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Hi all, 

I've adopted 2 ex battery hens from bhwt earlier this week. I'm on day 3 now and they've settled in really well, even had my first egg on day 2, none today though. Only thing is they won't let me handle them, the last time I picked them up was to transfer them from box to coop. They're happy and getting less nervy of me. But I'd like to be able to handle them if possible. Does anyone have any advice on how to go about getting them used to being handled? If possible at all. 

Many thanks in advance. Any tips are welcome, these are my first hens. 

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It depends on what you want to get out of handling them. Don’t expect them to come and cuddle up to you on day three. They have never been handled before by humans. Just get them comfortable around you. Spend some time with them talking and sitting

Oh and treats do work magic! The odd dried mealworm or few sunflower seeds will often entice them to get closer.

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They will never have been handled before, plus they will be overdosing on new sensations just now.  Give them time. And treats!  I find the best time to begin handling new hens is tonpick them out of the nest box for a cuddle in the late evening when they are sleepy and docile.  But give them time.  In six months they’ll likely be feisty and cheeky. 

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Late night cuddles work best when they are sleepy.   Give them a while to settle in first.  

Also get them used to the idea that you bring treats and they soon come running.    An egg cup full of corn late afternoon between the three of them would be plenty.   They'll soon learn to peck it from your hands and will eventually crouch when they see you making it easier to scoop them up for cuddle time. 

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As the others have said, handling them about an hour after they have gone to roost is best - they will be more biddable and relaxed. Try not to hurry things as they need space to adjust to a whole new spectrum of stimuli.

I get this question a lot on my courses, and one thing I suggest is minimal handling at first, especially if they are refeathering as those new quills are super-sensitive.

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