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Rehoming ex-battery hens - info please

(13 Posts)
Grockle Thu 21-Apr-11 22:22:43

I have a new coop and space for more chooks. I'd love to re-home some ex-batts rather than buy from a breeder. I've read the info I can find on bhwt but is there anything I need to know? I assume, once they settle, they'll be good layers?

chickchickchicken Fri 22-Apr-11 00:15:22

mine have all been good layers. ive had ex batts for years and years and its incredibly rewarding to watch them discover free range life.

mine have all lived a long time and we have one still laying 7 years later shock

most of mine have come via bhwt but we have also had two from little hens rescue

in the early days you may have to teach them how to get in and out of the coop and how to shelter as they are not used to using their initiative. their legs may be weak so may need help initially getting into the coop. however they are very quick learners and within a few days/week or so they will be letting themselves out in the morning, going in to lay, going in at bedtime, sheltering from sun and rain all on their own

they will be given a quick health check before being rehomed. any injured/poorly hens will be kept and looked after by the volunteers

dont be surprised if for a few hours they just stand still as they are not used to moving around. they will quickly learn to love exploring

when you go to pick them up we have always been able to choose which ones we want. they will likely be in a volunteer co-ordinator's garden waiting for all that days rehomers to collect them. its great to meet other chicken people and you can also at that time ask any more questions you may have

mummymeister Fri 22-Apr-11 16:46:00

We have had ex bats. Best tips are to keep them inside for the first day in their coop and then leave the door open for them to come out if they are free ranging like ours. We have always let them do what they want to do rather than try herding them around and making them stressed. We don't have our chickens in runs they wander round our garden and fields. They look absolutely dreadful when you get them but perk up really quickly. we have lost a few really poorly ones straight off and they seem to eat twice as much as our other chickens. All have laid well after they have settled in. Make sure you choose ones as it can be a bit of a lottery. They are a bit clueless when it comes to going in at night but after 3 or 4 nights rounding them up and walking them in they got the idea. Very rewarding and you will never eat a battery egg again!

Grockle Sun 24-Apr-11 21:40:03

Thanks for the info and tips. I've contacted BHWT to see if I can rehome any from their next batch and am waiting to hear back from them. I really hope I can help - I'm desperate for some more girls and don't want to end up at a breeder if I can help some chooks in need of a bit of love.

chickchickchicken Sun 24-Apr-11 21:50:20

i'm sure you will love the whole experience of rehoming ex batts. its very addictive though!

Grockle Wed 04-May-11 21:35:52

I've booked them! Am very excited! Won't get them til June but am glad to know they are on their way.

OhWesternWind Fri 06-May-11 21:48:32

Ex batts are wonderful! We have three at the moment and they are such friendly girls, more so than our pure bred posh girls. You wouldn't know now that they had such a bad start in life and lay brilliantly, two or three eggs a day and they kept going all through the winter. I'd recommend them to anyone.

They do tend to smell awful when you get them but I mix bokashi bran in their feed and bedding and this seems to help.

I remember a few days after one of our ex batts arrived, she was out in the garden and had dug herself a dust bath hole and was just sitting in it and making what I can only describe as a purring noise. They are so happy and content with their new life.

chickchickchicken Fri 06-May-11 22:57:46

grockle - grin glad you are getting some ex batts. they are so lovely. i have brainwashed persuaded friends over the years to rehome ex batts and they have all had good experiences. bhwt is a reputable organisation and they only rehome the hens that they think are ok (the check is quite brief as they have hundreds to check but they are chicken experts so know more about chickens than the average vet). poorly hens stay with volunteers.

let us know how it goes.

<ponders having two more girls as it is so heartwarming to see them enjoy their first dirt bath>

Grockle Sat 07-May-11 08:02:39

I keep reading through all the info and we're going to make the new girls a ramp so they can get in and out of the coop. I think it'll be wonderful for DS (5) who often asks to eat chicken nuggets ( I won't let him).

Interesting about purring. One of mine dies that and age always makes us laugh!

BogChicken Sat 07-May-11 08:28:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nickelbabe Mon 16-May-11 14:40:25

we had two, that were to go in with our 2 (had from POL).

they took a long time to adjust.
We were told that if we put them in at night, they would be okay, but we eneded up having to build them their own coop and separate it from the rest of the run.
they basically had a run within a run for weeks.

To make it worse, they couldn't even be in with each other, so we had to make a partition of wire in that coop and run, so that they couldn't peck each other to death.
we had to rig up 2 sets of food and drink bowls.

We had huge problems when we let them out into the garden, and had to have them in a chicken wire run, split in two down the middle so they could see but not peck each other.

yes, it was tough for months, but eventually, they got used to it, and they were great with humans.
Rita, especially , was very cuddly.

I'm not trying to put you off, by the way, jsut outlining how hard it can be to integrate them.

I would definitely take ex-batts again, because the rewards far outweigh the inconvenience.

Grockle Wed 15-Jun-11 09:46:04

I'm getting them on Saturday <excited>

Thanks for the warning, Nickelback - I know it won't be easy to integrate them with each other and with my existing flock but I never imagined it would be that hard. I have a spare eglu so hopefully we'll manage.

mummymeister Wed 15-Jun-11 13:55:45

Well done Grockle - hope you have fun with them. Sad to say my last ex bat died yesterday. we estimate she was around 5 and had gone droopy recently. Still i have 5 new chicks under the lamp in the kitchen - now 2 days old, buff orpingtons - looks like 3 girls, 1 boy and 1 not sure!

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