12,000 free range chickens in North Yorkshire are hoping for a Christmas miracle

About 12,000 free-range hens destined for slaughter have been given a chance for a last-minute reprieve.
About 12,000 free-range hens destined for slaughter have been given a chance for a last-minute reprieve.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ELLIE SEELS

NORTH YORKSHIRE - They have led carefree lives and helped lay eggs for breakfast tables across Britain - but now 12,000 free-range hens destined for slaughter on Monday (Nov 21) have been given the chance of a last-minute "Chicken Run".

The hens are being offered to the public for £1 (S$1.76) each by owner Sheena Seels from Babthorpe Hall Farm, near Selby in North Yorkshire, reported British newspaper Daily Mail.

According to Ms Seels, the hens will continue laying eggs for years. However, her client who buys the eggs wants the flock to be changed every 13 months before the shell quality deteriorates.

Her daughter, Ellie, 18, posted about the Bovan Brown hens on her Facebook account and the post has since been shared more than 3,000 times.

The Mail reported that some 1,000 birds had received reprieves by Saturday (Nov 19) afternoon.

Ellie, a university equine sports student, said: "We are hoping for an early Christmas miracle.The hens have a lovely temperament and just need a bit of space to roam. It seems a shame for them to go to slaughter. They will save people a lot of money on buying eggs."