Easier to train than puppies and just as chipper, 100 chickens at the Sonoma Humane Society are awaiting new homes.

The 2-year-old brown and red hens have so far spent their lives producing eggs for an undisclosed California egg farm. They were brought to the Humane Society on Monday.

"We hope they can spend their retirement years as a companion," said Kiska Icard, Humane Society executive director.

The hens were among 356 set to be slaughtered until the Grass Valley farm animal sanctuary Animal Place offered to take the birds.

Chickens on large farms generally produce eggs until they're about 2 years old, said Kim Sturla, Animal Farm's executive director.

Sanctuary staff collected the birds on Feb. 24 and brought them to a Vacaville farm where they were evaluated by veterinarians, Sturla said.

"This particular group are all healthy," Sturla said.

Some hens have lost feathers but were expected to recover quickly with food, sun and shelter, she said. They will have an easier recovery from the demands of production than about 1,200 leghorn-cross hens rescued in 2005 from a Gilroy farm where they were kept in crowded cages.

Sonoma Humane Society received 100 bedraggled hens then, and they were quickly adopted, Icard said.

The current hens should be ready for adoption as soon as Wednesday, Icard said. A good home will have a yard and a safe nighttime structure. Adoption costs $10.


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Though they're past their egg-laying prime, "it's very likely that these ladies will produce some lovely eggs for their adopters," Icard said.

Contact the Sonoma Humane Society at 542-0882 for adoption information, or see www.sonomahumane.org.

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