Believe it or not, hens can get stressed too. A visit from a neighbour’s dog or a close shave with a fox can leave your girls extremely stressed and unsettled.
But there are some simple and natural remedies that you can use which will help to calm and settle them. Here are some of our top tips to help you calm your chickens as well as hope to see the signs of stress.
Recognising the signs of stress
Signs of stress can vary in degrees of seriousness, however, chickens exposed to long periods of stress can cause adverse effects in their day-to-day lives and can even lead to death if not helped. That’s why it’s important that you know what to look out for.
- Abnormal feathering
- Constant preening of feathers even in the absence of external parasites
- Increased aggression like feather pecking
- Aimless and restless pacing of birds that are housed on the floor
What can you do to help your hens beat stress?
Lavender isn’t just for humans you know, it can also have a calming effect on your hens too. It’s, in fact, a brilliant relaxant for your feathered friends so, if your hens are a bit highly strung, place some bundles of dried lavender into their nesting boxes – it’ll act as a bit of DIY aromatherapy and will also keep the hen house smelling lovely!
You can also try Nature’s Grub Fresh Nest Herbs, the natural oils in several of these herbs and flowers will help to deter mice but are also 100% bio-degradable, free from artificial scent, colours or preservatives, and are completely safe, edible, and non-toxic so there’s no worry if you hens take an extra liking to it!
Calming supplements can also be given to help your hens cope – Nature’s Grub Healthy Hen Herbs containing Chamomile and Lemon Balm help to relax your hens, Little Feed Co Peck Pourri that has a unique mix of dried herbs and flowers is made with marigold flowers, chamomile flowers, rosebuds, rosemary, mint, basil, cornflower petals to soothe or Global Herbs’ De-Stress which can be used in your hens’ drinking water.
Try the Radio
When loud noises are going on outside it can upset your hens and interrupt their zen. Whether it’s fireworks night or next door is having a party, having a radio on in the coop playing classical music or a talk show in the background can soothe your hens.
This works a night or during the day and it gives them a sense of security when they are used to hearing human voices around. It has been proven that hens are calmed by classical music even if it doesn’t mask the noise.
Make sure they have enrichment
It’s very important to acknowledge that boredom can also cause stress in your hens. If you are finding that they are getting annoyed or depressing this can lead to bad habits like hen pecking which will cause stress throughout your flock.
To combat this, try giving them some enrichment toys and treats which will lift their spirits. We’ve found that the Omlet Chicken Swing does wonders as well as hanging cabbages and CDs or different levels in the run to jump onto and perch also does the trick.