MAYOR of Dorchester Tess James has welcomed four new additions to the family, The county town’s first citizen has added to her busy workload for the forthcoming year by taking on four ex-battery hens that were destined for slaughter.

Coun James has kept hens for the past seven years and was inspired to take in the four girls after reading an article about the British Hen Welfare Trust.

She adopted Flora, Dora, May and Ivy through the Trust, which re-homes laying hens that have come to the end of their commercial laying life and educates the public about hen welfare.

The mayor said: “My four new girls are settling in really well.

“It was lovely to see them enjoying the fresh air, sunlight and freedom for the very first time.

“It is amazing how much they have come on in their first 48 hours of freedom, scratching around and getting used to their new hen house.

“It was a very special moment when I saw them laying outside in the sunshine, wings spread out, eyes closed – literally sunbathing.”

Coun James added: “Flora, Dora, May and Ivy were enjoying their first taste of free-ranging so much that they just wanted to stay busy outside, and it was a lot of fun trying to get them into the hen house for the evening.”