Two animal sanctuaries in west Cumbria have teamed up to raise more than £2,000 to save 4,000 chickens from the slaughterhouse.

The hens weren't laying eggs quickly enough to keep up with the industry which led to Mel James, from Ani-Mel Sanctuary, and Emma Kelt, from Forever Friends, to take on the challenge of saving them all.

They managed to raise the funds to buy all 4,000 after appealing on Facebook. The post generated more than 400 shares and people from around the world started to donate to their cause.

The pair couldn't believe how quickly they had raised the cash: "absolutely amazed at the response and the support. We were getting donations from America, Barbados, you name it, they came in. People loved the story and wanted to do their bit to help."

The birds are missing a few feathers. Mel said: "As they were commercially farmed, they start pecking each other's feathers.

"Along with that, and along with it being a malting time of year, a lot of them end up looking a bit scruffy and a bit scraggly. But they do grow back, eventually."

The rescuers have already resettled 300 hens, with more people waiting in the wings to adopt them. They hope to rehome each and every one.

"It's quite heartbreaking, when you see them and you realise their egg production days are commercially over. But they're still laying eggs now. You know? They've still got a life and for people to support us and come out and offer loving homes, I can't put it into words", Mel James said.

Thousands of chickens were destined for the dinner table until Mel stepped in. Credit: ITV Border

If anyone wants to give a home to one of these ladies get in touch.