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One of my chooks was pts today and we are thinking of taking on some ex bats - advice please
9

Tidybush · 22/04/2011 21:40

We've had our 3 pure breed girls for 2 1/2 yrs and sadly today our beautiful gold laced wyandotte Lacy had to be put to sleep.

She had a growth betwen her legs which we found because over the last week she'd be walking with increasing difficulty. The vet advised that an operation wouldn't be much use due to size of the growth (and it was thought that it might be Lymphoid Leukosis) and that it would be kinder to let Lacy go.

We agreed for the vet to do a post mortum because if it was LL there would be a good chance that our other chooks would have it too. Thankfully when the vet called us this evening she was able to confirm that the growth was in fact a solid absess that had filled Lacy's ovary and would have been too big to remove. So sad for Lacy but good news that the others haven't been exposed to something nasty.

So, to the point then, DH and I have been talking this evening about what we'd do if/when one of the others dies and we both agree that the most sensible thing is to introduce another two chooks sooner rather than later.

We've always talked about taking on some ex bats and now seems the time to persue this option.

So the question is where do we get two ex bats from and how do we go about introducing them to our two existing girls?

Any advice greatfully recieved.

TIA

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Tidybush · 23/04/2011 11:19

bump for the weekend crew

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LoopyLoopsNincompoop · 23/04/2011 23:03

I don't think they will rehome less than three, which must be kept together. That's the case with the BHWT anyway.

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Tidybush · 24/04/2011 00:03

I'd heard that about the BHWT but I wondered if that was on the basis that if those chooks were the only ones you had and one died there would still be two left IYSWIM?

There is plenty of room in the coop for loads of hens and our girls do free range whenever we are at home but during the day when we are at work they are kept in a 9ft x 9ft run which is ideal for 3 and would be OK for 4 but would be a bit of a squish for 5 or more.

I suppose the most sensible thing to do is give the BHWT a call after the bank holiday.

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chickchickchicken · 24/04/2011 16:33

i posted this a few days ago on another thread about ex batts -

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

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

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chickchickchicken · 24/04/2011 16:40

afaik bhwt only say to rehome 3 in case of one dying. as you already have some hens i dont think that would apply.

i know little hens rescue rehome 2 at a time as our last lot was only 2

re introducing new hens - we have introduced various hens over the years and find a combination of letting existing girls out into the garden and putting new girls in the run/house on their own for a few hours to get used to it and then putting existing girls back in the run and letting knew girls roam the garden for a few hours. then we usually get the top hen out to mix with new girls in the garden (this means there is lots of room to move around and top hen is usually busy eating grass etc so doesnt bully new girls). then we let the next one in the existing pecking order out as well and so on until all the girls are used to each other. may have to do similar for a few days. especially if the new girls are fragile. at night time they all go in the same house to sleep from day 1. make sure you are up early the next morning to let them out asap so no fighting in the coop

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Tidybush · 24/04/2011 22:54

Thanks for that ccc.

It's interesting to read about your experience as I'd read that we would need to keep the new girls separate for a week or more, but from what you say it's OK to start introducing them to each other straight away, which will be far more straightforward.

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Tidybush · 24/04/2011 22:58

Oh, I've just remembered one other thing - do you feed them on anything special? We give our Heygates layers pellets but I've noticed on the BHWT they advise feeding Ex Bats crumbs.

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chickchickchicken · 24/04/2011 23:07

they advise to feed layers mash (just pellets mashed up, same price and available from countrywide etc) to start with. then you can mix with layers pellets. all the girls love layers mash so it doesnt go to waste. i occasionally get some for mine to mix in with their pellets as they love it so much, though most of the time they eat pellets only

i think if they are just confined to a small run they could be bullied by existing hens but that could apply to any hens i suppose. we have even rehomed hens off freecycle when people have said their existing hens have refused to accept the new ones and the above system has always worked for us.

we do have a smaller run and house and would separate if we had to but find letting them get used to each other in a step by step way is better

bhwt collection days are usually sat and sun. if you get a choice would go for sat if it means you will be around all weekend to help them intergrate.

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Tidybush · 24/04/2011 23:19

That's really helpful, thanks.

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