ex-battery hen with jumper

Do Recovering Ex-battery Hens Need to Wear Hen Coats?

Here at the BHWT, we are often asked if recovering ex-battery hens need to wear hen coats or jumpers when they first venture outside. We strive to encourage quality pet hen health and hen welfare, but the truth is jumpers are not only unnecessary, but they can also be dangerous too.

Here are some reasons why ex-battery hens don’t need to wear hen coats:

  1.  Hens 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 upset 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  Your new hens will soon start to explore their new surroundings, pecking 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.
  4. Dust bathing and preening are vital activities that keep parasites at bay, feathers in good working order and help your hens to 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 maintain 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 and 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-battery hens, visit our caring for Newly Re-homed Hens page.

If you’d like advice on your hen’s health, why not visit our Hen Health page, where we discuss important things to look for in your hen’s health, whether its personality or physical symptoms. Or, head to our Hen Examination Guidelines where we can show you where to find things like the crop or the wattle.

If you need to seek medical advice, click here to find your nearest Hen Friendly Vet.
You can also call Hen Central on 01884 860084 to speak to one of our rehoming assistants.

Giving a gift today helps fund our Hen Helpline. It helps support hen keepers, giving them the best advice on how to care for their hens. If you have found our advice helpful, please consider giving a gift towards the hen helpline here.

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