We’ve just rehomed some hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust in Hampshire and, because we have young children, we were wondering if we should get the hens any vaccinations or boosters, as you have to with our dogs?

Jane Howorth replies:

Thank you for re-homing some hens through the charity, and I am sure your children will get a lot of enjoyment from having them as pets.

One of the advantages of re-homing ex-bat hens is that all our hens arrive fully vaccinated, as it is standard practice for hens to be vaccinated before they enter the commercial system. These vaccinations are usually given either as a spray, in the drinking water or by injection when the chicks are between the ages of one day to 16 weeks of age.

Commercial hens are vaccinated against a number of diseases, which includes Salmonella – although this does not last for the entire life of the hen, Coccidiosis and Mareks, and will be completely safe for your family to keep and handle as the vaccine merely stimulates activity in the immune system of the hens and is then eliminated. Once your hen has been vaccinated, there is no need for additional boosters, saving another trip to the vets!

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