How long does it take to settle in

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lolly2012, May 8, 2011.

  1. lolly2012

    lolly2012 In the Brooder

    May 8, 2011
    Hello I have just got my first 4 chickens and was told that they were laying an egg each a day. They are black copper maran's.
    I understand that It takes them time to settle into their new home I'm just wondering how long is it usually before they settle.

    They seem very happy when they are let out at around 7:30 am I let them free roam all day til dusk.
    They are drinking plenty of water and I have feed available to them all day but they seem to be more interested pecking around in the grass ect.
    I have two windows in the coop to allow some light but didn't want to add more because I was told the nesting boxes need to be quite dark.

    These chickens don't go back into the coop at all during the day they prefer to sit under a row of trees we have behind the coop.
    I have lots to learn I am getting the girls used to me slowly they were hiding from me to start with but now if I sit down the peck around me quite confidently.

    I would like an egg each a day but I am more concerned that they are happy hens and I presume happy hens lay eggs and unhappy ones don't thats my main concern.

    I have had two eggs in two days from these four.

    Any advice please.

    lolly [​IMG]
  2. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Songster

    When they're out in the yard, contented hens will wander around, scratch for bugs, and talk quietly to each other. Frightened hens hide, and unhappy hens will be noisy and/or pace constantly and try to find a way out of the yard. If you see a hen taking a dust bath, that's another good indicator of a contented hen that feels safe, because when dust-bathing they are rather preoccupied and vulnerable. When we moved, it took a good week for our girls to get used to their new home and start feeling comfortable in it.

    It's normal for a hen to stop laying for several days when moved to a new home; the stress causes her body to temporarily call a halt to the laying, but once she settles down and feels happy, the stress hormones go away and she resumes laying. Since you're already getting an egg a day, that suggests that they're starting to lay again slowly, and hopefully will pick up the pace. But as far as whether or not they're contented, the fact that they're enjoying their yard is a very good sign. Chickens love having access to a grassy yard!
  3. lolly2012

    lolly2012 In the Brooder

    May 8, 2011
    Quote:Thank you its a big relief to me I think one of them is more wary than the other three so I have made no attempts to go too close to her I figure if I can gain the trust of one or two the others will see that I am fine. I would like to be able to stroke them in the future but don't think it wise to try to handle them at such an early stage I have held each of them just once when I got them home to place them into their coop but since have made no attempt to touch them. I was told to give a little bread when I greet them in the morning so I am going to try this tomorrow.

    I haven't seen them dust bathe as yet but one was sitting down on the grass in the sunshine today and she seemed very content and she is the one who is the shyest.

    I must admit I have sat down in the middle of the garden and they seemed to forget I was there and they are so much fun to watch their antics made me giggle to myself I love them so much already I am really hooked. [​IMG]
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Songster

    Yes, bread is a great idea: they love bread. (Also rice, corn, oatmeal, buns, lettuce, fruit . . . .) Sometimes they'll take it straight from your hand; other times you have to toss them a few small pieces first, and once they know what you have they'll be more interested in coming over. But just sitting out there and watching them is a great way to accustom them to your presence; they may scurry off when you stand up, but given enough time they will become very familiar. You may even find them hopping up into your lap!
  5. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Songster

    Aug 18, 2012
    New Jersey
    Give them some time to simmer down and they will start laying again. We added 4 new ladies to our flock on August 25th, and only now is everyone starting to settle down. One of the new girls just laid her first egg this morning after almost 3 weeks! (She's a polish though, and very skittish, so it's not that surprising).

    Laying depends on many things, but another thing to consider if you bought hens instead of pullets, is that some of your girls may be coming into molt. They do that around 1 1/2 years old (fall of their second year), and they do stop laying while molting. Keep an eye out for feathers mysteriously appearing all over your yard.

    One other thing - they LOVE cheese. I keep a little bag of cubed (very small) cheddar, feta or mozz and hand feed mine a little bit every morning. It's a great way to make sure they get a good amount of calcium (for egg-making), and it will help tame them very quickly. They may not let you stroke or pet them for a while, but after a couple of days of cheese, they will literally be competing to eat out of your hand. Good luck!

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