Hen hotels are popular in response to a burgeoning market in pet hens

Owners of hens who keep them as companion animals are using hen boarding houses for their companions when they go on holiday which is proving to be a highly profitable business because between 2020 and 2022, chickens and other feathered friends kept as pets increased by almost 200% in the UK.

Henidorm boarding
Henidorm boarding. Image: Henidorm on Facebook.

The number of chickens and other fowl kept as pets in the UK increased dramatically from 400,000 to 1.4 million over this time.

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A lot of the chickens were bought during the pandemic and they are now using hen hotels when they go away on holiday. These hotels are called ‘hennels”. Air travel is increasing since the pandemic and has reached and superseded pre-pandemic levels which is another reason why hen hotels are doing so well.

There’s one in Beckenham, called ‘Henidorm’, which is the biggest hen hotel in London and the south-east. They are fully booked throughout summer.

The owner, Caroline Nevard, saw a gap in the market 12 years ago when she had trouble placing her hens in a boarding establishment.

She uses state-of-the-art plastic co-ops which keep the chicken is cool in summer and warm in winter. They can be dismantled easily to be disinfected after each usage.

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Flocks need to be separated in different coops. Boarding for a week for up to 4 hens costs £56 at Henidorm. She describes chickens as cannibals “so you can’t mix flocks,” she said.

She grows nettles in between the coops to help stop the spread of airborne diseases. She feed the hens dried leaves from the nettles as a health boost “much like spinach”.

Many of the families adopted chickens because they have children and they were bought at Easter. Nevard sends the families photos and postcards when their hens are at Henidorm if she has time to keep them abreast of what is going on.

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