for between $5 and $10 each and the price depended on the birds' age.

In retirement, she would continue to live in Mosgiel but planned more overseas travel, Mrs Wilson said.

Animal rights activist Tayla O'Driscoll (20) said she was leading a group campaigning to help the hens find ‘‘loving'' homes.

''Most of us are vegans, so we don't eat eggs, but we are focused on finding homes for the hens.''

The group wanted compassionate people to save the remaining hens from being culled when the business closed, she said.

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