New funding for hen housing to launch soon

Defra has published guidance on two new types of hen housing grants, which are set to launch next month.


Laying hen and pullet farmers in England with flocks of 1,000 birds or more will be able to apply for the new hen housing funding next month.

The Laying Hen Housing for Health and Welfare grant will help farmers carry out infrastructure projects to improve the health and welfare of their animals, and support environmental sustainability. 

As there’s no ‘one size fits all’ poultry farm, the grant gives farmers options, so they can get funding for a project that meets their needs, Defra said.

There is a direct link between the health and welfare of livestock and a farmer’s bottom line, and the challenges faced by the poultry sector in recent years make this clear. 

Defra noted that ageing housing can make a bad situation worse. Many farmers want to update their housing but struggle to find the funds. 

Grants are available for two types of project: 

1. Building a new veranda  

Grant amount: £5,000–100,000 is available toward the cost of installing a new veranda on an existing building.   

The additional space offered by a veranda can help to improve welfare issues, for example, feather pecking.

Feather pecking is an abnormal behaviour where some laying hens peck others – sometimes removing feathers. This can result in poor plumage, patches of feather loss, skin damage and even death. 

Where feather pecking develops into injurious pecking and the protective function of the bird’s plumage is lost, this can trigger cannibalism, which is a serious animal welfare problem. 

Verandas can reduce crowding within indoor housing, increase range use, and provide access to fresh air and natural light when range access is not possible, including when a housing order is in force. 

Grants for these veranda-only projects will be awarded on a first come first serve basis. If you’re interested, read the guidance so you’re ready to act when it’s time to apply.  

2.  Updating housing stock 

Grant available:  £15,000–500,000 is available toward the cost of refurbishing or replacing existing laying hen and pullet housing. 

This is an opportunity to enhance how flocks are housed, with features designed to deliver excellent levels of health and welfare. This includes fixed bio-secure, multi-tier housing with non-flicker LED lighting, mechanical ventilation.  

Funding for roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will also be available as part of these larger projects.  

You can also build a veranda as part of this project. 

The grant will be available to farmers with any current housing system. It will support anyone looking to make the transition from colony cages to high-welfare loose-housing. 

Hydor products included in grant

The online checker is likely to be open from the end of June. Successful applicants are able to submit their application from July, according to ventilation specialist Hydor.

Commenting on the new grant, Hydor said a successful project will improve laying hen and pullet health and welfare, increase environmental sustainability, or introduce innovation. 

Hydor is a ventilation specialist within the agriculture market, supplying a range of market leading products to the poultry industry – see more information about the company here.

Included in the new grant, are products such as Hydor Agri Max, Hydor Turbulator, and inlets supplied by TPI.

The Hydor Agri Max follows industry-standard chimney sizing to be a direct replacement for your existing fan unit, making it the perfect choice for both refurbishment or new housing.

The Turbulator Recirculation Fans are available in different sizes, are low cost to run, and are supplied with UK 3 pin plug for fast deployment.

Hydor products are designed, built and distributed from their premises in Salisbury, UK, meaning short lead times and a reliable service, according to the company.

With a history of over 60 years within the agriculture industry, Hydor says it is here to deliver quality engineered products to provide ‘welfare through air’.

Next steps 

Defra plans to open the grant for applications next month (June 2024).

When it’s time to apply, it will be posted on the Defra Farming blog – subscribe here.  

The Laying Hen Housing for Health and Welfare grant is part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. It’s delivered through the Farming Investment Fund.    

READ MORE: What government grants can farmers apply for now?

READ MORE: FETF: Animal Health and Welfare grants now available

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