Quality chickens in rural Nottinghamshire
This information has been compiled using the questions that customers frequently ask us when purchasing their chickens. If you are new to keeping poultry, please read all the information to ensure your hens remain happy and healthy.
Bringing your chickens home:
For your journey home please make sure the interior of your car in cool, especially on hot days. When you get home with your chickens, we suggest that you shut them in their coop for the rest of the day, making sure they have access to food and water and the coop is well ventilated. Let them out into their run the next morning. This ensures that they know where their new home is and know where they need to go to be safe at night. It is important that their introduction to your home should not be stressful so allow them to settle in quietly, check on them occasionally to make sure they are ok.
If you wish to free range your chickens in your garden you should make sure your garden is secure, to prevent them from escaping and to prevent dogs or predators entering your garden. We suggest you confine them to then run and coop for the first week to ensure they know where their home is. It is advisable to only let them free range when you are home and confine them to their coop and run when you are out. You should be aware that chickens love to scratch around in garden borders so if you take pride in your garden it may be best to confine them to a good size run.
Introducing new chickens:
If you already have some chickens at home or want to introduce new
chickens to your flock in the future, if possible house them in different runs
close by for a few days so that they can see each other and sort any
conflicts through the fence before letting them in together. If this isn’t
possible, it is best to introduce newcomers by shutting them in the coop,
with access to food and water. Leave your existing chickens in the run with
access to food and water. At dusk open the coop and allow your existing
chickens to join the new arrivals in the coop. There is unlikely be conflicts
at night as their instinct is to roost to avoid predators. When they wake in
the morning, they have already spent the night together, although they will
need to sort their pecking order. Keep an eye on them during this time to make sure any confrontations don’t get out of hand. Some distractions such as some green leafed vegetables, hung up in their run can help this process.
Our chickens have been fed layers pellets. If you would like to change their feed to mash or another type, you should do this gradually by mixing the feed together. Feed should be available to them at all times, they will take what they need. You can also feed them some treats such as mixed corn. Feed treats sparingly as it is important that they eat their pellets or mash, which contain a balanced diet. They will also love any vegetable leaves and peelings, although do not feed them raw potato peelings.
As with food, clean water should be available to your chickens at all times.
Grit is small pieces of rock and shell that birds swallow to help break up food in their crop as the first stage of digestion. Without this, they will not be able to digest food so it is needed to be available at all times as with food and water. It should be provided in a shallow bowl or hopper separate to their food. They will take as and when they need it so don’t be surprised if they take very little at times.
Mixing different breeds:
All our breeds are raised together and are happy living together.
When you collect your chickens, they will have been wormed. They will need worming regularly, about every 3-4 months. You can purchase working products from pet and chicken feed suppliers. These can be mixed into their feed. Alternatively, you can purchase premedicated feed, available from online outlets.
All our chickens are fully vaccinated; see the vaccination program tab on
our website for more information.
Red mites are a tiny parasitic insect, which feed on chickens’ blood and
can be detrimental to their health. They live in cracks and crevasses
within the coop and emerge at night to feed. They are most active during
warmer months. There are many products available to control red mite,
we recommend spaying the coop regularly (every month) with Poultry
Shield red mite spray and rubbing diatomaceous earth (a natural pest control product) into the ends of the perches.
To protect your chickens form from foxes, shut them securely in their coop at night (dusk) and let them out again in the morning. The chickens should go in the hut to roost by themselves when it starts to get dark, so you won’t need to catch them.
Too much stress can kill chickens. We understand that getting new pets can be exciting for children but please shut the chickens in their coop when you get them home and prevent unnecessary contact for the first day as the journey will be stressful for them. Please don’t let your children or other pets chase the chickens as this will cause unnecessary stress and may cause them to stop laying eggs or, in some cases, death.
When will my chickens start to lay?:
At collection from us your chickens will be 17 -20 weeks old; they will start to lay eggs when they are between 20- 24 weeks old. The eggs will be very small at first but will get bigger as they get older.
Chickens may lay fewer eggs in the winter; this is normal and they will increase production in the spring.