I am often asked if recovering ex-bats need to wear hen coats when they first venture outside and I am first in line to encourage the proper care and keeping of pet chickens, but the truth is jumpers are not only unnecessary, they can be dangerous too.
- Chickens are able to naturally regulate their temperature and in the colder winter months they eat more to increase their temperature and stay warm. Hen coats upsets this natural process, and if your hens get caught out in the rain their knitted coats can become wet and heavy and very uncomfortable for your hens if not removed immediately.
- Hen coats can interfere with the natural re-growth process, causing damage to new feather growth. These new emerging feathers are called pin feathers, and are very sensitive and will bleed if cut or injured.
- Your new hens will soon start to explore their new surroundings, rootling around for bugs and creating new dust baths. During these adventures your hens can become caught up in their hen coats, causing a great deal of discomfort and if left undiscovered could cause damage too.
- Dust bathing and preening are vital activities that keep parasite at bay, feathers in good working order and help your hens stay healthy. If your hens cannot toss dirt into their feathers due to the restriction of the hen coat, they are in turn unable to maintaining their own hygiene and health.
Most hens will soon feather up if given a cosy coop and warm drinks during the winter months, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they blossom. They usually start to re-feather within a few weeks and look amazing within a couple of months!
Here at Hen Central we regularly receive knitted jumpers to sell on our shop, lovingly knitted by kind supporters, but sadly as we do not promote the use of hen coats we are unable to use them. So for those of our kind supporters with knitting talents, could we ask that you think about knitting egg cosies or small knitted toys instead, as these we can sell and they always go down very well.
To find out more about caring for ex-bats, visit our caring for Newly Re-homed Hens page.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084. To support our Advice Line we ask for a nominal donation to help fund this service, so that we can continue to help your hens.