It’s nearly the start of the new school year! The Summer is racing by (though with the weather it already feels like September). We have been busy over the summer, looking after the hens and ducks along with getting prepped for sending the birds back to school.
We have been busy getting jobs done on the farm, new electrics are being put into the hen barn (a bit of a work in progress). Lots of work has been done in the horse and pony fields, we have been creating a walking track system in the big pastures, to get them moving and burn some calories. The hay is being cut and bailed so they will all have hay to eat over the winter.
We have been keeping a secret we had 2 new ponies join the herd at the start of April, Fred & Bear that came from the Blue Cross. The new boys have been settling in slowly and getting into the swing of things here at Hens HQ. Early this month they have joined the Positive Ponies, Tom and Harvey in their paddock and have been making friends. They have also begun their training and we hope that they will Tom & Harvey on school visits in the future. Our poor horse box has been off the road for most of the summer break due to breaking down on the last day of hen collections. It is now back and sporting a new cam belt ready for a busy September.
We have also been doing lots of planning for new activities for the coming school year, lots of EGGciting things coming your way!
Hello 2023! so we are still under the Avian Housing Order in England. The poultry have enjoyed an extended holiday here at Hens HQ over Christmas and were visited by Santa who left lots of tasty treats for them to enjoy. I am happy to report that most of the birds have headed back out to school this month and are already sharing hen hugs with the students. We have lots of EGGciting things coming up this year, here are just a few of them…..
Hatching-I am busy planning this years hatching plan, so if would like to hatch with us this year please get in touch asap to reserve your eggs.
Hen Courses-In person hen courses are back here at Hens HQ-click on the courses page for info & dates
Positive Ponies-Tom & Harvey the ponies are heading out to schools for group wellbeing sessions along with new for 2023 we are now offering Care Home sessions too.
Equine Facilitator Training-Claire will be taking part in the second stage of her equine facility training which will enable us to offer Positive Ponies sessions here at Hens HQ later this year.
Back at the Emma Bridgewater Factory-we will be back at the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke on Trent for 4 days over the Easter Holidays for Chick Cuddle sessions (I am super EGGcitited for this one!). More info to follow.
Coronation Chickens– for our schools we have some HENtastic plans to celebrate the up coming coronation (watch this space for more info).
Avian Flu 2022
Yes it’s back, though it never actually went away. If you and your birds are in England then a national lockdown began on 7th November 2022 (though some counties have already been in lockdown for a while). For all the info on what that means for you and your area please visit:
For us here at Hens for Hire it means that the barn is all netted up to separate the hens from wild birds along with boot washes and minimising visitors to Hens HQ. Our schools are all following the bird flu protocols for their areas too.
Its Moulting time!
Its that time of year when we all panic that the hens (and ducks) suddenly start dropping feathers! Don’t panic it is totally normal for birds generally over 18 months old to discard old and damaged feathers. They can look a little oven ready once they start moulting, you will be surprised how quickly the new feathers start to grow. They won’t Aly eggs while they are moulting as they need to protein to produce the feathers. Here are some helpful sheets to help you and your hens mange moulting.
Back to School Hens
After at slightly delayed start at getting the hens back to school (as I caught covid) the school birds have been winging their way back to schools across the country. We also have 5 new schools joining the flock this year which is very EGGciting!!!! Here are just a few back to school photos (well it is that time of year)
Back to Uni & 6th Form
Its back to Uni for Daniel for year 2 of his course (this time he is in a house share for 6 other boys, so that should be fun) Ella is off to start year 12 at High School after EGGcellent results for her GCSE exams.
Summer Holidays at Hens HQ
Well it was a hot summer here on the farm, the birds all did amazingly well in the heat and all enjoyed the extra treats to help keep them cool.
The humans at Hens HQ have been busy too, along with caring for all the birds on their summer break Steve was very EGGcited to take part in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Tom & Harvey the Positive Ponies went away for a weekend pony camp, we worked on our liberty moves, I think they liked being the stars of the show!
The humans enjoyed a few days off the farm, with a trip to Paris and Disneyland, though Claire did come back with Covid, which meant poor Steve had to cover a few back to school hen trips.
Just like everyone across the country we have had fun both at Hens HQ and with our schools enjoying the Jubilee.
Here is just a little bit of the fun!
Meet Ella’s New Chicks
Last summer Ella got 4 Polish Hens (Wanda, Glinda, Cruella & Agatha) and a Cockerel (Gilderoy). In March we popped a couple of the eggs in the incubator and 2 eggs hatched. Meet Moon & Knight (Mark & Steven-with a v to their friends) too early to find out their genders just yet. So I think we will be keeping these two!
Having a Cracking Time!
This time of year is a very busy time here at Hens HQ as it is hatching season. This week has been the busiest one to date, with 9 schools hatching from Bristol to Liverpool. The pupils and staff are having and EGGcellent time….we are hatching all the way to the end of the Summer term (we are fully booked until the end of July but still have availability from September). This is just some of the fun of the week.
Success for team Positive Ponies
On Sunday Tom & Harvey the Positive Ponies took part in their first Horse Agility competition in Ledbury in Herefordshire. Harvey came first and Tom was third, they were great trying out all the obstacles and puzzles and got to meet lots of new horses and other mini Shetland ponies too.
Schools Summer Term Competition
We have such an EGGciting competition this term for all our Hen Hire schools ‘Poultry’s got Talent’ we want to see what talents you and your hens or ducks can do together. From chicken agility, to signing and dancing together, playing musical instruments or just reading a good story together. Plus we have some HENtastic judges joining us, Strictly Come Dancing’s Flava Cacace-Mistry & Jimi Mistry (both crazy chicken people just like us!)
We are just adding the finishing touches to it and the details will be in your inbox shortly! You wait till you see the trophy!!!
Exam Stress Buster Sessions
New for Summer 2022 our Positive Ponies are bringing Exam Stress Buster Sessions direct to your school or setting. This year is the first time in 2 years that students will be sitting SAT tests, GCSE’s & A levels. Learning to manage stress and anxiety in the build up to and during exams can be really challenging. Through our Equine Assisted Learning sessions we give the students an opportunity to experience their emotions and worries, work through them and develop coping strategies. Plus lots of Hen Hugs and Pony Pats too. For more info please contact us.
Back to School Hens
Its been a busy few weeks getting the hens and ducks back out to schools after the Easter break. Lots of miles travelled, lots of schools visited and it is so nice to get the hens back out of the barn here at Hens HQ. We have also been busy sharing our hatching experiences too, plus I got to meet a seal pup on the beach!
END OF FLOCKDOWN!!!
Yes we are finally able to let the birds back out free ranging next week! Its been a long 5 months and I can wait to be able to let them out!
Emma Bridgewater Factory-Chick Cuddles
We had a cracking time hosting the 2 day Chick Cuddle sessions at the pottery factory. Welcoming visitors and staff to spend time with the chicks in the fabulous factory setting. Pop over to our YouTube channel (link on the homepage) for a video of the fun we had. Good news we will be back in 2023!!!
It’s my favourite time of year! (and not just for the chocolate!) I love this time of year as the shops are full of chicken things and I really enjoy decorating the house for Easter. This Easter holiday we will be taking our lovely cute and fluffy chicks to the Emma Bridgewater Factory as part of their Easter Celebrations for all the info on what they have on please visit their website and I hope to see you there.
(Steve has said that I can’t take my purse to stop me spending in the factory shop!)
It’s been a Spring of hatching so far here at Hens HQ. Its been great getting most of the hens back to schools and I know the staff and students have missed them and they have been laying lots of eggs.
So far this Spring we have hatched over 100 eggs at schools and nurseries all over England and it has been EGGtastic talking to the students about how the embryos develop inside the egg and how they use their egg tooth to hatch. During the hatching experience the students are encouraged to learn more about hens and they love sharing they new hen fact with me when I collect the chicks.
I have also be delivering Chicken Club sessions at schools, they are great for sharing chicken knowledge. The sessions cover, a little chicken history-where they come from and how they crossed the world and became part of human life. We look at the points of the hen and do a little hen handling and then a Q&A session. We cover from EYFS all the way up to GCSE level.
It has been a busy month here at Hens HQ, the hens are still here at Hens HQ but good news they are going back to school after half term! The national restrictions due to Avian Flu are still in place but our local enhanced restrictions have been lifted so they can travel again.
Our Positive Ponies have also had a busy few weeks, continuing their training along with delivering 3 Well-being Days at Danemill Primary School as part of Child Mental Health Week.
Here we are already half way through January. The hens are still here at Hens HQ in the barn waiting out the current Avian Flu restrictions. We are keeping our lovely schools up to date via zoom and our YouTube channel (the link is on the homepage at the bottom). This current wave of bird flu is the worst experienced in the UK so far. Here at Hens HQ we are under travel restrictions due to a case within 10KM of the farm.
Even though me and the birds are grounded for now, we are busy planning the year ahead. January is when the coming years hatching plan comes together, this year we will be hatching a lovely selection of bantam eggs, along with duck eggs and maybe a few turkeys too. The equipment will all be being PAT tested this month and the test eggs go in to the master incubators in the next week.
This week myself, Tom & Harvey the Positive Ponies along with Logan and Jimana start our additional horsemanship training to get us all into physical and mental shape ready for a busy term working with and assisting young people out at school through our pony visits. A big thank you to Staffordshire Growth Hub for their assistance and funding for this.
Our Courses for the first half of 2022 are live on the courses tab. Our on farm courses are back for Hen Keeping and Incubation courses….too far away from Hens HQ? Don’t worry we will still be running our live zoom hen keeping course. Our Pony Walk dates are also live too.
Pus we are running our first ever shop sale with free P&P too!
Festive Ponies on Tour
Tom & Harvey our Positive Ponies have been out visiting schools on their Festive Tour this week. They visited 2 schools and enjoyed being groomed, dressed up along with taking part in pony games. As you can see from the photos everyone had fun!
Performing Animal Licence
I can not tell you how relieved I am that we passed our inspection at the end of October and now the Turkeys and Ponies are also part of the team that can go out and share the Hens for Hire love!
I could never find an advent calendar I liked, never enough chickens for my liking. So we decided to make our own! Now creating and getting a small print run of advent calendars turned out to be more challenging than I thought it would be. But they are printed and arrived yesterday! Plus they are now live in the online shop too. Now you can’t get these anywhere else, so get them before they all fly the coop!
Bird Flu is back….
Avian flu restrictions are back and it is important that all poultry keepers check on the current level of restrictions in your area. All our hen hire schools, please check your inbox for our latest updates. To check on the updates from APHA and to register your flock just click the link below-
Check out the goodies we have for you this Christmas all with a bit of a chicken theme….including Chicken Christmas T shirts!!!!! just pop over to the shop for a look.
Autumn at Hens for Hire
It has been a busy start to the new school year. Lots of our hens have gone back to school and we have welcomed 6 news schools to the Hens for Hire flock. We have been crisscrossing the country delivering Hen training to staff and students along with Hatching Egg Experiences. Lots of schools have received our latest newsletter, with lots of details of our online Chicken Club….Did you know even if your school or setting has hens (but not from us) you can still join our club! It is packed full resources (all hen related of course) to enhance your hen keeping experience. Please contact us for more info on how to join.
As it is Autumn it is moulting season, as hens are wearing over 8000 feathers, this time of year they will loose a few (up to a few hundred). Hens moult once they are over 18 months old, they will stop laying and look a little sad as the feathers fall out. It lasts 4-6 weeks and you will be amazed how quickly the new feathers grow back in. Also this time of year the hens do enjoy pumpkins! so if you are growing them or carving them let your hens enjoy them too.
Join us for a walk in the woods
New for Autumn 2021 join the Positive Ponies, Tom & Harvey for a Woodland Walk & Pony Picnic. Meet the ponies and give them a good groom, then enjoy a stroll around our end of the National Forest. All finished up with a picnic under the trees. All our young guests go home with a Pony Pack. Plus for our Halloween & Christmas walks will have a festive theme. For more information just click on the shop or courses page.
Summer on the Farm
We have had a busy Summer on the farm, the ducklings and turkeys have been growing up fast. The hens have enjoyed catching up with their friends, dust bathing, free ranging and enjoying some R & R. We have lovely families that have enjoyed hatching with us over the summer along with a few ducks hatching too.We have visiting hens and ducks joining us whilst their humans are on holiday too. The hens have been laying lots of eggs too, which have been available in the Honesty Box here at Hens HQ. We have been busy getting ready for the start of the new school year, new resources being created to go into the Chicken Club and lots of new EGGciting things in the works for new school year!
Positive Ponies-Paulet High School visits
Last week we ran the pilot for our Positive Ponies well being day at Paulet High School. Our hens and horses worked with over 30 children, focussing on directing energy, calmness and being present. As you can see they were a big hit with everyone that interacted with them. If you would like to know more about how we can bring the Positive Ponies to your setting please contact us.
Did you know its not just schools and care homes that can hatch with us, you can at home too. We offer 2 types of hatching experiences, a full hatch or a quick hatch. The full hatch is perfect for older children as they get to experience the full 21 day incubation, candle the eggs along the way and prepare the eggs to hatch, then enjoy chick cuddles. The quick hatch is great for younger children as you only have to wait a few days before hatching starts. If you are planning a ‘staycation’ this is a perfect activity for the summer holiday. For more info please contact us or click on incubator tab.
Here are some of our half term families that have been enjoying the experience so far!
Bjorn is a work of Art!
A big thank you to artist Rebekah Marshall has created a beautiful painting inspired by our resident Swedish Flower Cockerel Bjorn, doesn’t he look amazing!
We were thrilled to officially launch Positive Ponies with a staff half term wellbeing session here at Hens HQ, as you can see both the hens and horses were a big hit with everyone. We spent time with the silkie hens, learning about the hens, watching their behaviour and mindfulness whilst holding the hens. Tom & Harvey the Shetland ponies helped everyone focus on how to use their energy. This was followed by a very successful egg hunt!
Our Positive Ponies team can come into your setting or you can book a in-depth group or 121 session here at Hens HQ, just contact us for more information.
Did you know we do parties?
Planning a Birthday party and want to have some feathered friends attend? We can help both our Chick Cuddle & Puddle Duckling play sessions are perfect for Birthday parties and our duckling visits fit within the current covid regulations as they can be hosted outside in the garden. For more info on our visits please click on the day visit page or drop us a mail.
Does your school have a Chicken Club?
Our schools all enjoy running their chicken clubs, a great way to get students working together getting the chicken chores done. Westwood School get to enjoy Hen Hugs once the jobs are done!
We also have a virtual Chicken Club packed full of resources & activities that any school can join, please contact us for more details of how to join our club. (all of our hire schools get free membership to the virtual chicken club)
Hatching isn’t just for the young ones!
This Spring we have been busy sharing the joy of hatching and lifecycles not just with schools and nurseries but also some lovely care homes, as you can see the residents at Portobello Place have really had an EGGcellent time sharing chick cuddles. For more info please visit our incubator page.
May Chicken Chatter Meet Up
Join us on Tuesday 25th May at 7pm for our 7th Chicken Chatter event.
Chicken Chatter will be hosted by myself, Claire Lewis aka Dr Chicken.
This month we have a special guest Jacqui, who you may know on social media as ‘Cotswold Country Bird’ she will be sharing her passion for poultry and gardening. She will be sharing her top tips on how to have a beautiful garden alongside your birds. She is also a keen veggie grower and is a professional gardener with The Land Girl Gardeners. To book just click on the Shop tab
Coming up for the Spring & Summer Terms.
It is EGGcellent that both the people and poultry lockdowns are over and we are starting to get back to life outside of home and online learning. We have loads of activities on offer this Spring and Summer term:
Hatching Egg Experiences –just a few spots left in the Summer term
Chick Cuddle Sessions- let us bring the chicks to you, perfect for nursery and early year settings
Positive Ponies visits-our Hens and Horses visits are perfect for wellbeing and mental health with a focus on coping strategies.
Hen Activity Days-Lifecycles, Historical Hens & Science themes plus lots of hen handling too!
Just contact me for more information.
New Course for Spring 2021
As well as being able to welcome you back to Hens HQ this Spring, we are also launching our brand new course. A Beginners Guide to Incubation, always wanted to have a go at hatching your own eggs and don’t know where to start? Join us to learn everything you need to know to hatch and raise your own eggs at home. To find out more just click on the courses page.
In Person Courses are Back!
I am so happy to be scheduling courses for the rest of 2021, not just our live Zoom Hen Keeping Courses but also our in person Hens for Everyone Course (full dates for the rest of 2021) and this year we are launching our new Beginners Guide to Incubation! Come and join us here at Hens HQ, for lots of hen hugs, chicks cuddles, tea, cake and lots of knowledge to boot! We are fully covid safe and courses can easily be rearranged if you need to.
For more information just visit the courses page and we hope to welcome you to one of our in person courses starting in June! Cant travel here? Not a problem once a month we will be host our Zoom Hen Keeping Course so you can chat chickens with us from anywhere in the world, plus you get a recording of the course & course notes too.
Its our Birthday!
This year we celebrate 10 years since we hatched! IN that time we have worked with over 100 000 students at schools across the country, we have hatched over 3000 eggs and our hen have laid……well too may eggs to count! To celebrate reaching double figures we have lots of fun planed through out the year. Check out our giveaways on Facebook & Instagram that are due to be drawn over the Easter weekend (so you still have time to enter). More fun and giveaways to come!
Not long till Easter!
We have lots of goodies in the shop, perfect as non chocolate Easter gifts or as a treat for yourself, here are a few of my favourites…just click on the shop tab and P&P is free too! (UK only)
End of Poultry Lockdown!
The day poultry keepers have been waiting for the end of the housing restrictions for poultry. From 1st April 2021 birds will be able to free range again as the level in is reduced to medium risk. We still have to be vigilant and carry on with biosecurity measures, it is such great news to be able to let the birds free range again!
March Chicken Chatter Evening
Chicken Chatter is back for another get together in March, we will be spotlighting some of our favourite breeds. Discussing the pros and cons for hatching and rearing them and then a Q & A session. All hosted via zoom and all proceeds of the evening are donated to charity, this month Fresh Start for Hens. All info and how to book is in our shop, I hope you can join us.
Getting Ready for Back to School
It has been a busy February and start of March at Hens HQ, lots of zoom sessions with our lovely Hen Hire Schools. We have learnt about Hens in Art and how to draw chickens, this week we have been collecting eggs and cleaning out the hens houses. We have seen how are chicks have been developing and welcomed 8 new hens to the farm. Plus Jason our lovely Farrier showed us how he trims the ponies feet. Plus I really enjoyed wearing Roxy the Chicken to read the story of the Little Red Hen for World Book Day. Some of our hens are heading out back to school for the remainder of this term the rest will be back at school after the Easter break.
We also have some eggcellent new products in our online shop too, perfect for Mothers Day, Easter and to treat yourself! Pop over to the shop and have a look x
Coming up this month we are hosting another Chicken Chatter event on Saturday 27th February at 7pm, this months co-host is Fiona aka the Floof Lady and we will be talking about breeding. For more info and to book, just pop to the shop page all monies are being donated to BHWT.
We have been support busy over the past few weeks with our school zoom sessions, our eggs hatched, we have learnt all about eggs and flipped pancakes. Learnt what makes a safe hen house and run plus spent some mindfulness time with the hens in the barn. We also went on a walk with the horses in the field and got to know them better, watched Ally the Physio treat Jimana the Fjord Horse and Steph joined us to show us how to build relationships with the ponies. Over the half term holiday we checked in with the chicks weighing them and seeing how much they have grown. Coming up next week we are looking at Chickens in Art and creating a play pen for the chicks.
Zoom Chicken & Incubator Club
It has been a busy week here at Hens HQ as we run our 3rd week of zoom sessions. This week we have been learning about the timeline of chickens and how they changed from dinosaurs to chickens and spread around the planet through the ages. We have also candled our eggs in the incubator as it has been 7 days since we set them and 22/29 eggs are fertile and developing. We learnt that the embryos heart is beating, that they are moving around and they have legs and toes! More sessions to come next week!
Happy New Year! We found ourselves joining our feathered friends in lockdown. All of the hens are here at Hens HQ spending lockdown in the Hen Barn. As a lot of the students at our schools are either at school or homeschooling, we are holding weekly Zoom Chicken Clubs for our Hen Hire schools, along with learning resources to go along with the weekly topics. We will also be sending out weekly updates on the hens and eggs too! Schools just check your inbox for more details.
As we are a delivery service working in the education sector we are still able to offer our services during the lockdown period. We are currently not setting up any new schools just continuing to support our current schools.
We are also offering Zoom sessions to schools around the country, if you would like us to zoom into your setting or to your homeschoolers we are offering 45 min sessions, just pop over to the shop or courses page for more information.
Chicken Chatter is back! Join us for a evening of chatting chickens on 30th January, all proceeds going to charity. This month we are looking at Chicken Anatomy! Pop into the shop for more information and to book.
Online Course Dates for 2021
If you would like to join us for our online Hen Keeping Course, the dates for the first 3 months of 2021 are now live. It is an EGGCellent course covering everything that you need to know to keep happy hens. Join us live via Zoom for a course that lasts an hour and a half. After the course we will e mail you a Hen Keeping Guide too. Just pop onto the course page for all the details
Poultry Lockdown-December 2020
Just as the humans have finished theirs, it’s now time for our feathered friends to go into one. Due to increased cases of Bird Flu in wild birds and it being transmitted to domestic poultry, form 14th December all birds (from flocks of any size) must follow new restrictions. To be kept indoors if possible or when not, in runs that are fully netted and covered (to reduce any risk of transmission). For our lovely birds out at schools across England this means an early start to the Christmas Holidays and for many an extended stay.
The beauty of using our service whether a setting hire from us or just has extra support from us, is we take care of everything. Whether the hens are staying here at Hens HQ for the duration of the lockdown or supporting our schools with all the right poultry PPE if the birds go back to school.
New Courses and Services Coming 2021
We have been using Lockdown 2 to be very productive and we have some EGGciting new courses and services coming to you at the start of 2021…..I am afraid that is all I can say at the moment but watch this space for more info!
New Chicks on the Block!
During Lockdown 2 here in the UK we have some new birds that have joined the flock here at Hens HQ, we have the 6 Lockdown Ladies, the hybrid cross hens (still not gotten to know them yet to pick their names) and today Ronald the Gold Silkie, Betty the Bantam Brahma & Boo the Orpington Bantam.
Find out more about them as they settle in, check out our social media for updates.
Chicken Chatter Evening
We had an EGGcellent first Chicken Chatter meeting on Saturday via Zoom. A big thank you to everyone that joined us, it was a relaxed evening chatting chickens, hen care & bird flu with our guest vet Lewis. We also raised £30 for Fresh Start for Hens too. We will be at it again in December with our Chicken Christmas Quiz!!! Want to join us? Just pop over to the shop to book your spot.
Lockdown 2.0 & Back to School Hens
2020 really is the year that keeps on giving, as we find ourselves part way through another lockdown. This time as schools have remained open so have we. Traditionally this is time of year is our quieter period and it is always when we get the farm ready for winter and start planning for the Spring time and next years ethical hatching.
As the pandemic rages on we are continuing to flex and adapt, to work around it and the restrictions , our schools have all worked really hard to provide a safe provision for their students, staff and of course their poultry. Our Poultry both hens and ducks have been a great support and respite, through routine, time outside and care for animals. For both students and teachers.
2020 is now adding Bird Flu, there is now 3 confirmed cases in the UK and our risk level has been increased from Medium to High. Though the guidelines have not changed yet, I always believe in prior and proper preparation. If the regulations change poultry will need to be housed in a covered run, ensuring that the feed and water is covered and wild birds can not access it. It is also recommended that all keepers of poultry register their flocks, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
We are hosting our first event ‘An evening of Chicken Chatter’ with myself and Dr Chicken(a eggtastic poultry vet) we will also be taking questions for a Q & A. All proceeds (minus PayPal fees) will be donated to ‘Fresh Start for Hens’ We hope you can join us, just pop over the the shop.
Christmas has come early to Hens HQ
Pop over to the shop and check out our new goodies for you just in time for Christmas! Designed my me and hand painted by Sarah at Paisley & Co mugs & Christmas decorations. Along with hand burnt woodlice hanging hen signs our new card game ‘Pecking Order’ and HENtastic Activity books!
Plus our own range of Christmas Cards!
To support other small and micro businesses we are working with closely to produce these wonderful goodies for you. Pop over to the shop to view the full range.
Steph’s Packed Lunch
Did you see us on the telly??? Yes we were guests on ‘Steph’s Packed Lunch’ on Channel 4, if you missed it don’t worry you can still view in on their catch up service All 4, Thursday 17th September. Hope you enjoy it, we had a great day out!
Back to School Pictures-September 2020
Well I thought we would never get here, but here we are schools are open to all pupils not just key workers and our hens are going back! So here are our first Back to School photos!
Did you see us on the telly????
We had a very egg-citing afternoon last week with a visit from BBC Breakfast news crew! They joined us here at Hens HQ to chat chickens and why chickens have been such a popular addition to homes across the country during the Covid-19 Lockdown. If you want to catch up we are still on the BBC I-player for another 2 weeks, its BBC Breakfast on 22nd August. We are featured at 7.35 am & 9.45am. Let us know what you think, the hens were of course the stars of the show!
Long Summer Days……
We are halfway through the school summer holidays, the hens have been spending most their days free ranging out on the farm. With the easing of lockdown the public footpaths that run along side Hens HQ have been a lot quieter with dog walkers which has meant the hens have been able to soak up the sun in their favourite dust bathing spots. It is Red Mite season so with the assistance of my teenage workforce we have reduced the days between cleaning out the hens houses so if any clusters pop up we can treat the hens houses before it gets out of hand… we are also pressure washing the hens houses every 2 weeks too. We have had some hot days here and have been doing our best to keep the hens cool, melon has been a firm favourite along with strawberries and peas & herbs that have been grown in the Hens HQ veggie patch.
We have had a busy July with our ‘Quick Home Hatch’ with a great hatch success rate, the chicks have already gone onto new homes. We have also set up 2 families that will be spending the summer doing a full hatch with us and we did our first ever candling session via Zoom. Good news the fertility is looking very good. We should have hatching mid & end of August.
We have also had lots of hens and ducks joining us for a break while their humans go on holiday.
Coming up for the rest of the month we have, online zoom Hen Keeping Courses, watch this space for updates and dates for the courses held here at Hens HQ.
Now its time to start prepping our hens for going back to school, before our hens go back to school we get them back together in their flocks (they have all bee free ranging in larger groups) they get full health checks, which include worming and mite treatments. I will be getting in touch with all our schools to sort out back to school dates, as its going to be a little different this year. I am also prepping new resources for this start of term to add to the online Chicken Club to support our schools and hens through the new covid curriculum.
In the Summer Time……..
I can’t believe we are here at the start of the school summer holidays and week I don’t know what of lockdown. With the easing of lockdown across England has meant we have been able to offer some of our services again. Our Hatch at Home and Hens in your Home experiences are proving very popular with families of all ages and sizes. If you would like to know more please contact us. We have also been busy collecting hens from our schools they were able to return during lockdown. We have also been busy moving our pens around here at Hens HQ to ensure that all the hens get plenty of time outside free ranging (supervised of course). Our Zoom Hen Keeping Courses have also been proving very popular, we hold them twice a month if you would like to join us.
Sadly we had to say Bon Voyage to the lovely Bugsy the Quarter Horse that had been staying with us for the last 8 months he has returned back to his home. We have had a fantastic time with him as a house guest and as you can see I think the hens will miss him too. Keep up to date with all our goings on via our social media platforms. We will be busy over the summer prepping our hens for going back to school along with our Recovery & Reconnection Curriculum support and how our hens can help pupils and staff in our post pandemic schools.
Wish you were Here Competition
Drum roll please………our judges have picked their from our Wish you were Here Competition!!
We had an amazing response & they had a very tough journey b to narrow it down to 4. So congratulations to:
Tyler from Elmfield School
Saif from Percy Shurmer Academy
Ruby from Acorns Academy
Jasmyn from St John the Baptist School
Your prizes will be making their way to your school. I enjoyed all of the postcards so much everyone that took the time to design their EGGcellent postcards will also be getting a prize & certificate too xx
Over the next few days all the postcards will be going into our website so you can see them all. A big thank you to the EGGcellent judges Damian & Mike.
I am so happy to be in the position to announce that from the first week of July we can now offer our Hatching Experiences Again!!!!
We will be offering our Incubator Hire from the start of July 2020. We will be adhering to all the Government guidelines and social distancing regulations to provide the service. We only have a limited number of dates to hatch with us for Summer 2020 so if you would like details for both our Education & Home Hatch Experiences please contact us ASAP.
Lockdown News weeks 10-12
Wow we are just getting to the end of week 12 of lockdown, I never thought it would be this long when we started it back in March. I am very happy to report we now have hens back in 7 of our schools. They have been making a real difference to the mental health and wellbeing of the students and staff during this difficult and challenging time.
Here at Hens HQ, things are progressing much as it has over the past 12 weeks, hens are getting a variety of treats, some of them form our Amazon Wish List, thank you everyone that sent them. We have been producing more videos for our You Tube channel (link on the homepage) around Anatomy, Evolution & the results of our Hens vs Incubator experiment. We also held a Facebook Live for our ducklings first swimming lesson, which was great fun.
6 of our ducklings went on a little holiday with some of our lovely friends children, you can see the updates on our social media pages. New products are in the shop including, Chicken Club Membership.
Coming up next week we have: Zoom Hen Keeping Course, Chicken Club You Tube Lectures & summer prep here at Hens HQ
Lockdown News weeks 8-10
It has been a busy few weeks here at Hens HQ, not only have 16 chicks hatched in the incubator but we also saw the arrival of 10 ducks on the farm! All of their antics have been documented via our You Tube Channel all part of our Hens vs Incubator Experiment.
We have also ow hosted our first 2 Online Hen Keeping Courses via Zoom (had a few technical issues-mainly due to me) but overall they have gone well. We are also part way through our Chicken Club Lectures so far we have covered Behaviour & Anatomy, more to come this week. Claire has completed her Covid-19 Readiness Course so she can get hens back to school safely.
Our Little online Shop has now opened with hand printed gifts, just click on the courses page for more info.
We have planted up a raised bed with a lovely selection of fresh herbs for the hens and the Wish you were Here competition has now closed and the judges have all the amazing art work and have a really hard job on their hands!
We have hens heading out to two more schools in the coming week too.
Lockdown News weeks 6-8
Here we are at the start of week 9, would you believe, and what lovely weather we have been enjoying even if the world is a little scary and crazy past the farm gate. We celebrated VE Day and it was lovely to share the fantastic illustrations I commissioned our lovely illustrator Sarah to do, and it was great to see lots of people download and get creative with the Hen Spitfire and VE Day bunting. Thank you for sharing your photos!
We are also 3 weeks into our experiment Hens vs Incubators, if you pop over to our You Tube channel (link is on the homepage you can catch up on what we have been hatching.) We have also started weekly Chicken Club sessions via Zoom and You Tube for our lovely schools so far they have been great fun so far we have covered Hen Behaviour & this week its Hen Anatomy.
Since some of the travel restrictions have been relaxed we were able to get hens back out at 2 schools so far and more will be back to school after the half term holidays (which makes me very happy) We have also been busy getting ready to being able to go back out in the world, so my Mum has been working hard at the sewing machine making masks for the family. Also we have guest judges for our Wish you were Here Competition only a couple of days until it closes!
This week we start our first online Hen Keeping Course, new dates have been added, please hop over the courses page for more info and dates.
Did you know we are Omlet Ambassadors? Yes we are and no we are not off to another country but if you do want to have a look at Omlet houses or ask any questions about them please get in touch with us.
Lockdown News weeks 4-6….
I can’t believe that we are now in week 6 of lockdown. The hens seem to have settled into the routine here at Hens HQ and the eggs sales at the honesty box has been really busy. Sadly we have had some issues with people walking on the footpath that is close to our farm and we have had 3 dog attacks which has resulted in the death of 3 ducks, 1 injured hen and duck. We have set up cameras to catch the trespassing dog, plus spent a lot of time fixing the fence. I hope you have enjoyed some of the activities we have shared via social media, we did a live Easter Egg Collection & Meditation Walk around the farm. Plus every week day we are sharing some fun resources for you via our social media. For schools that hire hens with us we have our EGGtastic ‘Wish you were Here’ competition (please check your inbox) We have been busy developing the Hen Veggie Patch and making more uniform bags for NHS staff and care workers.
Lockdown News weeks 1-4……..
Here is just a snippet of what we have been up to, it has been a busy 3 weeks we have hosted 3 Facebook Live Mini Hen Keeping Courses. 2 Chicken Agility Broadcasts & 3 Story Times with the Library Chooks. We have been sharing activity and colouring sheets on social media, we have made bags for NHS Key Workers and delivered free eggs to Vulnerable households plus a spot of baking! Plus some of the not so eggciting bits, cleaned and serviced all of the incubator equipment ready for when schools go back along with clearing out the hen barn and the hens!…….for more info please visit our social media pages.
Hen & Incubator Hire-Covid-19 Update
All schools that have active Hen Hire and Incubator Packages have been contacted and nearly all of the hens and chicks are back at Hens HQ and all will be here by Monday 23rd March. We are currently pausing all our bookings until the schools situation has been fully settled.
Sadly after reviewing our insurance and the Health & Safety risk to our staff we are currently not in a position to offer hatching experiences to parents who will be home schooling their children for the foreseeable future.
Courses & Covid 19
After much thought and after a review of our health and safety procedures and insurance, with a heavy heart I will be suspending all Hens for Hire services for the foreseeable future. The safety of our staff and our customers is paramount.
This includes, Hen Hire, Incubator Hire, Chick Cuddles and Hen Keeping Courses.
Eggs sales will continue from our Honesty Box and orders for collection.
We will keep you updated with the activities of the hens here at Hens HQ and we will update you with changes depending on guidelines from the Government.
We will be holding Facebook Live Mini Hen Courses, please join us for our first one Monday 24th March at 4pm.
Wow we are already half way through January! The hens had a great Christmas break and are all back at school ready for the better weather now the lighter nights are here (well kind of) Good news there hasn’t been any more reported outbreaks of bird flu since the one in Suffolk last year and Defra has lifted the restriction zone.
We are busy at Hens HQ getting ready for hatching 2020, our Big Mama Incubator is up and running ready for test eggs next week. All the schools that have booked with us should have all the information on the up coming hatching dates.
Did you know that along with all our great hen hire and incubator hire packages you can also book us to be a guest speaker? Yes that’s right if you would like to book us to come and talk to your group or school have a look at our day visit page or get in touch via the contact us page.
Hen Courses for Beginners
Want to get chickens but not sure where to start? why don’t you come along to one of our ‘Hens for Everyone’ courses. Perfect for getting started with hens, pop over the to courses page for more info, prices and how to book.
New Hatching Package for Spring/Summer 2020
Out of Africa-yes we are bringing a touch of the African plains to the classroom! We are offering eggs with a difference in 2020, Guinea Fowl! Pop over to the Incubator page for more info.
My Indi Business Day
I recently attended a business development day at the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke on Trent, hosted by Simply Great Britain. It was a great opportunity for me to listen to some excellent speakers, meet other business owners and do some planning for the future of Hens for Hire……so watch this space!
Did you see us on the Telly?
Yes its true! Hens and chicks on the box! Last week we featured on episode 2 of Our School. The episode will shortly be here on our website, but if you are desperate to see it in the mean time it is still available on the BBC I-player for another 3 weeks.
New School Year-Its back to school time!
I can’t believe we are nearly at the end fo September! Well we had a great Summer overall here at Hens HQ. The hens enjoyed some R n R and catching up with their friends from other schools. Some hens have retired and joined the Hens HQ flock. Others have gone to new schools this month.All of the hens had full health checks while they were home for the summer, as with the lovely weather comes mites!
All the updates on what they have been up to, are on our social media pages. So now they are all out at school sharing the joys of hen keeping with students around England.
GCSE Success for one of the Hens for Hire Team
You may have seen him when I collected hens and equipment at the end of the Summer Term, Daniel since finishing his GCSE exams in June has been working as part of the Hens for Hire team. He has been hard at work helping to collect the hens and hen houses, setting up the pens here on the farm for the hens and pressure washing equipment ready for the start of the new school year. Daniel received his results at the end of August and did very well, so is ready to start at 6th Form, studying History and Sport. Congratulations Daniel!
Dogs & Hens
As you know we have 2 lovely farm dogs here at Hens HQ, Jensen and Lulu. If you have visited us here on one of our courses I am sure you may have received some Lulu love! Well you may have seen on our social media pages we have suffered 2 attacks on our hens this summer from dogs that have been off the lead in the woods at that run along the farm. This has resulted in 2 hens being killed and 2 injured. It was devastating to see 2 of my lovely hens, one of them retired and one that was due to go back to school in September killed in this way. Especially when the owners said their dogs had never done anything like this before! The moral of this story is…..IF your dog doesn’t come back when you call them they should not be off the lead!
In the Summer Time……
We are getting closer to the end of the school year and we are busy at Hens HQ getting ready for the hens to come home for the holidays. Our last few incubators are coming to the end of their time at schools too and will be returning to the farm shortly. We have had a busy hatching season, we have hatched with over 59 settings, hatching, chicks, ducklings and a first for this year keets! (Guinea Fowl) our busiest year yet. We have also celebrated our 8th Birthday, in that time we have shared the joy of hens with over 100 00 people! here is to another 8!
Spring is in the air!
Well it might still be cold out there but the days are starting to get longer, its light until nearly 5pm now!
With the days getting lighter we are getting ready for hatching 2019. The big incubators are out of storage will be geting eggs in from the start of Feb. We still have some space in our diary for hatching bookings, please get intouch for more info.
Boys Have Arrived!
2 new cockerels have joined the flock at Hens HQ, Vlad and Bjorn. Pop over to our Facebook page for all the photos and updates.
Did you know that we do speaking visits? Yes we do, visits to WI meetings and luncheon groups, if you would like us to come and chat all things chickens, please get in touch.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Hens for Hire!
Its been a busy few weeks for the little hen van, all the school hens are now back at Hens HQ for the holidays. The hens are all checked in at the hen barn, they have had their health checks and have settled into their holiday homes for the next few weeks. We are looking forward to a lovely festive few weeks, visiting friends and family. The good news for having the hens back at Hens HQ is that we have eggs again! (sadly the retiree hens haven’t really been delivering on this front recently!). So if you are passing and need some eggs for Christmas baking please visit our honesty box at the top of the farm drive.
Our schools have really got into the festive spirit and we have had some wonderful enteries in our Christmas Chicken Coop Competition!
Our course dates for 2019 are now live on the website for both the Hens for Everyone & Introduction to Photography Courses. Stuck for a last minute gift? Do not fear we have you covered we offer gift certificates for all our courses, just drop us an email.
We have lots of EGGciting things coming up for 2019 so please keep an eye on our news page for all the info.
Autumn at Hens HQ
It has been a busy Autumn half term here at Hens for Hire, hens returning back to school and new schools joining the Hens for Hire family. The mini hen van has travelled a few thousand miles criss crossing the country. We have had chicks hatching at the Stan Bull Centre in Walsall, the day centre vistors have enjoyed the chick cuddles. We have launched a great new school project all part of our mindfulness project, meet our Zen Hens (for schools hiring with us check your inbox for all the info and they will soon be added to the Chicken Club). we have had some new additions here at Hens HQ, meet our new Swedish Flower Hens they are only 10 weeks old more info on them as they settle in.
We’re all going on our Summer Holidays!
It has been a busy school year at Hens HQ, we have worked with over 30 schools, sharing the joy of hen keeping, hatched over 200 chicks and ducklings at settings around England! Launched our Chick Cuddle Sessions (which have been a big hit). We have had some challenges too, a very long winter, the return of Bird Flu and then the hottest summer in over 40 years! Our Hens have been super stars laying over 13 000 eggs for schools to enjoy. They are now back at Hens HQ for their summer holiday. A chance to relax, recharge and catch up with flock mates. Some of our lovely hens are retriring from school service, they will now be enjoying life back on the farm
Both the hens and I would like to wish all our schools and teachers a happy summer break and we will see you in September!
A Sad Goodbye…..
It’s with very heavy heart that we had to say goodbye to the Little Yellow Horse. Despite all the best efforts of the staff at Pool House Equine Hospital.
What we thought was colic this morning, wasn’t & she was basically in the start of septic shock due to a massive rip in her small intestine. We rushed her into the hospital & the staff were brilliant but sadly it wasn’t meant to be.
She was only nearly 8 & been part of the family for 7 years. She was a force of nature & full of life a totally Miss Sassy Pants.
Today has been a total shock & she will be greatly missed xxx
New Additions to the Farm
Meet the new addtions to Hens HQ, Ted and Little Alfie the orohaned lambs. They are just over 7 days old and doing really well we are all enjoying bottle feeding them and of coure lots of cuddles! Better photos to follow once the weather improves!
‘Tis the season for Chick Cuddles!
We have had a very busy run up to Easter here at Hens HQ, we have hosted lots of chick cuddle sessions at nursery schools, primary schools and at farm Easter Parties. Our chicks were EGGcellent and very well behaved and the children, staff and parents really enjoyed the experience.
If you would like us to visit your setting or event, please get intouch.
Oh the weather outside is frightful-2nd March 2018
As the Beast from the East and Storm Emma are battering most of the UK, here at Hens HQ we are struggling with the weather. Our farm is covered in snow and we have 4ft snow drifts coming off the fields. We spent 2 hours until midnight yesterday digging out a selction of vechicles including gritter lorries and cars all stuck on our road(we are on a main road). The snowploughs have been on patrol and cleared some of the road and very kindly piled up 4ft of snow at the entrance to the farm. I am a bit worried that if this weather continues it will effect our incubator set up next weeks. I will be keeping a close eye on the weather forcasts. If you want to see our fun in the snow rescuing drivers please check out or facbook and twitter feeds.
New for Spring 2018!
Chick Cuddle Sessions- Aimed at Nurseries, perfect for little hands and attention spans!
Our sessions last for approx 45 mins, where children and staff will get hands on handling with a selection of our lovely fluffy chicks. We also have a selection of dressing up clothes, chick toys (for children not to keen on handling the chicks) plus a few songs!
Cuddle Sessions Costs Cover:
All the materials and live animals.
Travel to and from your location.
If your location is further afield please get intouch for a price.
Avaliable from Spring -Autumn
For more info please visit our Eggtivity Days page. Bookings are quickly filling up so get intouch so you dont miss out.
18th January 2018-Bird Flu Prevention Zone
Today Defra announced a Enlgand wide prevention zone due to 2 reported cases of Bird Flu in wild birds. All schools who currently hire hens from us, please check your inbox for the latest update and risk assessment details.
Bird flu prevention zone extended to cover whole of England
Legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to follow strict biosecurity measures.
The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:
Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
Keepers with more than 500 birds will also be required to take some extra biosecurity measures including restricting access to non-essential people, changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.
Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.
There are no plans to carry out any culls or put movement restrictions in place.
We are going EGG Crazy!
Happy New Year! it may be a gloomy start to 2018, but here at Hens HQ we are busy planning our Spring and Summer hatches. We are busy taking bookings for our 3 hatching options. Did you know that we are one of the only companies to offer:
Bantams Hatching Eggs
Quackers-Duck Hatching Eggs
Hisotrical Hatch-The chance to hatch Queen Victoria’s favourite breeds
Not to mention we are the only hatching company to offer our unique ‘Watch us Grow’ package. Pop over to our incubator page for all the details.
Course Dates for 2018 & Gift Vouchers
New in the Hens for Hire Shop are Gift Vouchers that can be used on all of our courses, pop into the shop for more info. Released today are all our course dates for 2018 book early to avoid disappointment. We will also soon be launching our new Animal & Woodland Safari Photography courses……..watch this space for details!
The Hens for Hire Chicken Christmas Coop is OPEN!!
Our ‘Helfs’ are hard at work adding the finishing touches and the doors to the Online Shop are now Open!
We have some EGGtastic products, stick you beak in the shop for a quick peek!
Now for the Science Part!
Not to blow our own trumpet but our EGGtivity Days are HENtastic! Brand new for 2017 we have 3 themed Days all based around the Humble Hen! Lifecycles, Historical Hens & Egg Scientists. We provide all the materials, costumes and hens (plus chicks). We are the country’s leading Hen Keeping Specialists and we love to share the joy of hens. We want to take your learning beyond eating eggs. For more information please visit the EGGtivity Day page or contact Claire.
To Early to Mention the C Word?
By ‘C Word’ I of course mean Chicks! Yes it may only be October but we are already taking bookings for incubators and hatching eggs for the Spring and Summer term 2018. We have some EGGcellent hire packages which include:
Bantam Hatch– our pure and rare breed hatching, cute fluffy chicks for everyone to enjoy
Historical Hatch-Hatch some of Queen Victoria’s favourite breeds, learn how she started Hen Fever!
Watch Us Grow-Keep the chicks for longer than our standard hire package
Please contact Claire for full details on our packages
Back to School Hens
It has been a busy few weeks here at Hens HQ, getting the hens back to school for the start of the school year.
We have visited 25 schools, and settled in hens back to settings around the country. Some hens are on their 2nd and 3rd years back at school and for quite a few of the girls it was their first day of school. The good news is they have all settled back in, if you want to see their first day of school pictures please visit our Facebook Page.
EGGucational & Hentastic Shop
We have some very eggciting new products making their way to our new look shop, unlike poultry supplies our shop is a little different. During our monthly Hens for Everyone Courses, we open our hen supply shop at Hens HQ. We offer layers pellets, bedding, hen care sprays and powders.
Our online shop offers something a little different. You can now purchase our Hen House Herbs , which I use in all of our coops here at hens HQ. Along with some of our fun and ‘EGGucational’ products. Have a browse and get shopping, we are still waiting for a few products to arrive and will update the shop as soon as they do.
Summer 2017 EGGventures
All the chickens have come back from school for a little R & R here at Hens HQ. If you follow our Social Media Pages you can keep up to date on all of their Summer activities. We have been for a little trip away from the farm, a week in St Ives but of course we couldn’t go without some of our EGGventure Hens. Here are just a few of the pictures of thier eggventures. Our EGGventure Hens are a great addition to any classroom or family, for poultry loving children they can go with them on trips or away for the weekend or even on mini EGGventrues around school. We creat a range of hens all made from ‘Jumping Clay’ which is totally safe and easy to clean. For schools who hire hens from us they are included in your package. If you would like to purchase them, please visit our shop for more information.
Chicken Keeping Consortium 2017
On Friday 2nd June I was lucky enough to join other like minded poultry people from around the country at Warwickshire Chicken Coop. It was a fantasic day or should I say HENtastic day all organised via Instagram by @YorkshireFeathers. This is the second year of the CKC, it was a great opportunity to share the joy of hens with other chicken keepers and to listen to some interesting and inspirational speakers, eat lots of lovely food and cake and do a spot of shopping.
Sso how did the day shape up? have a quick look….
Arrivals, name badges and a brief welcome from @YorkshireFeathers
12:30 TOUR of Warwickshire Chicken Coop with Terry and Jac WCC yard
TALK from Dr Naomi Sykes from The Chicken Project Why did the chicken cross the world?
Guessing games, Find Bernard and plant swap winners drawn
(please pop to have a go at guessing games towards the end!) -Classroom
15:30 Farmgate Feeds samples WCC yard
TALK @Arthurparkinson_ My life and hens -Classroom
Final guessing game entries, prize winners announced, purchasing art from @xtine_art and @annas_goodlife
16:30 Q &A with Jamie Toms from @PoultryTalk -Classroom
17:00 Plant collecting, stocking up on chicken supplies from the shop and farewells
And the Winner is………..
After a busy election day on Thursday and we are ready to announce the winner of our EGGlection:
The Bluebell Party won the most votes through our social media platforms. Thank you to everyone who cast their vote.
With less than a week to go we are feeling EGGlection fever! We hav had a go at creating our own ballot boxes and ballot papers we hope this gives you some ideas for your own school EGGlections on Thursday.
Lunch fit for a Queen
A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to a private lunch with Her Majesty the Queen. It was an amazing experience and we were able to be introduced to her and talk to her (about hens and horses!). Here are just a few picutres, offical ones to follow.
Meet The Seabrights
Let me introduce Captain & His First Mate, they are part of our Historical Hens team. We love to share the history of hens and how they became part of our everyday lives. If you would like to know more about our Historical Hen Days (all part of our EGGtivity Packages) please visit the page.
It have been a very EGGciting time, 2 of our lovely schools have hatched their first duck eggs. Duck eggs are just one of the EGGtastic hatching packages that we offer, if you would like more information please visit our Incubator page.
My Haven’t They Grown!
The little wild goslings who found their way onto the farm 3 weeks ago, they really have grown! They have settled into farm life well and are thriving. The plan is to find them a more suitable home. For now they seem to be happy.
Poultry Poltical News
It is election season here in the UK and the hens felt it was time for their Poultry Political Views to be heard. We are putting together our own Poultry Political Boradcast Packs, so that students and teachers can have some politcal debates and vote for the Polutry Party they think should be in power, casting our votes on June 8th. To all our schools please login to the ‘Chicken Club’ for all the information.
We currently have 2 unexpected house guests in one of our nursery pens. 2 Canadian Goosings. They literally knocked on the back door and following my Mum around the farm yard. We have searched high and low looking for the rest of their family without any luck. So for now they are enjoying some Hens for Hire hospitality.
Hen House Herb Growing Boxes
All ready to send to out to schools this week, our fantastic Hen House Herb Boxes. A handpicked selection of herbs to grow at school along with all the information on how to add herbs to your hen house, a wreath to add herbs to, that can be hung in the hen house. Along with a our belended dried Hen House Herbs to add to the hen house and run. Soon to be avaliable in our shop too.
The Geese are Laying!
As you know the geese and I have a tolerate/hate relationship and they have hated being on barn lockdown. Th e good news is that they can go outside from tomorrow and they have started to lay eggs! We are now offering ‘Posh Eggs Selection Box’ containing 1x Goose Egg, 2x Duck Eggs, 2x Hen Eggs & 1x Bantam Eggs- you can order them from Hens HQ
The Pitter Patter of Little Feet!
Last week was our first incubator hire of the 2017 hatching season. Whenever we incubate eggs we always incubate extras to hatch here at Hens HQ just incase the hire doesnt go to plan, plus it means that we get chick cuddles! We will be hatching until the end of June, we will also be hathcing ducklings too!
It has been a blustry few days here at Hens HQ. We lost a lot of roof tiles off the farm buildings and there was some minor damage to the barns. Good old Doris also took out the electricity to the farm, plus 3 surrounding villages. This time of year is hathcing season, so the master incubator has been working hard warming up the eggs. We lost the electricity at 1pm, the incubator can cope with the power being out for a couple of hours (as long as its not opened). Once we had passed the 2 hour mark we cranked up the little emergency generator and got it back up to temperature. The little genie did a fantastic job for 3 hours and after a visit from Western Power & a walk around the farm we spotted the problem. A tree from the ajoining wood was ‘leaning’ on the power lines. The engineers sprang into action and lots of vans and equipment arrvied at Hens HQ. Whilist all this was going on our very kind friends at Storer Smith Marquees Hire came and set up one of their fantastic generators to keep our incubator running overnight. Thanks to the hard work of the electrical engineers we got our power back at 4am and they didnt even make a mess in the field!
Green Screen Hens
On Thursday a selection of hens went out on a roadtrip to Birmingham, and the lovely Gloria made her screen debeut. She was HENtastic, she stood on her mark, turned to face her co-star at just the right time and was a total professional with the rest of the crew. Sine then she has now asked for her own hen house with a star on the door. It was a really interesting experience and we will share the finsihed piece with you when it has been edited. (check out our Facebook page for all the photos and videos.)
Its Hatching Time!
Its very eggciting here at Hens HQ. We head back out on the road tomorrow to set up our first incubator hire of 2017. We have had our first arrivals as 2 little quail chicks hatched yesterday. To keep up todate with the pitter patter or tiny feet please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages.
That back to school feeling!
Fingers crossed that from 28th February the hens can head back to school as Defra are relaxing the current regulations in some areas. At Hens HQ the safety and welfare of our hens is our paramount concern. All of our hens will be going back to school weith a Bird Flu Prevention back to make sure they stay safe and healthy at school. I wont lie it will be lovely to get them back to school where they belong and out of the barn.
March is going to be a busy month with getting hens to schools, new schools joining us and of course on the run up to Easter its hatching season!
The hens have now been on AI lockdown since mid December. They have settled into barn life much better than I could have hoped. As discussed in some of our other articles we have been working hard to stop the hens from getting bored. As well as edible treats we have also added some other activities for the hens. They have rubber tyres to play in and recently added each pen has its own musical instruments! Im not sure I will be conducting an orchestra just yet but the young hens seem to be enjoying it.
All schools who have booked incubator hire with us will ahve had confirmed dates of when your eggs will be arriving at school. We are now fully booked for Incubator Hire until the end of June 2017. If you want to hear the pitter patter of tiny fluffy feet, we will be offering incubator and hatching eggs until the end of October 2017.
We are now taking bookings for our Eggtivity Days… an eggtastic way to bring hens into the classroom! We have 3 great themes:
For more information please visit the Eggtivity Page
We host a monthly Hens for Everyone Courses, a great way to get find out everything that you need to know to be a hen keeper. Check out the Courses page for more information.
With a lot of help we finally have our own You Tube Channel! We have already started to add videos of what the hens are up to whilst they are in the barn at Hens HQ. Please have a look at Hens for Hire HQ n You Tube!
Bordem Busters for Chicken Lock Down
Just like all other poultry up and down the country the hens are 6 weeks into the Defra lock down. I think they are glad to be out of the mud and rain but have been getting very bored. We have been doing our best to keep them busy, in each run they have plenty of space to scratch around in the deep woodchip, They ahve tyres and chicken swings to play with. Everyday they get a mix of scratch feeds-corn, garlic powder, grit and seaweed. They have access to water and layers pellets and in the afternoons a selction of fruit and veg, kale is very popular at the moment. As they are in the barn and it can be a little dark on dull days we also have some large lights to make it daytime bright. I have on order for them a selection of musical instruments to add to the pens next week! We do love happy hens!
Eggs, Eggs everywhere!
As all the hens are at Hens HQ until the end of next month we have rather a lot of eggs. We have been selling some of them at our honesty box at HQ and from this week we will be posting them out to schools. We have also delivered a large cardbaord box of eggs to the YMCA food bank in Burton on Trent, we will be doing this on a regular basis until the hens go back to school.
New for 2017-Eggtivity Days!
We can bring the hens into the classroom for fun filled days all around the humble hen.
We have 3 themes:
Lifcycles-day 1-21 of chick development in the egg, with lots of chick handling
Chicktoria & Eggbert-Learn how Queen Victoria started the hen keeping craze
Egg Scientists-Time to put on the lab coat & do eggperiements!
Please visit the Eggtivity Day Page for more information!
Prevention Zone Update-5th January 2017
Yesterday Defra announced the extension of the Prevention Zone until 28th Feb. All poultry should be housed all food and water out of the reach of wild birds and runs should be enclosed. Biosecurity should be followed for more information please visit the Defra website. Here at Hens HQ, we have moved everyone into the large Chicken Barn along with the ducks and geese. All the doors have been covered with netting and we have footbaths. The hens have settled in really well, the geese will be happy to be back out the grass once the prevention zone is ended. We take the spread of Avian Flu very seriously and have decided to extend the Christmas holidays of the school hens until the end of the prevention zone.
To keep all the school up to date with their hens we will soon be starting our own You Tube channel and a weekly EGGcast.
Christmas at Hens HQ-(a little blog)
December 2016 has been a bit of a challenging one. We have fully embraced the new Defra regulations and have done our best to move all of the hens indoors to our large Chicken Barn and covered all of the gaps with netting. We have used netting that is normally used to cover ponds. The aquatic shop looked a little surprised when I walked in on the morning of 6th December and bought all of their netting. Mr P and Daniel did a great job up the ladders after school securing it all whilst I got the pens ready for the ducks and geese.
Now the geese haven’t been here very long and I have never kept them before. Until this point they had started to accept that I bring the food and the water and had gone from flapping and hissing at me to just the odd hiss. On the evening of the 6th December I was very impressed that they happily herded across the yard into the barn and the new pen. There new home is next to the ducks and the have plenty of space to move about. Sadly they have gone back to hissing and flapping at everyone who comes in and out of the barn.
The ducks that we have raised from day old ducklings were having none of this ‘herding into the barn’ business and had to all be picked up and carried into the barn. I can report that the hens are all enjoying life in the barn. Happy to be out of the mud and rain with lots of woodchip to scratch around in. We also have lots of hand washing gel and boot washes for coming in and out of the barn.
After reassuring all of our schools about the new Defra regulations and updating some of our health and safety procedures, the hens came home for Christmas. 1600 miles of driving in the hen van for me (did you spot us on the road with our decorated cab? I loved the bunting)
We have had a lovely CHICKmas here at Hens HQ, the hens have hung up their stockings for Santa and got all the treats they had on their list.
We are now getting prepared for the start of 2017. We are putting together ‘prevention zone packs’ for when the hens go back to school once the prevention zone has finished. Along with the Hatching Plan for 2017, competition for our schools for term 2 and 3,it’s going to be cracking!
Hens for Everyone Courses 2017
Thinking of getting hens and not sure where to start? Why not attend one of our courses. We cover everything you need to know for Happy, Healthy Hens! You get lots of hen hug, cakes and a goodie bag!
For more information and to book please visit the ‘courses’ page.
Hatching Options 2017…its going to be a ‘cracking’ year!
To all our schools who have ‘Full Year’ Hen Hire, please check your mail box. You should have details of our new hatching options for 2017. We are very eggcitied about our new egg options:
Batty about Bantams
If you haven’t had the email or would like further information please get contact Claire xx
Are you ready for an EGGventure?
Continuing our literacy project this term we have just launched a trial of our EGGventure Boxes. They are full of goodies to get students imaginations fired up and get them writing! More information to follow…….its all very EGGciting!
Have you meet our Library Chooks?
Now you know that we are hen crazy here and are firm beleivers that hens enrich every part of our lives at home and school. As part of our Chicken Club, (our online resource centre for schools that hire with us or those that want to join) our new literacy programme, the Library Chooks. To help children with guided or unguided reading, go read a book to your Chooks!
To add to the collection of, hens, quails and ducks we have at hens HQ we now have 7 geese. They arrived on Sunday and are taking a bit of time to settle in. They belonged to and elderly neighbour who could no longer care for them so they are now part of our poultry family. Now we just have to come up with some names once we get to know them a little better.(pictures to follow)
Crafty Christmas Workshops
During November we have will be hosting 4 Christmas Craft Workshops here at Hens HQ. All the courses are lead my our creative artist in residence Pat Lings, she will show you how to create some stunning works or art to give and Christmas gifts or to decorate your home. As its at Hens HQ there will be lots of tea, cake & optional hen hugs! All the courses are held in our dairy workshop, we have have onsite facilities along with ample parking. Due to the age of our building I am sorry we do not have disabled access. For full details and to book please visit the shop.
Three Wise Women are coming to Hens HQ
Join the three wise women here at Hens HQ on Thursday 22nd September, A hen night with a difference with Three Wise Women, a brood of hens, tea, cake and networking.
We are meeting at the HQ of Hens for Hire, a brilliant business owned by Claire Peach (aka The Hen Lady). Find out more about her business and meet other local business women.
Tickets £10 – from Paypal or in person from Julie, Joyce or Karen or visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheeWiseWomen/
Autumn Events at Hens HQ
Thursday 22nd September-3 Wise Women
Friday 23rd September-Tea, Coffee & Cake to raise money for British Hen Welfare Trust 10-12pm
Sunday 2nd October-Hens for Everyone Course 10-12pm
Sunday 30th October-Hens for Everyone Course 10-12pm
Draycott in the Clay Show
We will had an eggcellent time at the show. The Egglympics ‘Have a go at Hen Agility Course’ proved very popular with everyone visiting our stand.
August at Hens HQ
We have had a lovely start to the Summer holidays. The hens are all back at HQ so we have plenty of fresh eggs! We are busy cleaning eglus and equipment ready for them to go back out to schools in September.
We have hosted some great courses so far this Summer, the ‘mini mites course’ was great for recapping on how to treat your hen house and hens for the little monsters. We also have a very successful ‘Hen Herbs & Chooktails’ evening sharing the herbs from your garden. We covered the herbs you can feed your hens along with what can be added to the hen house. We made some lovely wreaths to hang in the hen house plus plenty of Pimms!
Country File Live
At the start of August we visited Country File Live in Oxfordshire. We have a lovely day our and enjoyed the fantastic activities the kids took part in kayaking, horse racing and polo. We ate some tasty street food and amazing ice cream! I also got to visit some of my twitter friends Poultry Talk & Dr Chicken, as part of Adam’s Farm.
Yes its true we even managed a family holiday! Many thanks to my Mum for looking after Hens HQ whilst we were at the seaside!
Yes it is finally Summer! (well in name) we have some fantastic evening mini courses here at Hens HQ.
Mini Mites Course is perfect to refresh you on what to do to deal with mites in your flock and hen house. If you are new to hen keeping, it will give you all the knowledge you need! All in a relaxed environment, light refreshments included plus 10% off mite products in the shop.
Hen Herbs & ‘Chook-Tails’ to celebrate turning 5, we will be sharing the different herbs you can use with your hens and hen house and making a herb ring to take home. We will also enjoy some evening cocktails, alcoholic an non alcoholic.
For more information and to book please visit the courses page from the SHOP.
Our hens and pupils are getting into shape as part of this terms Egglympics competition. To celebrate a summer of sport and the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The challenge for the schools is to train their hens to complete some obstacles and send us the video. Not wanting to be left out we have been having a go at Hens HQ. You can watch our training videos via our Facebook & Twitter pages.
Our top tip for Hen training is……GRAPES! definitely the right treat to motivate the girls to join in! Also keep the training short and sweet!
We were thrilled to be featured in the Guardian Newspaper back in March this year. Being able to share what we do with so many people has been wonderful. If you have a minute or two, have a look at the full article here.
Here at Hens For Hire HQ we have hens of all shapes and sizes, you birds we are growing on to join the school hens, girls who have retired plus a few of my favourites!
If you follow us on twitter you know we are also promoting hen re-homing through the British Hen Welfare Trust. We decided to adopt our own hens through the BHWT website, its a great way to hug a hen if you haven’t got room for some at home. Meet our girls…Minerva and Little Flo.