If you’re considering getting chickens in the future you’re going to be thinking about how they’re going to settle in. Luckily chickens are pretty hardy creatures and it won’t take long for them to feel at home.
However, that doesn’t stop you worrying that they won’t like their new living situation.
The “eggcitement” of a new flock can almost be overwhelming if you’re a first time chicken keeper, but your feathered friends will be just fine.
To help you feel at ease, here are our top tips for helping your new chickens feel right at home:
Preparation is everything
The first thing to do before you set off to pick up your chickens is to make sure everything is ready to go at home. Get their chicken house, predator proof run, and all their accessories in the right place so you can make sure everything is working properly.
You don’t want to be running around filling feeders when you get back or worse, find out your automatic drinker doesn’t work!
Is it bedtime yet?
The best time to collect chickens is in the late afternoon/early evening so they can go straight to bed when you get home. If they’ve had a long journey, or it’s a warm evening, you can put a drinker in their house.
If you’ll be collecting them during the day then it’s best not to let them free range so make sure their run is ready for them. You might need to catch them in the evening to put them to bed until they learn where home is.
Keeping them in their run for the first few days or a week is also a good idea as you might find it hard to put them to bed if you let them free range straight away!
Keep calm and love chickens
The early days of chicken keeping can be tough. You’ll see squabbles, nervousness, and unruly behaviour. Don’t worry about this, they’re just trying to establish a pecking order and this should stop within a few weeks.
Now is a great time to really make friends with your flock and food is definitely the way to a hen’s heart! Start by putting food near your feet to get them used to you being close to them. Before long, you’ll have them eating out of your hand!
That’s the last egg joke, we promise!
Moving to a new home can upset your hens enough to make them stop laying for a while, but this shouldn’t last long. Once they’ve adjusted to you and their new home you’ll have plenty of eggs.
Soft shelled eggs are also quite common when you’re settling a new flock in. Making sure they have a healthy, balanced diet should combat this. You can also mix grit or ground up egg shells in with their feed to keep their calcium levels up.