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Learn About Hens

Search & Filter by Anatomy and Symptoms

  • Affected Anatomy

  • Symptoms

Comb and Wattles

Comb & Wattles

The comb sits on top of the hen’s head and in a healthy hen is likely to be red, plump and glossy, this often denotes she’s in lay.

Hen Dropping


Diarrhoea is defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day. There are many causes for diarrhoea such as infection, dietary imbalance or internal parasites: stress and environmental factors can also play a part.

Hen Looking at Egg

Egg Eating

It can be very frustrating to find broken eggshell in a nest box and to find that the hens have started an egg eating habit. Caged hens never get to see their own eggs as they roll away once laid so sitting on them is a novelty and sometimes the weight of the hen can break a fragile shell.

Elderly Hen

Elderly Hens

As with any other pet, hens suffer from age-related problems and may need extra attention as they age, but with good care hens can live beyond six years with certain breeds living to the ripe old age of 10 years or more.

Hermaphrodite Hen


It is a well-documented fact that female chickens (hens) can take on the characteristics and behaviour of male chickens and essentially turn into cockerels.

Hen Moulting


Moulting is a normal process and all part of a hen’s natural cycle and it allows hens to shed damaged or loose feathers and replace them with a fresh set.

Obese Chicken

Obesity in Chickens

The dangers of feeding our cats and dogs too many treats are well known. However, being treat-wise applies not only to our four-legged friends, but to our feathered friends too.

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Chickens have a specialised system for getting oxygen into their bodies and removing carbon dioxide. In doing so they employ an efficient combination of two methods to obtain oxygen, allowing them to indulge in highly energetic activities such as flying and running.

Uropygial Gland

Uropygial Gland (Preen or Oil Gland)

Owners of feather-bare ex-bats will sometimes report a strange growth or tumour at the base of the hen’s tail. This is a normal part of a hen’s anatomy, called the uropygial gland.

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All hens adopted through the British Hen Welfare Trust have received the full set of vaccinations required by commercial systems.

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