Starting Out With Hens

Introduction to a new home

It is a good idea to keep new birds shut in for 2-3 days.

If placing new birds into an existing flock, introduce the new birds to the others in the coop when it is dark.

To minimise the spread of disease, isolating new birds for a couple of weeks can ensure you are not introducing any new infections to your flock.

Most birds will stop laying when moved to a new home. However, they will start laying again after 3 to 4 weeks.


It is ideal to have a feeder that is suspended. Being level with the chickens back is ideal. Having a system to lift it above head height at night will help reduce rodent issues.

For laying birds, layers pellets or layers mash can be given. If buying birds, ask the seller what the bird has been fed on. However, most birds will quickly adjust to new feed.

Mixed sized grit should be available to aid digestion and egg production.

In the UK it is illegal to give the birds any kitchen waste. This means you can’t give them food waste, or vegetable clippings.


Your birds will be happy in a fox and rat proof, airy coop, preferably with a window. However, the birds do like to lay in a dark nest box.

Wheat straw or wood chippings are the best substrates to use, for both the bottom of the coop, and the nest boxes.

Each time you clean the coop out, it is good maintenance to apply DE (Diatomaceous Earth) powder to help kill red mite.


Droppings – Over time you will learn what is normal from your birds. Loose droppings do happen, as part of the chickens natural cycle. Chickens should be wormed at least twice a year.

Lice and Mites – If seen, these can be treated on the birds, as well as in their housing.

Moulting occurs naturally, and makes the chickens look like skinny. The birds will stop laying, and loose feathers. These will regrow in 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, the birds should have access to quality feed.

Broody – A chicken that has stopped laying, and sits on the nest most of the time is called a ‘broody hen’. One broody hen, will encourage others to go broody. Collect eggs frequently to help prevent birds going broody. However, some birds will go broody dispite this. If you want her to hatch some eggs, you can give her some fertilised ones, and place her in a coop on her own with food and water.

By Annoy Dad

Hi, I'm the guy behind Annoy Dad and I try to raise chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.
I pass on some of my knowledge and experience in the Youtube videos and in blog posts on here.
I don't always get it right, but try my best.
Every day is a school day.

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