Waikato animal sanctuary in race against time to save thousands of chickens

The sanctuary has until ANZAC weekend to find homes for the birds
The sanctuary has until ANZAC weekend to find homes for the birds Photo credit: File / Getty

An animal sanctuary in Waikato is in a race against time to find homes for thousands of chickens. 

Sally Hart of Franklin Farm Sanctuary says she got a call on Wednesday telling her a battery farm in the area had been forced to abruptly close down, leaving 2000 chickens facing the prospect of being culled if they couldn't be rehoused somewhere else.

Battery farms are currently being phased out of New Zealand, with all of them to be gone by the end of 2022. 

With more and more farms being decommissioned, Hart says she oftens gets called in to find homes for chickens facing the chopping block.

"It is common - I try to do up to 10,000 a year," she told Newshub.

"But it's a time-consuming process and it's just me - I am Franklin Farm Sanctuary."

Hart had just finished finding homes for 1000 other chickens when she received her latest challenge. She had more than two months to find new homes for those birds, but was given just one week for the latest batch.

The deadline has now been extended to ANZAC weekend, but it's still a race against the clock.

"This one was just dumped on me and I've got two weeks to find 2000 homes," she says.

After posting about the "chicken emergency" on Facebook she says there has been a great response from people in both urban and rural areas interested in adopting some of the birds.

So far she's had more than 300 requests - with some people wanting one or two chickens while others after as many as 12.

"There's been lots and lots of interest, which has been so fantastic."

She says it's not just people living on farms who are taking the birds, but "normal Kiwis with big old hearts and space in their backyard".

"They have to be going to pet-only homes where they're going to be able to live out their lives and have a nice amount of space and a coop and all the things that an animal deserves."

And despite the enormous challenge ahead of her, Hart remains optimistic all the birds will be saved.

"It feels impossible, but we will get there."

Anyone interested in adopting a chicken can do so on Franklin Farm Sanctuary's webpage.