The time has come and our ex-battery hens will be ready for collection in a few weeks time. We are waiting patiently and have really been looking forward to this moment. However this is a massive responsibility and one we have researched thoroughly. I still feel those nerves in the pit of my stomach, but we want to have a fox proof happy home for our hens to roam around.
Do ex-battery hens lay eggs?
Yes they do, we will be collecting them when they are already around 18 months old. This means that in the world of battery chickens they have reached their usefulness and will no longer be laying consistently. We will be taking on four girls and hope to have a few eggs a day from them. Things like giving them plenty of protein in their diets will help, so a tasty example would be
DRIED MEALWORMS which we will add in to their feed. In fun ways – obviously.
Once they are free roaming they will find their own sustenance and that is why we have been using natural pesticides only in our garden.
How long do battery hens live?
In the world of commerce they would be used for pet food or chicken paste at 18 months. In reality once they have arrived with you, they could live happily for many more years to come, laying for the majority of that time.
Where can I find ex-battery hens for rehoming?
By using a charity like British Hen Welfare Trust you can extend their lives and give them real happiness. Once you register you are put in contact with the hen rehoming team and it is all very much geared around their welfare and looking after them! Just the way we like it.
What do I need in terms of a chicken coop or run?
Think fox and think fox again. You need a coop of sturdy construction that will prevent Mr fox from wriggling under and attacking your rehomed hens.
Chicken Coop, this is the model we are going for. There is easy access to the rear to clean out and it has a bit of roaming space for the hens. Alongside this we will be allowing them to free range the rest of the garden.
How many hens should we rehome?
We have thought long and hard about this as our garden space is so big. However the hens we rehome will be our first and we want to get it right. So we have gone for four initially. Hoping that the pecking order will not push one out to be on her own. Also the above coop is big enough for up to 6 hens so it should mean plenty of space to roost and bed down each night.
What else do I need for my ex-battery hens?
I am buying these
3 Litre Economy Drinker and 3kg Economy Feeder Red and White Set as we want to go to work in the day and trust that they will be okay. They may come across as being bird brained but they are intelligent animals so I will be making lots of fun toys for them to peck their way through. Not being particularly fussy eaters will help a lot with this! I can imagine that whatever has been eating my courgette will stop once the chickens are free ranging, only for the chickens to start.
We are so excited and will be finding our way throughout this journey, please do subscribe and find out more. Small steps to our bigger dream of a smallholding. I hope that we can show you how to raise battery hens in your own back garden too.