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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

 

July 2013 Vol. 2

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July 2013
Vol. 2

Some Advice For People Adopting Ex-Battery Hens
Karen (Chickens in Langford)


I can give some advice to those considering adopting these hens as we adopted two white leghorn hens from a battery cage system here in Victoria, BC Canada.
These chickens have never been out of a very tiny cage, so you'll need to understand that their 'instincts' as a chicken are not as honed as you would expect.

1) They won't know how to scratch the ground for bugs (they'll just bend over and peck). This will come with time.

2) They won't know how to sit on a roost - you'll need to put them there for the first few nights. Ours curled up together in a little ball and fell asleep under the coop as soon as dusk came.

3) Yes, they will be timid at first, and they will run from you. Very quick on their feet! They have come from an environment where they were treated very poorly, they will be scared - and the new environment will be disorienting to them - trees? grass? birds flying above? barking dogs in the neighbourhood? sound of cars?

Give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings - approach them gently. It won't be long before they are eating from your hand.

4) Keep them in your coop and or/outdoor run for a few weeks before letting them free range. They need to get to know their environment, and know where to come back to if they feel unsafe or threatened - this is important.

5) Don't immediately feed scraps and treats. Slowly introduce treat items to their diet. They aren't used to these types of foods.

6) Give them an obvious and inviting nest - lots of straw etc. They have never been in a nest and will lay an egg wherever they are when they need to. This will quickly change if you give them somewhere inviting to go.

7) If you have an existing flock, keep the battery hens in quarantine for 30 days ( a separate coop, across the yard from your current coop) - do not immediately integrate them. If they have come to you with disease, it could wipe out your flock.

After the 30 days, integrate the hens slowly. The battery hens will not be as strong as your existing flock, and will not be able to withstand the typical 'pecking order' treatment for long. Small doses. This being said, integrating our two into our flock of three was a piece of cake!! Our existing hens didn't give them the time of day, and there was virtually no pecking order beyond the occasional peck to the head if one was 'out of line' You might get lucky like that, or not... best to err on the side of caution and supervise.


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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published July 2013 by www.Self-Sufficient-Life.com