In a recent article for The Daily Telegraph, columnist Rowan Pelling questions the joy and satisfaction that comes from keeping hens. This obviously came as a shock to the BHWT team, and we know many of our supporters will be equally aghast at the suggestion that hens aren’t cosy-option pets.
Here at Hen Central, we’re contacted all day every day, by people who have rehomed hens from us and are absolutely besotted with their ‘prehistoric’ pets (yes, we agree that hens are remarkably dinosaur like, but we think this makes them even more fascinating and unique!).
Below are just a few examples of hens cosying up with their owners, sister hens and fellow household pets. These chickens haven’t had the best start in life, but they’re quickly able to adapt to a new way of living and show love and gratitude in return. Well, boundless curiosity and cheekiness at least!
If you haven’t had hens, we understand that it might be hard to imagine just how much pleasure they can bring and what sweet characters they have.
What we can’t get our head around, is how many eggs is too many? Okay, so we can only eat so many eggs in one day, and yes, tortilla can get a bit bland, but what about the omelettes, pancakes, frittatas, cakes, quiches and egg sandwiches? Not to mention the breakfast options… There’s a reason that 7.19 million cases of eggs were packed in UK egg packing stations during the second quarter of 2019 (Source: DEFRA 2019).
What’s more, when you have a glut of eggs, there’s always a neighbour, colleague or friend in need and what better than sharing some of your freshly laid free-range eggs with them?! Many of our rehomers have joined our BHWT Egg Club where they sell their girls’ eggs and donate the proceeds back to us to help us rehome even more chickens. We like to think of it as hens helping hens.
We won’t argue with the fact that the girls do start to slow down their laying habits during the winter months. It’s cold, miserable and dark and if us humans find the seasonal changes a bit challenging, we can’t blame our feathered friends for slowing down a bit too.
There are many different types of chicken and all can be good pets, as author Damian Barr has found out through his love for Bantams and Pekins. We might be biased, but we firmly believe that our hens make the very best pets. Rehoming hens that are otherwise destined for slaughter brings with it a deep joy in not only knowing you have saved a hen’s life, but you’re giving her the chance to experience life beyond the farm and with that comes a real sense of fulfilment.
On the whole, keeping hens as pets might have its challenges, as with any pet, but there’s nothing more satisfying than watching a newly rehomed hen have her first wander around the garden, getting to know the feel of grass beneath her feet and the sights and sounds of the outside world. As you watch her grow into a confident, inquisitive and friendly little bird, the joys of keeping chickens (particularly ex-commercial laying chickens) will stay with you for a very, very long time.