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Improving your experience with your vet

We are lucky to have affiliations and connections with a whole heap of leading veterinarians and clinical staff across the country. We have many vets and veterinary nurses at the adoption days that you attend, where you will see them ensuring your lucky ladies reach you with a full MOT and help if required. Their help does not end there, we have vets across the country working closely with the charity ensuring they provide the highest level of care to backyard poultry cases. The charity has been involved with creating the world first online poultry resource in 2023, the online module (MOOC) for the University of Nottingham in 2022 (featured in VetRecord), and we have countless resources accessed by hundreds of vets around the world (including YouTube). We continue to make sure that the welfare of hens on farm, at home and when they need us is above and beyond the highest standards of welfare. We thank every single one of our veterinary communities for being a part of this journey and work. We look forward to continuing to work with the profession to change the lives of millions more.

Why vets are so important

With all the veterinary work we have accomplished, you can see why we value vets and veterinary nurses as much as we do. Vets commit their career (and life) to an oath with a promise to put animal welfare at the core of what they do. Their long studies, long hours and personal sacrifices can sometimes be forgotten or go unnoticed when an owner faces a difficult situation or a large veterinary bill. We understand that with the global climate and post COVID life, there have been a lot of financial changes across all industries. We recognise the barriers and bridges that can be in place when seeking help – we offer the Hen Helpline to bridge this gap and ensure you feel supported and directed to the appropriate resource.

Whilst it is never pleasant or wanted to be at a veterinary practice seeking emergency help during worrying times, we know hundreds of vets and veterinary nurses that would go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your hen is happy, healthy, and given the best chances.

How you can improve your experience

We now lead onto what could be the most important piece of the article for our supporters. How can you get the best experience for your hen.

We have a couple of practical handy tips:

  1. Know who your vets are. We have a Hen Friendly list which is kept up to date by the charity. Our Hen Helpline team can help directing you to appropriate practices.
  2. Register to the practice before you have an emergency. Get to know who the poultry vet or exotics team are before you urgently need them. Have their OOH number handy on your fridge.
  3. Have a carrier and emergency kit ready. Like with your cats and dogs, make sure you have a carrier ready to transport your hen in times of need. We recommend a soft blanket for the bottom of the carrier to ensure a smooth journey. We also recommend having a note of your hens’ medications, husbandry details, previous weights, and history at the ready. A small bag of your hens’ feed in case of overnight stay will also be beneficial.
  4. Take a photo or video. Sometimes our hens do strange things, and they will be completely normal within the consult room. We all know they like to have fun and games with us! However, you can make it easier for your vet to understand the issue. Take a photo or video of the issue and show your vet your concerns. It also helps to record your concerns on a timeline. This helps with long-term cases and reviewing improvements.
  5. Make the journey less stressful. Pre-call the vets to let them know a hen is on their way. Know the route to your vets. Have a blanket to cover the front of the carrier, if necessary, but make sure ventilation holes are open elsewhere. Sit in the corner of the waiting room away from other animals or ask to wait in your car until they are ready.
  6. Comfort your hen. If you vet is happy to take your hen out of the carrier and perform a clinical examination, that is fantastic. But always feel free to provide the support and care that you would like to. Whether that is words of comfort to your hen, or a simple reassuring light hold – your hen’s comfort comes first. Your vet is there to help you both feel at ease.
  7. Work with your veterinary team. With social media, and wider publicity, it is understandable to hear that many vets are cautious when approached with new owners and different species. Have confidence the moment you enter the consulting room, that you are in safe hands. Providing your vet with a clear history and understanding of what is worrying you, and your own expectations will help them provide the service you would like to experience. Sometimes it is hard to remember everything you want to say, so pre-written notes can help. There may be instances where your vet is unsure and would like to seek a second opinion – the more minds the better. With their expertise in fact finding, problem-solving and working with fellow veterinarians, we ask all our supporters to have faith that whilst a vet cannot answer every question in that moment, they can work with you to solve a problem. They are far better than Dr. Google!

Also…

  1. Trust. Leading on from the above, we ask for you to trust the veterinary profession. If you are not happy speak directly to the practice and discuss what can be done better next time. It is far too easy to leave a negative review online, and sometimes we can forget there is a person (with a family) that will take that comment with them throughout their career. We can all make a positive difference to hen welfare. If you are still concerned, please speak to our team and we can work with the profession.  
  2. Follow-up. Call your vet with any concerns including medicine withdrawal times, improvements or declines, management questions. It is impossible to remember everything, and vets will happily answer your queries even after you have left the building.

We thank all our veterinary community for their hard work and continual support in making our hens happy and healthy.

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