ex battery hens......behaviour? *pics added*

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by spish, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    i saw an advertisement last week about a chicken factory 'renewing' their stock and having to first get rid of all the 'old' hens due to bad egg prices or something (these hens aren't even a year old yet(!)
    the hens have to be picked up on the tenth or they go for slaughter on the 11th (i understand the guy has to make money somehow from them if the eggs arent selling...but yeah..ouch poor hens)

    so ive been talking it over with hubby and we've agreed we can take on 30. (couldnt fit anymore in the quarantine zone sadly)

    so tomorrow evening we go to collect 30 lucky hens to give them a 2nd chance of life!

    im just looking for some advice really on how their gonna behave...i mean they've been stuck in little battery cages all their (short) life..how are they gonna react to living in a nice hen house...with grass...and bugs...and space to move?
    are they gonna freak out or will they know what to do. will they know how to forrage or is it something i need to teach them? should i perhaps put a couple of my 'normal' hens with them to teach them the ropes?

    do i need any special arranges/care for them?
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  2. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    keep them away from your regular hens for at least a month, or until your 100% sure that they are not sick.
    they should be able to learn to learn how to forage by themselves, but they might stop laying for a while or until they get used to their new surroundings.
    And may god bless you for saving these hens [​IMG]
  3. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    thanks [​IMG] its just a shame we cant take more....theres reportedly 10,000 in there [​IMG]
    just four hours to go and they'll be here [​IMG]
  4. shellyga

    shellyga Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2010
    wow.. that is a BUNCH of chickens.. bless you for givng 30 a good life. I too have "rescued" a few in my short chicken raising life and they act a little "shellshocked" for about the first couple of days.. then they do instictively what chickens do. I just bought a flock of coronation sussex (5) from a breeder that keeps them in cages.. after the second day, they girls are giving themselves their first ever dust bath.. and enjoying every second of the dirt beneath their feet. They rewarded me with an egg yesterday (just 3 days after being moved) so they seem happy to be on the ground.

    Good luck with your rescues.. post pictures when you can and keep us updated..would love to hear how they settle in.

  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Hopefully Gritty will see this and add her advise.

    You will need to be patient. They will not know how to be chickens. They will not know how to roost and likely won't go outside for quite some time.

    Those chickens are lucky to have you. Good luck!
  6. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    20 minutes to go and im leaving to collect them. im actually feeling a bit nervous, dont know why...im hoping the guy just grabs 30 and puts them in the van, and not that i have to pick out 30...how on earth would i decide which to take???
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Good luck to you. [​IMG]

    They are likely to not want their heads to be out from under cover, i.e., a roof over their heads, at first. You'll have to force them out of doors and they will look for the nearest object to get under - a bush, a lawn chair, the coop, etc. Just keep forcing them out and they will get the hang of it.

    Also, most battery chickens aren't given the benefit of a nestbox, so be prepared to find eggs just about anywhere - wherever they happen to be when the urge hits.

    They are usually pretty easily spooked as well. Time, patience and alot of TLC is what they really need.

    I had rescue broilers, not battery hens, but the "institutionalization" of their brains is pretty much the same.

    Feel free to PM me with any questions.
  8. Jessie_Jazz

    Jessie_Jazz Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    Suffolk UK
    Good for you!

    I rehomed 4 battery hens last year (not quite as heroic as your 30) and they were the first chickens I'd ever had.

    I kept them inside for the first couple of days so they knew where home was. They learn quite quickly how to act like chickens but when they came they had no idea what fruit or veggies were, they wouldn't touch them for a while until they found out they were edible. They slept all squished into one nest-box for months and only recently started roosting. You do get eggs laid all over the place for the first few weeks of laying but they figure it out eventually. I put fake eggs and golf balls in the nests to encourage them to lay there.

    As much as it is a rewarding experience watching them regain their feathers and live a happy life. I am currently trying to decide whether or not to rescue more hens or buy 'normal chickens' As they can have quite a few health issues, particularly with their egg-laying equipment. I have lost 2 of my 4 in a year, which when you have a small flock is upsetting. The first one died in the first winter from heart failure and the 2nd one had to be culled last week due to being egg bound/ egg peritonitis. Another of mine has been egg bound and lays really bizarre eggs.

    Like someone else said they need a bit more TLC than regular chickens. I guess if you have more experience than me it might be easier going. I feel like I've had a it of a crash course in chicken illnesses this year!

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:Quote:I agree, be patient and a lot of TLC. They will adjust but it will take some time. You are a saint, especially for taking 30 of them. [​IMG]
  10. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    I took on 44 ex-batts a couple of years ago. They definitely needed extra TLC for a few weeks until they got used to their new surroundings. They screamed every time I turned a light on, huddled in a corner to sleep at night, dropped eggs everywhere etc but after a while they got the hang of things and behaved like "normal" chickens. We can get special food for ex-batts over here, I dont know if you get it there but worth looking into. http://www.smallholderfeed.co.uk/Products/ExBattery/Ex-Battery-Hens.aspx

    me for what I am about to ask please but it was only a couple of weeks ago that you were considering culling all your birds and starting over because of a variety of unknown diseases running through your farm that you couldn't get to the bottom of. I am thinking of you and your stress levels as well as the welfare of the birds when I ask if you are sure this is something you want to take on right now as it's not a small undertaking. Again, please accept my apologies if you think I am speaking out of turn.

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