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    • CommentAuthormum2many
    • CommentTimeMar 19th, 2008 2:52pm (Mar 19th 2008)
     
    HIYA
    I'm Em and my family has just become the proud owners of 4 ex battery hens
    (Rocky, Adrienne, Bob, and Licken)
    Anyway got some questions,
    #1 the hens layed 3 eggs on the day after they came home, and 2 the following day since then we have had nothing. Is this OK?
    #2 the hens keep pecking at each other, are they just sorting out the pecking order? (they do seem to be quite nasty to each other, apart from Adrienne who is the quiet one)
    #3 will their wings have been clipped to stop them flying away, and how can i check

    em x
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeMar 19th, 2008 4:15pm (Mar 19th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey Em!

    Welcome to the forum... great to hear you've given some battery hens a wonderful new life!

    To answer you questions,

    1) hens don't lay every day, there are loads of things that can prevent them laying (even hearing a loud noise or the stress of moving to a new home can put them off for a day or two) - but also things like the molt in summer, they'll stop laying for a few weeks whilst they put their energy into growing new feathers, or if they go broody (trying to hatch chicks), or if there aren't enough hours of daylight in the day (about 16) that they need to produce an egg, or illness... etc etc. I wouldn't worry though, they'll soon settle down.

    2) They are probably sorting out the pecking order. It can look quite vicious, but as long as nobody's bleeding or obviously injured then they'll be ok. It's probably the disruption in the 'flock' - moving to a new home etc that's kicked it all off, but it'll settle down quickly.

    3) depending on your hens, they won't need their wings clipped (actually only 1 wing is clipped, otherwise they learn to compensate ;)) when ours were in the garden all day they never went too far (apart from Milly who risked life and limb across next doors garden - including dog - to get to the next house where the owners fed her treats of grapes and muesli - I'll post pics of that soon!) You will be able to tell if their wings are clipped if one wing has shorter feathers (or cut - I dunno I've never seen it myself) than the other wing. Some heavier breeds don't even bother trying to fly, although they do a hilarious jumping/flapping run when they need to get somewhere fast!

    As long as your new hens have been kept in their new home for a couple of days to acclimatise, they'll learn that this is where they live, so they'll take themselves to bed on a night.

    Hope this helps, enjoy your new feathered friends!

    Neil
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMar 19th, 2008 4:57pm (Mar 19th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey emma!

    1) The main reason for your girls not laying is probably due to their sudden change in surroundings. Eva, our ex-bat, laid an egg the first day we had her home, but then she didn't lay again for weeks. Plus, as they're over a year old now, your hens probably won't lay an egg a day. Egg production drops after the first year, and it gradually falls every year after that - you'll probably still get a few eggs a week from one hen though!

    2) Yeah i would say they are sorting out the pecking order. As long as there is plenty of room for the girl at the bottom of the pecking order to escape they should be okay. Make sure there are enough food & water bowls around, as sometimes the hens at the top of the pecking order will try and "starve-out" the one at the bottom...as long as they have plenty of food & water this shouldn't happen. They should be fine, but if one of them is injured badly enough to bleed it's probably a good idea to remove them - chickens go crazy for red things, particularly blood.

    3) Many chicken keepers don't bother with wing clipping anymore. Most chickens aren't very good fliers but they can use their wings to escape from dangerous predators on the ground, so wings can be pretty useful! If you do decide to clip their wings be sure to cut feathers at an angle so the sharp points don't irritate your girls, and leave them enough flight feathers so they can glide safely to the ground if they're jumping from a step, ledge etc. Also, be careful not to cut a blood feather as this can be nasty and painful for your chuck! One last thing: Remember that flight feathers need clipping after every time the chickens moult!!

    Welcome again, hope this helps!
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeMar 19th, 2008 5:02pm (Mar 19th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Here, this is quite a useful website...it's mostly talking about pet parrots and the effect wing clipping has on them, but some of it can be applied to chickens. It has a diagram so might be worth checking out...?

    wing clipping info!