New Harmony – Part 4 – Rehabilitating Battery Chickens

Scratching for Mielies..

Scratching for Mielies..

White hen saga.
The hens egg numbers are climbing daily, collected 212 eggs  yesterday. Am really not enjoying feed time at the moment. The minute I step into the yard the hens swamp me and I have to shuffle forward to the feeders or I will stand on a hen, or even worse trip and fall, will definetely land on hens. Have to figure out a way to solve this.
Well the ladies are all very keen to have some males around, so we brought in two of the big white roosters which we had bought ages ago for these hens. We knew there would be a fight or two, the hens are very independent and don’t like strangers.  Checked on the two roosters two hours after putting them in with the hens, and they seemed to be holding their own, minor squirmishes with the hens. Checked on them another two hours later, different story. One of the roosters had no skin left on his legs and feet, just a bloodbath. The second rooster was just slightly better off. So – the ladies lost their men. Have taken the roosters out, and when they are fully recovered will let them in for only 2 hours a day, until the hens get used to them being around.
The hens really are enjoying the outdoors. They are moving around the entire enclosure now, so it looks like we will be extending their open space area substantially in the next two weeks. Really pleased to be doing this. I thought that they would be scared of birds flying over and it seems to be just the opposite. They do not even seem to notice them, which is also not a good thing. We have large birds of prey around and need them to be wary. How does one teach them this very natural instict – maybe the roosters will teach them in time, lets hope so.
Have included perches into the chicken shed. these were completely ignored for the first week. I place 10 chickens onto the perches every night, they are still there when I leave but I don’t know how long they stay. I have the patience, they just need natural instinct to kick in.
That it for now.

 

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