If you enjoy nurturing and take satisfaction in watching a creature slowly recover, blossom and enjoy life then the ex-batts are for you! Nothing beats the first time you watch them soak up the sunshine and scratch around outside.
I have been an ex-batt devotee for 4yrs now and can`t imagine being without these friendly, characterful little hens.
Our first 4 ex batts arrived terrified and floppy combed on a windy day. Although Pippa,Willow and Arwen Evenstar looked ok, Kate was bald and flighty. But slowly they became healthy chickens.
One day, Kate came out with blood on her back, and Willow had a beak covered in blood. So we isolated Kate from the others, keeping her in separate sleeping quarters.
Soon she became more feathered, but lonely. So we went back to get two more baldies. We came home with three. Emily (anemic and had downy 'pantaloon' feathering), Abby (massive long neck and patchy dark feathers) and Helen Cutter (named for her evil stare and being the size of a small cockerel, but fully featherd except her head and neck).
Helen Cutter moved in with the feathered chooks, and Abby and Emily lived with Kate.
Now living in the orchard, and fully feathered, they are a joy to own. And Kate has turned out to be the prettiest chicken there!
lovely birds considering their earlier lifestyle
Our first hens were a pair of Ex batts, both arrived looking rather a sad sight on a very snowy day wrapped up in jumpers but quickly adapted to there new life as free range hens (or wild if you asked them) fully feathered up and looking beautiful, they became incredibly friendly (converting even the most suspicious person to chicken fan) with very styrong indicuidual characters, there very much there own hens, but were always following me (and the horses) around the fields and yard and investigating everything. There very fiesty hens who will happily see off crows, phesants and any other species they can who might eat there corn. Also prooved themselves to be fantastic layers producing huge eggs daily that tasted delicious . They are very curious and do seem to be able to get everywhere. The only thing we found is once allowed to be free one could not cope being shut in the run but this wasnt a problem for us. Sadly we lost these two after several years of being happy hens but I am off very shortly to collect two new batty old ex batts
We've had 3 "batches" of ex-batts as they were a great way to learn about chicken keeping. Sadly, there is a high mortality rate, but those who survive do so with gusto. The pedigrees stay indoors in the snow and the batts (inc. Duracell - from 2007) go out and enjoy their freedom every single day, pecking at the snow for their water. What wonderful friendly birds, though the first batch put our ratter terriers in their place! They also love scrumping our low fruit tree branches, and can get out of their run despite wing clipping. Still a bit flighty, but that's because we don't make an effort, though my daughter can pick them up after a little chase around the garden. They love tuna, weetabix and pasta as well as "helping" with the gardening at the risk of chopping their heads off. You've gotta love 'em and will convert all your friends to buy free range when they've run out of your free range eggs.
We've had 3 "batches" of ex-batts as they were a great way to learn about chicken keeping. Sadly, there is a high mortality rate, but those who survive do so with gusto. The pedigrees stay indoors in the snow and the batts (inc. Duracell - from 2007) go out and enjoy their freedom every single day, pecking at the snow for their water. What wonderful friendly birds, though the first batch put our ratter terriers in their place! Still a bit flighty, but that's because we don't make an effort, though my daughter can pick them up after a little chase around the garden. They love tuna, weetabix and pasta as well as "helping" with the gardening at the risk of chopping their heads off. You've gotta love 'em and will convert all your friends to buy free range when they've run out of your free range eggs.
Had 4 in Feb 2010 from Hen Rehomers and although' 2 looked very 'oven ready' initially and the other 2 looked somewhat moth eaten, all recovered their plumage and looked beautiful, within approx 3 months. We named them Gloria, Elsie, Rita and Vera because they reminded us of 4 blowsy barmaids!! Had 2 more in Spring Katrina and Sharon and although several of them have succumbed to 'reproductive disorders' (which we've been informed is not uncommon in ex-bat hybrids) all are/were great characters and appeared to love life in our garden, rewarding us with a regular supply of delicious eggs. We've just had 3 more from BHWT, so currently have a total of 5. They are all great girls and we feel very fortunate to have them as pets.
Just had our ex-batts (3) from the BHWT - what an excellent job they do! We have had them for almost 2 weeks now - and had 1 or 2 eggs per day. They have tremendous character, and although they have a large pen, they line up by the gate to come out and forage in the garden when they see me! They also love to peck my jeans, my necklaces, when I bend down, and anything else that catches their eye!
One is 'over-beaked' but she has found a couple of stones to file it down herself! Each of them is different, and follow us around clucking and keeping close by. On day 3, they put themselves to bed! Just find it difficult going to work now as I'd would rather spend time watching them!
This is my second lot and although they arrive looking very sorry for themselves, feed them up on ex-batt crumb/pellets for a couple of months and they soon look wonderful and lay great eggs, although they can suffer from egg laying problems! great personalities, I think they are so responsive and bright compared to my pure breeds. Have to say they can be a little pushy but after the life they have led who can blame them! Go for it and give them a happy retirement they deserve it.
I have had several ex- batts from Hen Rehomers. (www. henrehomers.net/www.freshstartforhens.)When you first get them they are the most pitiful sight and generally frightened. Give them a few days and a couple of weeks to settle in and they turn into the most beautiful plump girls who are really friendly. Great for kids and adults. The eggs are a bonus in giving these little ones a new life. My oldest ones are about 5 and still laying almost every day. I have a mixed group of hens including Light Sussex, Bluebells, Campines, Silkies but my ex batts are my favourites! If only they came in other colours too.. my advice is go for these girls first before you chose any others
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