Leila Scobie, one of our amazing Team Scotland volunteers shares her journey from hen welfare to creating The Happy Hen Hotel.
Our hen journey began some eight years ago, when we were debating what pets could fit into our busy schedules. After much debate, we made the decision to get some hens. Having done some research, we looked into rescues and rehoming and found the British Hen Welfare Trust. After registering and booking three hens for collection from Great Totham in Essex, we purchased the coop, feeders, drinkers, food, treats and bedding ready for the arrival of our rescues. It was at this moment that we realised that we had space for more than three, so adjusted our figure to four and then five! These five ladies started a hen addiction which we are so proud to have.
As time went by, we purchased even more coops and dog crates…or hen hospitals as we call them. Soon enough, we became the calling point for any friends, or friends-of-friends that needed help and advice with their own little flock. Through a mixture of rehoming and donations, our number quickly rose from five.
In 2016 we decided to make the move from Essex to a more rural location in Scotland, offering much more space for hens. This is also when I moved from being a fundraiser for the BHWT to a volunteer. Inevitably, this resulted in many more hens joining our flock, and subsequently, our circle of hen-owning friends widening considerably.
Now, with 40 hens, the various coops which we had purchased needed an upgrade, and using some imagination we converted a children’s play shed into a lovely new coop for the girls. This meant that we now had five coops with fox-proof runs which were effectively redundant. This was the beginning of the Happy Hen Hotel.
We began by taking care of our friend’s hens and often helped out when people were moving house for example, or even when we have looked after a bully hen to allow the others to establish their order for a few days. So, the idea of a hen-hotel felt like a natural next step. The idea has gone down very well across our local area and we have the added bonus of even more hens coming to stay! The Happy Hens Hotel can be found on Facebook, and is available for any hen owners who like the comfort of knowing their hens are well looked after and safe from predators when they are away on holiday or otherwise engaged for any reason.