Settling The Birds In
Chickens are highly sensitive to new smells, sounds, and they have a strong homing instinct. When taken from their familiar surroundings to a new home, they become disorientated and stressed. At this stage, if not properly handled, the immune system can be overwhelmed by a disease challenge and the birds become ill, or they may not eat and drink the correct amount, which can affect the development of bone and muscle, which in turn can produce problems in adult life.
On arrival home the pullets should be moved from their carrying boxes into the hen house. It is important at this stage, not to lose the hens, so if possible, place the carrying boxes inside the house before opening them. If you have a hen house with an attached or integral run, and there is no escape route, the pop hole can be opened after about an hour, allowing the new hens out into the run if they so wish, but do not force them out. Place food and water in the run, close to the pop hole and leave them to become accustomed to the new surroundings. In the evening, for the first three days, they may need to be ushered back into the house to roost, but they are quick to learn, and from then on they will know the routine.