Hensus 2014 – about you and your hens

We had over 1300 respondents to our Hensus 2014 so thank you to all of our supporters who took the time to complete the survey.

Just some of the things we learned

Karen Brelsford -Skye
Karen Brelsford’s Skye
  • On average our re-homers keep five hens
  • More than 60% keep pure breeds as well
  • Just over two thirds are new to hen keeping
  • The most popular names are Betty, Daisy and Dora (Dora the Explorer!)
  • 40% of our re-homers inspire family and friends to adopt more hens

Where the girls live

Åsa Andersson - Elsa
Åsa Andersson – Elsa

From their previous habitat, the hens have undoubtedly moved onto more salubrious surroundings;

  • 14% residing in town gardens
  • 35% living the good life in suburbia
  • 45% becoming country girls
  • 3% retiring to an allotment

“They come in to the house in the winter and curl up in the dog beds with the dogs”

“We had one (Spud) live in our bedroom for the first 4 weeks of her new life and now when we go out and sit in the garden she jumps straight on our backs and makes a happy noise”


What the girls eat

Aimee Poole’s Ethel

Mealworms and corn remain popular treats with the occasional bread and fruit being proffered to the extra spoilt girls

  • 51% base your feed choice on quality
  • 59% purchase more commonly from a country store

“They’ll do anything for mealworm; they run as fast as their legs will carry them as soon as they see you coming with the mealworm bag, and then crowd your feet and jump up until they get their fix”

“They troop into the kitchen and tap on the cupboard door that contains the cake tins!”

“They break in to the kitchen to climb into the guinea pig pen to steal their food”


What the girls get up to

Hen trying to steal food
Simon Shaw’s Iris

Well they certainly seem to be a mischievous lot based on the some of the comments from our re-homers!

“They follow my boyfriend around the garden encircling him and getting under his feet so he can’t move in any direction. They stand there looking up at him expectantly. It has me in stitches.”

“One of them, Hattie, occasionally breaks away from the group when free ranging in the garden and will come into the sitting room and watch TV (prefers cartoons)”

“Steal biscuits from innocent bystanders, peck varnished toe nails and lay eggs in the cat’s bed”

Hen Health

Marcella, our poultry vet
Marcella, our poultry vet

An important aspect of our work is to help with hen health and it seems one of the biggest concerns is bullying.  Over half use the internet as a resource and more and more are choosing to call our BHWT Advice Line.

  • Over two thirds of you worm your hens every three to six months
  • 16% admit to never worming
  • 60% are indulged in vitamins and supplements


boiled-egg-imgWe can’t talk about hens without mentioning eggs; it seems there was no overriding preference for egg colour, it is taste and freshness that count.

  • 60% of you enjoy boiled eggs
  • 40% love tucking in to a Full English Breakfast
  • Only 7% of you mind if your hens don’t pop out an egg