Dean gives hens spectacular home

Frances Ward, the dean of Bury St Edmunds cathedral, has rescued battery hens and keeps them at the deanery''Pictured: Frances Ward, Dean of Bury St Edmunds Cathedral
Frances Ward, the dean of Bury St Edmunds cathedral, has rescued battery hens and keeps them at the deanery''Pictured: Frances Ward, Dean of Bury St Edmunds Cathedral
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THE HAPPY clucking of rescued battery hens has become a curious feature for many people passing St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The ‘ladies’, as the dean of the cathedral affectionately calls them, were welcomed into the lives of the Very Rev Dr Frances Ward and her family in March.

Although cautious about exploring at first, they can now often be found wandering outside of the deanery, near the statue of St Edmunds, among the ruins of the abbey and by St Mary’s Church, returning home at night.

The free-roamers, who were re-homed through Little Hen Rescue which rescues all types of poultry from slaughter, rarely lay eggs in their nesting boxes, preferring instead to encourage their owners to carry out regular egg hunts.

“When they first came, they were really scrawny and didn’t have feathers but they’re looking really good now”, said Dr Ward.

“They just make such lovely noises, it’s a very comforting sound and really de-stressing,” she added.

The flock started as eight but one was given away because it was being hen-pecked and four others have died, two naturally and two because of interference from dogs, although Dr Ward says people now know to keep their dogs under control and she is looking forward to re-homing more in the near future.