The first 24 hours

the first 24 hours

Buying hens is enormously exciting for everyone, everyone that is except the hens! You are offering your birds a loving home catering to their every need but it will take them time to realise this. Chickens really hate moving house. They get moved from crate to box, driven for miles and put in unfamiliar coop in a strange garden, often with other hens they’ve never met. It’s all very stressful! You can make all the difference to your new pets by following this guidance:

  • Only buy hens that are compatible with one another, please don’t put new bantams with large hens
  • When you collect your hens, try to take them home in the same box or even better a dog crate or cat carrier. They like to be with their other feathered friends
  • Go straight home, don’t pop to the pub or the supermarket on the way!
  • Keep your vehicle quiet, no shouting children or loud music
  • Place the box/crate in the boot, never let children hold it, leave any other pets at home
  • Keep the car well ventilated
  • When you get home, either place the open box/crate in the run or if the run is very large, place the open box/crate in the coop and allow the hens to come out when they are ready. Ensure the new hens are locked up safely in the coop at night.
  • If you’re introducing new hens to an established flock, place the box/crate in a cool area (the corner of a garage is ideal) and offer the hens food and water in situ. At dusk, add the new hens to the coop.
  • In the morning, let the hens out of the coop and give them access to food and water. If you have added them to an existing flock ensure you provide EXTRA temporary feeders and drinkers so all the hens get access.
  • We highly recommend all the drinkers contain a multivitamin/rehydration solution for the first week. Stressed hens have compromised immunity, this helps to stop them becoming unwell. They can also use up to 10% of their body weight. We recommend HYDRATE-A-HEN
  • Don’t allow hens to free range until they reliably put themselves to bed in the coop at dusk
  • Expect lots of pecking. When people form teams they have meetings and talk. When hens form flocks and the ‘pecking order’ they peck each other! It’s not how we’d organise ourselves but we’re not birds! Don’t humanise it. It’s very natural and normal and it needs to happen. As long as no-one draws blood, you don’t need to intervene. If you can’t bear to watch, then don’t! After 24-48 hours things have almost always settled down, so just wait it out.
  • Enjoy your new feathery pets, think up some great names and watch their antics. They are massive time wasters!
  • You might need to wait a few weeks for eggs but finding that magical little treasure, never gets boring x

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