Newbie Seeking Advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by VickiP, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. VickiP

    VickiP Hatching

    Sep 16, 2016
    Northampton, England
    Hi everyone

    I've just joined this site because I've been reading things in here on and off for a couple of weeks. Tomorrow I am rehoming four ex-battery hens. These poor hens have never seen daylight.

    Anyway I'm going to let them free range in the backyard, so this seemed like the perfect place to come. I haven't actually kept chickens before and sometimes think this is a crazy venture but lives are at stake here.

    I believe I have everything I need. I've treated the henhouse for red mite, I've got layers crumble to start them with as they've never had pellets before, I've got mixed corn for the afternoon, I've got grit (although from reading threads here, they may not need this being free range). I've got red mite powder to apply to them after two days, as advised by the British Hen Welfare Trust, where I'm getting them from.

    If anyone else has ever done this, is there anything you wished you'd known beforehand or any advice you can give me in managing my flock?

    Thanks very much!

  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think you have it covered - I am sure you are well aware of the risks of free ranging. I am an proponent of it; others not so much. I wish you well. I always admire the folks who take in the ex-battery hens. I am sure they will thrive under your care! [​IMG]
  3. I would first confine them to the coop and run for two weeks so they think of that as home and they can get over the stress of moving, and to a new way of living..Chickens can not handle stress very well.....
    Once they are established into the routine of living within your coop...Then Free range....They will be happier birds..

    Best of luck..
  4. VickiP

    VickiP Hatching

    Sep 16, 2016
    Northampton, England
    Thank you both.

    I do have a run which they will be kept in at first before being giving full free range. I was only planning to keep them in it until Wednesday though so will reconsider how long they stay in there.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Definitely leave them confined for a couple weeks before free ranging.
    I'd actually leave them in just the coop for a week before letting them out into the run.

    Hopefully your coop is large enough for the number of birds, is well lit with windows, and well ventilated.
    I assume you have a waterer too.

  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    You may find they don't want to leave the coop at first. If they have been in battery cages - that was their security. Just have patience, they will venture out when they feel safe. Grass and everything else will probably be a big surprise to them, as will an area to dust bathe. In time they will adjust and believe they are in heaven on earth. I know you will do everything to make them comfortable.

    There are many folks who have taken in ex-batt chickens. If you put that in the search box I'm sure some of their posts will come up. Thank you very much for giving them a real home.
    1 person likes this.
  7. VickiP

    VickiP Hatching

    Sep 16, 2016
    Northampton, England
    There are no windows in the coop. It's big enough for six hens so four will have plenty of space, though. It's your standard small henhouse. It's dark in there though so I think they will have to come out into the run. In fact, because they're ex-bats, apparently they won't even know at first that they can go in and out.
  8. VickiP

    VickiP Hatching

    Sep 16, 2016
    Northampton, England
    Thank you, I'm hoping they will have a very happy retirement after such an awful start. I look forward to watching them regrow feathers, learn to perch, enjoy their dust baths and just generally be happy hens.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Why? I can see not letting them out of the run, but why keep cooped for so long? Most coops are pretty darn small.

  10. The coop and run will be fine.


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