I have my current flock of young hens (yet to lay) and I knew I could give them a lovely home so I contacted them and arranged to pick them up.
The large coop was without a door since the farmer had repurposed it as a stable but, after a little friendly persuasion…
….he cleaned it out, fixed the hatch and made me a new door.
Off it went into the field.
When we picked them up, we put food and water in the coop and put the rescue hens in it and left them over night so they would know where they lived.
Chicken maths was alive and well that day. I didn’t tell the farmer I was getting them until they were here (forgiveness is easier to seek than permission) and when I did tell him, I said I got four. Then I broke it to him that he needed to help me to carry them over to the coop and, when he saw the five boxes in my car, he started to doubt my original number.
I actually rescued ten and, I am not going to lie, they were in such a bad state that had I got a bigger car, less children or a trailer, I would have taken them all.
I knew I would have to collect the young hens that night and put them in the big coop because they were so used to their smaller coops.
Unfortunately, the day before the goats had been in the field and I think one of them must have jumped on one of the coops which had a dodgy roof anyway and the roof to the run bit had caved in.
Thankfully the farmer took pity on me so the Friday night, we caught the chickens together. Then Saturday night. Then Sunday night. It seems then hens were not too happy about going in the coop with their new friends.
By Monday, the novelty had worn off for the farmer and he took the quad bike and trailer into the field and removed the small coops. Surely they would go in the big one now?
The short answer is no.
I think the ex-commercial hens are (quite rightly so) top of the pecking order. They have been throwing their weight about and hogging the food.
I went out to retrieve the hens myself and there were two groups of hens in the field. The first group of five, I caught two and the remaining three went in the coop themselves and I was fist pumping the air at that result.
The other four were not so easy. They were perching on a fence that had barbed wire and then wire in front of it. I managed to grab one, then another two but the last one was a pain to catch and I ended up chasing it around the field like a fool.
The only way I could catch it was to take the top off a water drinker and put it on top. Don’t worry it was a big drinker and a small hen.
They are certainly keeping me on my toes. I just hope they will eventually go in on their own.