Caring for Battery Hens
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Author:  Roova [ Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Caring for Battery Hens

Hi there, I was asked by pm to make this a separate thread in the hope it would become a sticky. Here it is :-D


You need to be aware the commercial egg layers do seem to have a shorter life span than other chooks (hence they are still quite young when sold) but if you provide them with good care you can still have happy times ahead.

They may not lay you an egg every day as they get older and you will need to keep a close eye on their health because they are known to go downhill quickly around the 2yr mark onward. Once you get to know your hens you'll be able to see if they become unwell and if its not something treatable you'll need to be prepared or able to help them out of their misery.
There's are LOADS of websites with good information on how to care for ex battery hens to help them live for years. If you type in 'caring for battery hens' you'll be kept very busy. Here's some bits and pieces from one website:

Once out of the cages, ex-battery hens adapt very quickly to a normal environment. Within a few hours they will be pecking at things, scratching at the ground, rolling in the dirt for a dust bath, stretching their wings open to the sun and just doing normal chicken activities.

They are often a bit nervous of movement, because they have never been exposed to it before. They can take a few days to get use to things such as tree branches swaying in the breeze or leaves blowing around as well as everyday noises like traffic or dogs barking.

At first the hens will not know how to perch but they will work it out in time. Remember they have lived their whole life on a slanted wire floor. You can start by having something just 10cm up off the ground with some soft straw for them to sleep on. If you purchase nest boxes for your hens it may take a few days for them to get the idea of going into them, but they will soon learn. You may want to put fake eggs (or golf balls) in there to give them an idea.

When you first let your hens out of the coop give them a small area to walk around in and explore. If you let them free range in a large area they may get disorientated and feel quite frightened. It’s better to start with small steps because EVERYTHING is new to them.

Because they have come from a controlled environment it is recommend to put blankets over the coop or bring them inside at night if it is cool for the first few nights, depending on how bald they are. They have never experienced ANY change in temperature and it may take a few weeks to acclimatise. It’s better to be safe than sorry and end up with ill hens. If it is hot you need to keep them as cool as possible. You can put wet sheets or towels over the coop wire or move the hens to a cool spot and make sure they have lots of fresh cool water to drink. Please DO NOT spray them with cold water.

Most hens settle in quite quickly but it is best not to handle them or spend too much time “fussing” with them for the first few days, but you do need to keep checking them to make sure they are alright, just a quick look in to the coop to make sure they are all OK. Try to keep other animals away from the coop if possible.

To start with feed your hens commercial chicken food, mash or crumble. Please DO NOT feed them treats. They have never had anything but commercial mash or crumble food so resist the temptation to “spoil them” with treats or you may end up with very sick hens. Introduce new foods slowly and one at a time over a number of weeks.

Make sure each hen knows where the food and water is. They have never had to find food and water before. Jiggling your finger in the water often gives them the idea. It may take them a while to grasp the concept of having to get up and walk to eat and drink. Check to make sure each hen is drinking and eating.

You will need to put their food into a deep dish to begin with. Some of the hens may never be able to eat except from a deep dish, it depends on how mutilated their beak is from the debeaking process. Keep an eye on them and make sure they are able to eat and that their beak is not hitting the bottom of the dish and causing harm to an already damaged beak. DO NOT trim the beak, often the bottom beak is longer than the top due to debeaking, the bottom beak should wear down in time.

Pick up any droppings from the straw every day and always make sure they have a fresh supply of food and water.

I hope you get lots of enjoyment from your new hens, I'm sure they'll enjoy every moment out of their cage!

Author:  oozcorps [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens

Thanks for this info Roova :-D

yep it needs to be a sticky so it is seen right up there with the others = new battery hen owners can then just go read and know what to do

:-D a_bravo.gif cheers to Roova :-D

Author:  OZROOZ [ Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens

Very good Roova

Author:  BattHenRescue [ Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens

Very helpful roova and just what I was needing

Author:  Bluemoon [ Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens

Yes excellent roova
Just remember to be patient they do take some time to adapt to outdoors ect.

Author:  oozcorps [ Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens

[smilie=bump.gif] to keep it right up there

* imagine a smilie for - make this a sticky??

Author:  bluepeafowl [ Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Caring for Battery Hens (Sticky?)

I will alert Admin to the request for a sticky topic

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