The day when you collect and bring your new rescue hens home is a crucial day. You may be new to keeping hens, but for sure the environment your new hens are going to enter is very different from where they have been. Rescue hens have come from a hen house, with thousands of other birds to a strange outdoor world with just a few others. They are bound to be nervous and stressed.
Your job on day one should all be about minimising stress and giving the rescue hens room to adjust at their own pace. Calmness and an unfussed approach will pay dividends in time to come, there will be lots of time for fussing and attention in days and weeks to come.
- Prepare the Hen House, feeders and drinkers before going to collect the hen
- Transport the hens in a cardboard box (with ventilation holes) or a cat carrier. They travel well in the cabin of cars but make a direct journey home avoiding unnecessary stops. Be careful of putting them in the boot as they can overheat or suffocate. It might be a good idea to allow the hen to drink before you set off.
- Upon arrival home, gently check the hen over. If there are any visible signs of issues they should be dealt with now, but I would recommend to at least apply mite powder liberally, even if not mites are spotted.
- Put the rescue hens into their coop, with some food and bedding and allow them to rest. Normally the food would not need to be inside, but for now it is best.
- Leave them be. I know it’s very exciting, but letting them adjust at their own pace is the best thing you can do for them now. Make sure that they know how to go to bed and do check on them every so often.
Over the coming days, your new hens will settle in and get to know their new home and family and before you know it, it will be like they have always been part of your home!