The rags to riches tale of Samlesbury Hall’s rescue hens

A BROOD of rescued hens have become prolific egg layers after moving from battery cages

to the grounds of a stately home in the ultimate rags to riches tale.

The hens of historic Samlesbury Hall, near Preston, arrived featherless and blinking at the

sunshine in December.

But they are already rewarding staff and visitors to the Grade I-listed property for their

extreme change in fortunes with a plentiful supply of eggs for the hall’s homemade treats

and puddings.

Sharon Jones, Samlesbury Hall director, explained the experience had been heartwarming

for everyone involved.

“They were a sad sight when they first arrived,” she said.

“But the flock quickly settled into life here at the hall.

“It’s quite a turnaround for them, going from a caged environment to a free range lifestyle in

the grounds of a stately home.

“Everyone loves having them here, they’re such characters, and they are helping to provide

a vital ingredient for our homemade food with zero food miles.”

Samlesbury Hall, which is open to the public all year round, is run by a charitable trust.

The team had already previously rescued some hens, but they had space for some new

additions to their feathered family.

They took in 25 commercial hens from a rescue charity which would otherwise have been

destined for slaughter.

Now gleaming with full feathers and good health, the happy hens spend their days out in the

sunshine with their every need catered for.

The result is that they now lay enough eggs for the Samlesbury Hall chefs to use in their

tasty menu as well as supplying Dotties, the nation’s first dedicated wafflery, with their all-

important ingredient.

Sharon explained the team now hope to rescue more hens in the future.

“People travel to us from all over the country to enjoy a tour of the hall, soak up its history

and atmosphere and then treat themselves to freshly made waffles at Dotties,” she added.

“We pride ourselves on using only locally sourced ingredients and there can be nothing

fresher than eggs from our own brood of hens.

“It’s been an incredible experience to watch them arrive in fairly poor health and to see their

transformation into happy, healthy, glossy individuals in a relatively short period of time.

“The fact that they are now providing so many eggs for the kitchens is a fantastic bonus for

everyone here.”


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