Acquired: Rescue / shelter group
Posted Jun 07, 2014
I rescued 12 battery hens and the feeling you get knowing you've given these animals a better life is incredible. Keeping chickens is increasing in popularity and even those with a small back garden or allotment are getting some. Chickens are relatively easy to keep, but there are a few essential things they need.
Chickens go to roost at night, they like to sleep off the ground either in trees or on fences. Your chickens need access to a safe and secure coop at night to keep them safe from foxes and other predators. To get your new chickens used to their new living arrangement, keeping them shut away for at least 24 hours shows them that this is a safe area to sleep. Chickens like to perch at night, so a beam or ledges inside their coop will make your chickens happy. Always make sure all your chickens are inside at night as some may have decided to roost in a tree.
It is not fair to keep any animal shut inside their whole life. Chickens need access to a small area to exercise and forage. This increases the stimuli for chickens making them happier and healthier, which in turn makes them better layers. Our chickens had the run of the whole garden but a fenced off area will suffice, just ensure they have shelter from the sun or rain.
If you are thinking of rescuing battery chickens there are a few things to bear in mind. They have never been allowed outside and their new home will be quite scary to them. It is recommended that they are kept inside their coop for the first few days, then when ready, leave their coop door open so they can go outside in their own time. Seeing them discover the outside is such a joy.
Due their previous living conditions battery hens have often plucked out their own feathers, but don't worry these soon grow back and you will have healthy looking chickens in no time.
Chickens often require no special diet, just grain or layers feed, which provide all the nutrients chickens need to lay eggs. Battery hens have often been fed a specific feed and slowly introducing their new diet is key to prevent them from getting sick.
I would recommend getting chickens to anyone who has a little bit of land, a suitable coop and loves eggs! They require little special attention and the rewards are great.