National Hugging Day takes place on 21 January and the British Hen Welfare Trust is encouraging people to pick up their feathered friends and give them a gentle squeeze!
They’re bound to be in need of a good hug by now as they have been cooped up since 6 December, when an Avian Flu Prevention Zone was put in place by Defra.
The prevention zone is in place until 28 February, but this doesn’t stop hen keepers visiting the girls in their hen house for a cuddle.
Hens, and in particular ex-bats, are truly affectionate creatures and a hug can make all the difference to their wellbeing.
“Hens will benefit from some affection now more than ever especially whilst under lockdown”, said Jane Howorth MBE, charity founder. 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.”
The charity has built up a passionate supporter base since hatching in 2005 – many of whom enjoy hugging their hens regularly! And as with all animals this type of contact can help the wellbeing not just of the hens, but the people who keep them too.
Jane Dorling and her family collected their three hens, Ginger, Goldie and Cockerel, from the BHWT in September 2015. Jane told us: “Keeping chickens has really helped our family, they are great fun. My three sons have been looking after them!”
Dawn Mildren, who collected her hens from Balham, Suffolk said, “My hens love a cuddle from my granddaughter. They even come indoors looking for her!”
The British Hen Welfare Trust is well-known for its pioneering work in re-homing commercial laying hens and through its nationwide team of 450+ volunteers has found pet homes for more than 550,000 hens. As well as finding homes for hens, the charity also educates the public on how they can make a difference to hen welfare through their shopping basket and eating habits.