Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hens cautiously apporove their new home

Our new brood is settling in safely ... but slowly.

To start with they were understandably nervous in their new environment and stood in a corner in a tight huddle.

They gradually started to inch around their pen. They looked small and lost in it. They aren't yet fully grown but still were surprisingy tentative. In the first day of their arrival they only managed to explore perhaps half the pen which is 30 feet by 30 feet.

And they didn't take to their food either. I'd started them on a mixture of Layers Pellets and Chick Pellets, with the idea of gradually easing them on to just the Layers Pellets. But they didn't seem to fancy either. And didn't even get as far as finding the food trough on that first day. They did however, do a little scratching in the soil and leaf litter and found plenty to eat there.

I had to lift them up and put them into the hen house that firs night and they didn't really want to go. The next morning I took a peep before letting them out and they hadn't used either the roosting bars or the nesting boxes but just huddled together in a corner. It took them around 10 minutes to come out that morning.

But later that day I saw some of the food in the trough had been eaten and they'd managed to get to the other side of the pen. Again, I had to lift them into their henhouse that evening.

The next day, however, they went straight to the food trough and an hour or so later I saw them on the branches my daughter had turned into an obstacle course for the previous brood to play on.

They seem to stay out later than their predecessors, waiting until it is dark to go into the hen house. And I had a shock last night when I went to shut them up at half-time in the France-Wales match  - about 5.45pm when it was just dark.

Three were huddled in a nesting box but one of the Marans was roosting on top of the door frame to the hen pen. I'll have to look into clipping their wings or put some loose wire across the top to stop them sitting there.

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