A Wigan organisation can resume its work saving the lives of thousands of hens as restrictions to prevent the spread of bird flu are lifted.
The Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs has announced that all poultry will be allowed outside from tomorrow.
It means that Lucky Hens Rescue North West can once again save caged hens from slaughter and find them new homes.
The Amberswood-based community interest company has not been able to rehome hens since restrictions were introduced in December to prevent the spread of avian flu.
Director Alison Thorpe said: “I’m beyond pleased, I’m ecstatic. The dark cloud has been lifted off my shoulder.
“We could have saved over 1,000 birds over the last few months. It’s a lot of lives that would have been saved that have sadly gone for slaughter.”
Plans are now being made for Lucky Hens’ next rehoming day, which will be held from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, April 29.
Mrs Thorpe hopes to be able to save at least 300 hens that day and people can get in touch to express their interest in adopting hens.
She said: “I have a reserve list of people who have been waiting and champing at the bit.
“They have been waiting since December. There must be at least 80 people waiting.”
The Government’s announcement finally signals light at the end of the tunnel for Lucky Hens.
The organisation has rescued more than 20,000 hens since it was set up in 2010.
But Mrs Thorpe feared the bird flu restrictions could force her to close down Lucky Hens, as there was no income without donations from the birds’ new owners.
She opened a fund-raising shop in Hindley in February which has proved to be a big success.
Mrs Thorpe said: “The shop secured us from closure. This means we will be able to create more revenue to help fund the building of the barn and better facilities for the animals.”
The shop has been so popular that Mrs Thorpe is now looking for larger premises.
She is also struggling to accept donations for stock as she has been inundated since the shop opened.
Mrs Thorpe said: “The shop was something I felt I had no choice but to do. I had to do something to save the rescue from closure.
“People obviously don’t want it to close because they have been so generous with the donations.”
To adopt hens, go to www. luckyhensrescuenorthwest. weebly.com.