Adoption comes with a range of rules and regulations to keep the little ones safe when they join someone else’s flock. And now the same is true for chickens.
A charity which rehomes the birds is demanding that would-be owners send dated photos of their coops to prove they are appropriate after the animals became an unlikely lockdown trend.
Keeping chickens has surged in popularity since March, with tens of thousands looking to adopt to ensure a good supply of eggs.
But Fresh Start for Hens, which rehouses farmed chickens which are past their prime, now forces people to prove they have the right facilities.
Some have lied about conditions to buy chickens. They have sent in edited photos and images from the internet to persuade staff that they have a lockable coop to keep the birds safe from predators and enough space for them to run around.
Operations director Jaki Hann told the BBC: ‘People were sending us doctored images and ones from the internet.
‘Now we insist someone includes a piece of paper in their photograph with that day’s date handwritten on it.’
The charity has been offering farmers an alternative to killing their chickens when they pass their peak egg-laying years since it was founded in 2008.
Mrs Hann said the demand for chickens went ‘absolutely crazy’ after lockdown.
‘We had to introduce a waiting list for the first time and so far we’ve had 9,480 people register, requesting a total of 52,106 hens.’