Settling in your Chickens at Home in the Garden
The Hens have arrived, the nervous first few days
Darkness falls and you're up there again, torch in hand listening closely at the door. There's a bit of clucking, the occasional flapping of a wing, all is well - or is it !!
The next morning you're up at some ridiculous hour and without even touching a cup of Coffee will be up there checking to see if they haven't escaped during the night and to see if there's an egg there (not gift wrapped of course!).
The same applies at night. There are countless stories on the Forum about new Chicken owners going up the garden in the middle of the night with a torch 'just to make sure', even the OH's who said they didn't want Chickens in the first place! I have to admit that in my early days of Chicken Keeping, I had the window wide open and became quite paranoid about every rustle and squeak I heard!
I'll tell you now, this is quite normal. Mad maybe, but normal !
Things to remember are that there's a strong possibility your Chickens haven't met before, especially from a Battery Farm.
This means there may be some squabbles and a period of time where they're sorting out the pecking order. This normally takes a few days before settling down. See 'Introducing New Chickens to the Flock
New Chickens - Egg Laying
You will find they may lay eggs for a couple of days, then stop. This is due mainly to the change of scenery and diet. Don't worry.
Even when the eggs arrive, some may have soft shells. Every Chicken lays the occasional one. If it persists, try giving them some Grit.
Some newbies may not sleep on the Perches. Some may not lay in the Nest Box (mine haven't ever!!).
Let them do their thing and they'll be OK. The more natural they can be the better.
Overall, the first few days and weeks are a learning process - for us, not for them!
Just one thing to watch, Chickens are naturally inquisitive and if you don't watch them, they'll be off searching fo 'that better blade of grass'. This is usually the neighbours! Also, never leave them alone, it is not true that foxes only hunt at night - beware !
The Down the Lane Forum is full of Members who have recently got Chickens as Pets and most of your worries or concerns will be in there somewhere.
Keeping chickens is surprisingly a lot simpler than it sounds. The worst part is the cleaning chores and on a cold January day, that isn't good news. But rest assured, the chickens won't mind!
If ever in doubt about your Chicken's health, seek medical opinion. But before you take one to the Vet, phone them first. Not all Vets are, what we seasoned ones say "Hen Friendly". Not they don;t like them, it's they're not trained specifically in the Avian field.