Improving Pet Hen Health

What is the British Hen Welfare Trust?

The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) is a UK registered national charity best known for its rehoming work, saving the lives of 60,000+ commercial laying hens annually and rehoming them as family pets. Established in 2005 by Jane Howorth MBE the charity also informs consumers about how they can influence hen welfare through their shopping basket, educates schoolchildren about the pleasures of hen keeping and promotes the UK egg industry in growing its free-range sector.

The charity has more than 50,000 supporters, 900 volunteers and 15 salaried staff, and its funding comes largely from donations for hens and other fundraising initiatives.

One of the charity’s key strategic aims is to see improvement in veterinary knowledge of pet hens, including diagnosis, management and treatment options.

To this end in 2021 we are proud to announce that the British Hen Welfare Trust is able to fund grants to undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary students, as well as veterinary nurses. One grant has has been kindly co-funded by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) for the first two years.

What we fund

Applications are invited from students wishing to undertake research that will improve and benefit the quality of health, welfare and longevity of pet chickens. We only fund research that will be based in the UK.

Each project, regardless of the size of the grant, will be assessed and rated on whether it is:
• Feasible
• Interesting
• Original
• Ethical
• Relevant

Applicants from vets in practice, who do not have access to an ethical review through a university, are advised to apply for one through the RCVS Ethics Review Panel. Please note that no clinical project will be funded without an ethical review. This will include lab-based research in which samples from live or dead hens are examined.

The RCVS provides further guidance on Recognised Veterinary Practiceand Ethical Review as well as information on their Ethics Review Panel.

We are especially interested in receiving applications for studies that will have a rapid and positive impact on the way diseases or other health issues in hens are diagnosed, managed and treated in general practice as well as at a specialist level. However, we welcome any application that will improve or benefit any aspect of pet hen welfare, longevity or wellbeing. It is hoped that any information arising from this research will be disseminated to vets and pet hen owners.

Apply for veterinary research grants into chickens

It’s widely accepted that there’s a distinct lack of research into chickens. And we know from the popularity of our own Hen Helpline just how little veterinary support there is for hen keepers. One of the ways we’re trying to change that and improve life for our hens is by attracting enthusiastic applicants for our small grants programme.

We have six grants available, one of which is being co-funded by the prestigious British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) PetSavers.

These grants are open to vet nurses and students and are for research into the behaviour and welfare of chickens which is vital for improving pet hen health. Read on to find out about the terms and conditions and eligibility criteria.