Today is National Hugging Day – and animal lovers are being encouraged to hug a hen.
Jill Sykes helps find homes for hens, that are facing death, with loving families in the North-east.
The birds have been cooped up since December 6 when an Avian Flu Prevention Zone was put in place by Defra.
The prevention zone is in place until February 28 but that does not stop hen keepers visiting their girls in their hen house for a cuddle.
Jill rehomes hens in the North-east on behalf of national charity, the British Hen Welfare Trust.
She has 10 rescue hens and one cockerel staying on her farm near Stonehaven.
She said the animals will benefit from the affection while on lockdown.
The 59-year-old said: “People often don’t realise how tame these birds are, and we just love seeing pictures of happy hen hugs once they’ve become much-loved family members.
“We have one hen that is like a dog and follows you everywhere and likes the attention.
“Another is not as friendly and is quite nervous.”
All the hens that Jill has have been rescued from a Scottish factory.
The British Hen Welfare Trust was started in 2005 and has a passionate supporter base, and has found homes for more than 500,000 hens.
Jill added: “They are rescued from a factory where they have been egg laying machines, but they are due to be killed at 18 months.
“They all still lay eggs but not to the industrial standard.
“The last time we went to the factory we rescued about 600 hens and brought them back here.
“They were re-homed to about 50 families in the area.
“It is mainly people living in the countryside but some people do have a couple in the city.”
As well as finding homes for thousands of hens, the charity also educates the public on how they can make a difference to hen welfare through their shopping basket and eating habits.