Mama Hen to spend the night with her birds

A Moira woman who has rescued over 4,000 hens at her Nut Hill Road shelter over the years will be braving the elements to spend a night with some of them.

Barbara Mladek who runs the Northern Ireland Battery Hen Rescue (Nut House Hen Rescue) made a promise to herself that should her Facebook page reach 2,000 likes she would spend one night in the hen house.

A week ago Barbara, also affectionately known as Mama Hen, reached the total and so decided to turn the sleepover due to take place on March 1 into a fundraiser. Barbara hopes to raise enough money to help build more shelter and sheds for the hens.

“I am hoping I can raise awareness of the plight of these beautiful creatures who deserve some time of freedom to be real hens,” said Mama Hen. “The love they show and the intelligence they display makes them perfect pets.”

Barbara who at the end of 2013 won a national Animal Action Award from the The International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) was presented with it in the House of Lords by Bill Oddie.

She founded her shelter three years ago after the death of her dog Saffi. She started off with just four pet hens.

Before long she had 24 and with the help of Mike Morfett of City Vets in Ravenhill (nominated for UK Vet of the Year) she was introduced to her first ex-battery hens.

When the first ex-battery hens died in her arms from egg-yolk peritonitis Barbara was desperate to help others. She phoned local farms who were ‘depopulating’ their hens and successfully re-homed 34 others.

She soon received calls about another 70 who also needed homes. So desperate was she to save them that she founded the Northern Ireland Battery Hen Rescue which has to date saved up to 4,126 hens since 2011 as well as countless ducks, quail, turkeys and cockerels.

For more information log onto the charity facebook page which is