Training Helps Small Business To Work Through Fowl Conditions
As the name suggests, Hens for Hire Ltd specialises in keeping a variety of hens and offers others, particularly young people, the experience of caring for them. While the business is based in Burton on Trent, Chicken Whisperer Claire works with nurseries, childcare centres and care homes across England, setting up hen houses and getting the birds settled in, then training staff and students on how to care for them.
The hire period is flexible, and the hens are picked up and cared for during holiday times, meaning their carers don’t need to scramble to find a birdy-sitter! At the end of the hire period, Hens for Hire picks up the poultry and moves them on to new, permanent homes – they often become family pets or breeding birds.
As well as providing bird-related learning, such as hen hire and hatching experiences, the business also delivers equine assisted learning with their Positive Ponies sessions, where their team of Shetland ponies and some hen friends interact with groups or individuals to help improve mental health and wellbeing.
Claire initially heard about the Skills Hub from another small business, and Hens for Hire has since been awarded several Training Grants. These were used to fund courses including Natural Horsemanship Training – which emphasises communication with horses and ponies using body language, and showing clear leadership in a calm, assertive manner – and Poultry Knowledge training.
The latter has been especially important for the business, as it focuses on animal care and disease control, offering participants insight into the prevention and detection of illness. This has become vital over the past few years due to the spread of avian flu; by learning to manage illness within their flock, Hens for Hire has been able to protect their feathered friends.
When we spoke to Claire, she said “The Training Grants have impacted our business massively. We are currently on the third year of poultry lockdown caused by repeated outbreaks of avian flu, and the restrictions placed on moving poultry and where they can be kept has made it much more difficult for us to hire out our hens, which has obviously affected our income.
The poultry training has helped to provide me with the skills and knowledge to care for the birds at Hens HQ, and also to provide additional support for the temporary carers with any health issues that might occur while the chickens are hired out. This also means being able to keep the hens as safe as I can while preparing for a repeat this winter.
The Natural Horsemanship Training – where the aim is to develop my skills in handling the ponies in challenging situations, along with building up their experience – is helping me to not only deliver the Positive Ponies sessions, but also to develop more services involving them and build up our customer base.”
When asked whether she would recommend applying for a Skills Hub Training Grant to other businesses, Claire responded: “YES.”
To learn more about Hens for Hire and how animal care benefits their clients, you can visit their website: Welcome to Hens for Hire | Hens for Hire