Collecting your new chickens is very exciting but, for your feathery friends, moving to a new home can be very stressful. This guide contains a few important tips to help you make this transition a little easier for you both.
Transporting your Chickens
When you come to collect your chickens, you will need to bring a large cardboard box or suitable pet carrier with a suitable bedding for transport: shavings or straw. Remember to poke some air holes into the top of the box prior to putting the chicken in it!
Before you set off in the car, make sure that the box is safely secured and keep the temperature neutral and drafts to a minimum: Chickens do not like to be too hot or too cold.
Moving into Their New Coop
It may be tempting to release your new chickens into the garden straight away but the best thing you can do for your hens is to shut them into their enclosure and leave them to settle in for a few weeks. By allowing your hens to become familiar with the coop they will begin to recognise it as their home and should, hopefully, want to return to it each evening, at dusk, to roost.
Gently open the lid of the cardboard box and place it into the enclosure. Your chickens should hop out of the carrier and into the coop when they are ready.
Check on your hens a few hours later and you will likely find that they have left the box and are happily sat next to each other on the roosting bars. If they haven’t left their carrier take them out, one at a time, and place them on the roosting bars. Then leave them in peace for the night.
Exploring their New Run
After the initial 24 hours, quietly open the coop door to the run and allow your hens to wander outside in their own time. The more confident and more curious hens may pop outside in a matter of minutes and other hens may take a few hours. If not all of your chickens have left the coop after a few hours gently nudge the remaining hens outside to explore.
Establishing the New Pecking Order
Every time a bird is added or removed from a flock the pecking order changes. Within the first few days of owning your new chickens you can expect some fighting: as they sort out the new pecking order. Do not interfere with this unless a bird is bleeding or injured. Once all of your chickens have found their new place, within the pecking order, this squabbling will cease. Sometimes this can take longer and you should seek help if one hen begins to bully the others.