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    • CommentAuthorSharon
    • CommentTimeDec 26th, 2011 10:24am (Dec 26th 2011)
    Hi and Good Morning,

    I took in 2 hens on Christmas Eve, with no experience of ever keeping them before !! The rest of the farms Chickens had been killed by a fox and just these 2 survived. The farm was being sold and they were about to have their necks rung and thrown over the fence !! They are beautiful large hens and look prety healthy. They are living in teporary accomodation (a rabbit hutch and a put together wire run) I managed to get hold of some layers pellets and some wild bird seed which I have been feeding them, along with fresh water. Tomorrow I am off out to get them a run and all the things they need as they will be staying now.... as I already am attached to the lovely girls.

    They go to bed in the hutch on their own and I have been locking the door and opening it in the morning no problem. I am concerned though that they have no access to water overnight, is this OK ???

    I would like to get them to lay at some point, however I have no idea how old they are etc, but just think nature will take its course if they are happy, well fed etc.

    I have done quite a lot of research on the intranet and have a list of things to get now, but any advice would be greatly appreciated !

    I am going to worm them just in case, and they seem to be fine with me picking them up for short periods and seem quite tame too.

    Kind Regards & Best Wishes

    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeDec 26th, 2011 11:35am (Dec 26th 2011)
    Hello Sharon and welcome to Hencam, where henlovers congregate and help out with hen type problems.
    There are also others that come here just for general banter who don't have hens but have realised what fantastic folks hen keepers are.
    I don't have hens so just come for the chat, never met such a polite bunch as on here. You will enjoy being with us and I do hope you stay once your question has been answered.
    Oh yes, there will be plenty of replies to you as soon as the hen keepers are here, which is usually quite soon.
    Its wonderful that you have taken in these two lovely creatures, a great exemple of the Christmas spirit.
    Have you chosen names yet?
    • CommentAuthorSharon
    • CommentTimeDec 26th, 2011 3:07pm (Dec 26th 2011)
    Hi there, Thank you so much for the kind welcome, its much appreciated.
    Yes, I have chosen names - Bessie and Hettie !
    They are pretty large girls (not that I know much about chickens, they just seem bigger than I thought they were lol)
    They have eaten well today, drank well and enjoyed a 2 hour long dirt bath ... they even closed their eyes !!
    Christmas is a time for giving, so I think I did my bit ... tomorrow off to but everything I need including a large coop.
    Kind Regards
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeDec 27th, 2011 12:20am (Dec 27th 2011)
    :welcome:Welcome to the forum, Sharon. I think they will be fine without water at night, my chickens go to bed and go to sleep so don't touch their water anyway.
    • CommentTimeDec 27th, 2011 12:20am (Dec 27th 2011) edited
    Hi Sharon and welcome to the forum! I'm afraid I'm another non-hen-owning member so am a bit useless for your needs, but wanted to say well done for taking them in at such short notice! What I have gathered over the years is that they are fantastic pets who will reward you with love, companionship and amusement, and maybe an egg or two!

    I am guessing that a couple of the questions the hen-experts might ask you is:
    were they free-range/barn/battery hens before you got them?
    what is their current body condition? (feathers can hide a skinny frame - do they have a plump chest?!)
    Do you have any other pets that might be an issue for them, e.g. dogs?!
    Are you in England?

    If you can post a picture of them someone might be able to identify their breed for you.

    They seem pretty confident girls from what you've said, and have fell on their feet with you - sounds like they've already claimed your garden as theirs!

    Good luck with your new girls!
    • CommentAuthorSharon
    • CommentTimeDec 27th, 2011 9:17am (Dec 27th 2011)
    Thank you Lynn, that makes me feel better !

    Hi Kateb, thank you for the message.
    I really dont know much about them except they came from a farm where the owners were giving up farming and moving. The rest of the flock were killed and these 2 girls were just about to get their necks rung and thrown over the fence ! Hence Sharon now has 2 chickens lol ! They seem bright healthy and big and are eating and drinking well. I made them a dirt bath yesterday (after researching what they like) and they adored it ! It was lovely to watch them and they spent 2 hours in it and even had their eyes closed at one point.
    I am off out today to get a coop for them and other things I have read that I need. I will post a photo as would love to know what they are exactly. Although from my research I am inclined to think they are Marans ?
    I have 3 small dogs and a parrot (so I do know a little about birds) and the chickens are not bothered about the dogs at all. The dogs are older and just went over to sniff and the chickens werent keen on having their bottoms sniffed and pened their wings at them and Bessie attempted a lunge peck, so the dogs sort of shrugged and walked off lol.
    Really love this forum and welcome anymore messages and suggestions.
    Many thanks
    • CommentTimeDec 27th, 2011 1:22pm (Dec 27th 2011) edited

    Keeper of the hens

    Hey Sharon - just saw the pics of your girls in the other thread, they are lovely :)

    Sounds like you are doing a great job so far! Diet-wise, you're spot on with the Layers Pellets, and then can feed them additional things as treats (vegetable scraps are appreciated, scrambled eggs and cheese are beneficial, as is plain yoghurt).

    They don't need water overnight, and most chicken keepers choose not to give them any in the 'bedroom' as it often get knocks and just results in extra cleaning! :laugh:

    To prevent mites and other parasites (although it sounds like you already have worming covered - we have a few posts / threads on the forum about worming too) you might want to buy some DE (Diatomaceous Earth). You just dust the girls in it and scatter it in their sleeping and dust bathing areas too - you can even mix a little in with their food - and it gets rid of the majority of external and internal parasites, especially the horrible Red Mite!

    You can read and buy DE from Omlet but it's quite pricey - have a look around any local farm shops as they often sell huge sacks of it:

    For extra calcium yoghurt, cheese and eggs are good ideas. Supplrying them with oyster grit or crushed egg shells can help hens lay eggs with stronger shells, too. Grit (you might possibly have some for your parrots [I don't know much about parrots but my budgie used to have grit!] that would do for your chucks too) can also be helpful as chickens use it to grind down their food in their gizzards, but as your girls are free-range that shouldn't be a problem.

    This thread might be useful for you if any start acting odd or looking also has a few handy hints about Apple Cider Vinegar and things like that too:

    Oh, as for egg laying, depending on age and breed a lot of hens stop laying over the winter months. Most start laying again at the beginning of the year; our girls are 8 years old now and they don't start laying until around April, but we're just very proud that they lay at all :smile:
    Enjoy your girls :cheer:
    • CommentAuthorSharon
    • CommentTimeDec 27th, 2011 4:14pm (Dec 27th 2011)
    Hi Red, thank you so much for all the pointers, very much appreciated.
    Definitely getting there now I think !
    Grit purchased, apple cider vinegar purchased, wormer purchased and some mixed corn to give with the layers pellets. Cabbage leaves and broccoli hung up too which they have been pecking away at. Just need to get the proper coop now as they are in a hutch with straw at night, which is a bit of a squeeze for them. Tried to get the coop today but the place is still closed for the holidays, hopefully it will be open tomorrow.
    Its lovely to hear that your 8 year old ladies are still laying, it just goes to show what some good care and love can achieve !
    I will get some DE as they will benefit from this Im sure.
    Good to hear about the water as was perplexed at how to keep it upright in the roost lol.
    Thanks again for your kind advice.
    Kind Regards