After two weeks of getting my little ex battery hens, I am thrilled to report on their progress. I had a few weeks of worry before collecting them as apparently some do not make it due to the dramatic change of life style. Thankfully, Faith, Hope and Charity are enjoying their new life and seem to be thriving in their surroundings.
I introduced them last week to Blodwyn and Bethan and was very happy with how it went. I let them meet through some netting first then took the plunge and put them into the large run all together. Bethan puffed herself out and swamped the poor little things but it wasn't too aggressive and soon they were all free ranging together. Tiny little Charity pictured below is the smallest of the three but was happy to scoff some lunch while the old girls sussed her out. The sweet thing is, she has now latched on to them just like a little sister and follows them around. I think they are showing her the ropes as she was the first to come out and scratch around with them and is already using the proper water container to drink from. Prior to this they were actually paddling in their water container then standing on the edge to tip it over. I was replacing it constantly so this is a great result that they are all following the experts and learning how to live.
It was always my plan to introduce them as soon as possible, as Bethan and Blodwyn have a huge coop with plenty of room and it didn't seem right to keep three young hens in a little coop. The good thing is I can use that now for a nursery pen and it will be great when I get some more as I hope to in the future.
The most touching sight was to see these little hens scratching around and taking their new world in. Pictured above is Hope enjoying her new surroundings, though she is still a bit confused with it all and retreats back into the safety of the coop every so often. They seem to love just being inside the coop too as there is so much room for them and plenty of things to stimulate them. I dragged some large branches in the other day for them to perch on also some old logs that are full of interesting things for them to peck at.
I was thrilled when I finally put them all into the 'Big house' all together, they ate a light supper and took themselves to bed without any problems and next morning there were not too many ruffled feathers, which makes me hope that they are getting on.
It's great to watch their progress and see them learn how to free range, enjoying life inside and out of their new chicken coop.