Ex Battery Hens by Elvie

Welcome to Elvie’s Advice Page on Ex Battery Hens!!!

“Hello there!
It’s nice to meet you again!”

 

“Welcome to my advice page! As I am an ex battery hen myself, I would like to offer you some helpful advice on what makes Ex Battery Hens happy healthy, goofy chickens!  I hope you find the information helpful but should you  require any more advice or have any worries, you can contact us .

Myself and my goofy friends will be only too happy to help! “

By Elvie 21st November 2012

 

1)  A New World

When my friends and I were re-homed, we were very scared and unsure of what to do, where to go and how to behave. Our lives had been confined to a very small space so being in a house with an outdoor living area to run around in was really different for us. Everywhere, at first, looked so bright and there was such a big world waiting for us just beyond our little beaks! I can remember, when we arrived at our new home, we all huddled together, not daring to move for ages. It took a good couple of days before I dared to go outside! This is  a very stressful time for ex battery hens and it can make us actually stop laying eggs for a while but with some patience and tender loving care, we soon settled into our new world.

Elvie’s Tip…

  • Expect Ex Battery hens to be a little scared and unsure of their new surroundings in the early days so don’t force them out of their house too early. Provide food and water nearby so they don’t have to move far. After a day or so, gently coax them outside. Once they do venture into their new world, there will be no stopping the scratching and foraging!!

2)  Weak Legs

When I arrived at my new home, I was shattered. My legs were weak and I had a limp. So be aware, ex battery hens can have very weak legs and may even struggle to walk. Sometimes, you may even have to help ex battery hens up the ladder to bed at night until their legs become tough and strong, just like mine are now!

Elvie’s Tip…

  • Remove any perches until our legs are stronger to jump and roost! This is so we don’t stumble over the perches and so we don’t attempt to jump and miss, hurting ourselves which could result in a broken leg.

3)  Feeding Ex Battery Hens

In the Battery Farm, all I ever ate for my dinner was crumb. We did not know any other kind of food such as treats like corn and mealworms and lettuce (yummy!!) It was a pretty boring diet really.  Feeding Ex battery hens a good quality layers crumb is most important to us. If you want to change to layers pellets or mash, then do this gradually about 3 or 4 weeks after re-homing us or until we have settled nicely into our new surroundings.  Change the food by slowly introducing a few pellets to our usual crumb each day and gradually add a little more until the pellets replace the crumb doing so over a period of 3 weeks. Introducing the new food this way, will be kinder to our tummies and not stress us out and make us poorly.  Of cause, variety is the spice of life, so you can add a few treats to our diet but only feed these later in the day to make sure we have eaten our daily ration of the good stuff ! This is important to keep us healthy and to help make tasty eggs. Sometimes too many treats in our diet can upset our tummies and can cause us to to lay soft shelled eggs as we fill up on treats instead of our proper food, Hmmmmm! A very good layers feed that we enjoy is from the Small Holder Ex battery range. They also do a layers crumb to so you can be sure you are giving us the best to make us happy goofy chickens! Ensure you allow us access to mixed poultry grit for grinding our food as we have no teeth and oyster shell to help make strong shells!

Elvie’s Tip…

  • Provide Ex Battery hens with a good quality layers crumb to start with for the first 3 to 4 weeks as this is all we have ever known. We started on Small Holder Ex Battery Layers Crumb. It is delicious and specially formulated for rescued hens. It helped to boost our health and regrow  our feathers because it is particularly high in protein and calcium as well as many other goodies!

4)  Torrential downpours, howling gails and blazing sunshine… 

When I lived my first 18 months in the Battery Farm, I was kept indoors and was unaware of what it felt like to live outside. I remember the first time it poured with rain…Thankfully, we had a cover over part of our run and we soon figured out that we needed to go there to stay dry from this nasty cold wet thing which fell down on us! We would have been saturated if we had no shelter and would most certainly have caught a chill, especially Britney who was quite featherless at the time. Also our run was put in quite a sheltered spot against a wall which helped to protect us from the howling gails.

Elvie’s Tip…

  • Try and site the hen house and run in a sheltered position. Also, having a run which is covered or partially covered will offer shelter for us from bad weather in winter and blazing sunshine in summer. Placing large filled plant pots around the run can give some protection from the unpredictable weather too. Some plants and herbs are actually quite beneficial like mint, with its powerful smell, can help deter the nasty Mr Fox…We ex battery hens are a little slow at realizing that we need to find shelter in such conditions and if there is not a good sized area to keep us dry, we may just stand out in the rain and get wet which is not very nice! Also a drier run is much more chicken friendly than a wet, muddy run which can make us very sick. And one last cluck, please don’t think you are helping us by dressing us in those woolly jumpers too! They can damage our growing feathers!!

“Say NO to woolly jumpers!”

 5)  Meeting New Friends

When I was rescued on July 18th 2010, I was lucky enough to have 4 other ex battery hens with me, named Britney, Ruby, Esmeralda and Peaches and we all lived together very happily in the same run . A year later, in July 2011, we had some new rescued hens come to join us. Although we could see them, we couldn’t actually get to introduce ourselves properly as they had to be treated for lice. Also, if we were all put together straight away, we would have got into a chuck fight and may even cause  serious injury and stress to ourselves and the new arrivals. It took about 6 weeks for us before we started to like our new friends, Phineas, Ferb and Pikachou.  We soon realized that they were just like us and were actually very nice indeed! Now I don’t know what all the fuss was about!

Elvie’s Tip…

  • Keep Ex Battery hens separate from any existing chucks for the first 3 to 4 weeks or so. Check for poultry lice and give a good dusting of lice powder as instructed to stop any crawlies in their tracks. A good idea is to partition off an area of the existing run so the hens can see each other but not cause any harm. Watch the new arrivals closely. You will see how they are learning to live like happy goofy chickens and keeping a watchful eye will also mean you can help any chucks which need extra TLC.

 Elvie’s Tip…

  • We Ex Battery hens are all fully vaccinated when we are a day old. Sometimes though, we can be carriers of a disease but not get it ourselves.  If you have other breeds of chucks that have not been vaccinated, it is better if you keep us ex battery hens in separate living areas particularly so from any young chicks or young hens just in case we do pass on any disease. If however, you have vaccinated chucks then there is no problem to let us live together but introduce us to your existing chucks as advised above so we don’t get fighting!

6)  Bed time troubles

Being in a Battery Farm for so long meant that we did not know the difference between day and night and what to do when it got dark as we were in one place all the time! Once we were rescued, as it began to get dark , we knew we had to go somewhere but just did not know where!! We stood in the run as the sun went down and the moon came out and it was very strange. We felt very uneasy. All turned out well though because our new owner came to show us what to do…One by one, we were guided up the ladder into our new house. Britney, however, was being as stubborn as ever and kept running away from the strange lady. Eventually Britney did come to bed after about half an hour of trying to guide her up the ladder! It took us about 3 nights to get used to what to do at night but once one of us knew, we all followed!

Elvie’s Tip…

  • You may have to show us where to go at night time! Patience is important here! Guide us into the house and we will soon get the hang of it!!! Remember, we may not roost at first so please leave us a nice comfy bed low down just in case!!

7)  Elvie’s Medicine Cabinet…

Alongside our Small Holders Ex Battery layers crumb, we were given some vitamins which really boosted our health. There are many different supplements available but ones which we have tried and found helpful are:

  1. Life Guard Tonic which really does boost our health and helps with growing our feathers back
  2. Net tex Poultry Drops which gives a fast pick me up for when feeling poorly
  3. Herban Liquid Tonic which is a natural antibiotic and can help increase appetite and runny poops. Great in times of stress
  4. Omega oil helps to make strong bones and glossy feathers, which in turn results in eggs high in omega oil too!
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar to help prevent intestinal worms, antibacterial, helpful during the moult and at times of stress
  6. Smite Powder to combat creepy crawlies. Dust well into base of feathers and add to our dust bath
  7. Net tex Anti Pecking Spray which tastes awful! It helps to deter hens from pecking at each other and is also antibacterial
  8. Flubenvet for treating and curing intestinal parasites including gape worm, used twice a year
  9. Net tex Septi Cleanse should any of your goofy chickens start falling out and cause an external wound
  10. Vasaline for when it is bitter cold and frosty nights. Rub this onto our comb and wattles to protect against frost bite

 

“Lots of vitamins to choose from there!”

 

There is a very helpful site called Little Hen Rescue which gives medical advice on ex battery hens in case you need it.
“We hens have been very lucky. We love our new home and you will have loads of fun watching the tricks we get up to. You will get great joy and happiness at seeing us blossom into healthy and happy goofy chickens. We are always friendly and will greet you with loud clucks every-time! We make great pets and great companions when you are out in the garden! We will clear up your bugs and pests from your vegetable patch, supply you with the greatest poops to make the best compost for your garden  and although our egg laying has slowed down,  with some TLC, you will enjoy some fantastic eggs too!”
 

“CLUCK CLUCK – See you soon!”

 By Elvie,  Ex Battery Hen, rescued in July 2010, aged 4 years.