what a great write up, thank you so much! It rained heavily last night and temps dropped to 30's, decided that me and hens being stressed in this weather wouldnt help it. I got some good sleep and its Day 4 with the ladies. I gave them a bit of goat yogurt with their crumble this morning, they loved it!Don't panic, those are lovely birds and chickens are not terribly difficult to keep. You are getting good advice here and will get more. Chickens are very docile at night and don't see well in the dark, so that's the best time to handle them. You want to put your hands over their bodies like a football, including their wings so they can't flap. A flapping bird can be, well, a bit of a pain, lol! Then tuck her under one arm, again like a football with her fanny toward you for the exam. Look for small moving things that might be lice or mites trying to hide under her feathers. They may be under her wings, between her legs and body, or in the feathers along her neck. When you're done, place her feet firmly back on the roost before you let go of her. We don't mind pictures of chickens' bottoms or poo, it helps us help you figure out what's going on with an unwell bird.
A good size for a roost is a 2x4 laid flat, with the 4" side being the part they stand on. They sleep crouched down on their feet to keep them warm, prevents frostbite to the toes.
Feed a crumble or pellet of all-flock formula and provide both grit and oyster shell in separate dishes, available at all times during daylight hours. Grit is for digestion; OS is for strong egg shells. Water should always be available too.
Protection from predators is paramount. Everything eats chicken. Confinement at night is critical. Use hardware cloth, not chicken wire, when building. Think about predators that dig and protect from them as well as those that enter through small openings, such as rats and snakes. We're here to share experience with you and wish you all the best. Chickening is fun!