RSPCA’s 5 freedoms

Keeping any pet is a responsibility and hens are no exception. As hen owners we have a duty to ensure that as far as possible all their physical and mental needs are being addressed.

The RSPCA list 5 freedoms that any animal should be able to enjoy:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: By ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
  2. Freedom from Discomfort: By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease: By providing appropriate preventative measures, along with rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour: By providing for species specific requirements with respect to space, enrichment and social needs
  5. Freedom from Fear and Distress: By ensuring species specific conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

In reality this translates as providing access to free range space, somewhere to scratch about and forage for bugs and a dust bath area to keep their feathers in tip top condition. Good food and access to clean water and shelter and safety from predators are essential.

Finally always seek advice and appropriate treatment is your hen seems unwell or injured.

Visit our Hen Health page for more advice, view our Hen Examination Guidelines or click here to Find Your Nearest Hen Friendly Vet.

If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email gaynor.davies@bwht.co.uk or call Hen Central on 01884 860084. To support our Advice Line we ask for a nominal donation to help fund this service, so that we can continue to help your hens.

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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