Integrating new flock members.

Betty (who we now know is a boy) looking happy in his new pen.
Chicken math hits you again, you’ve got a flock who get on as happy as Larry and now all hell breaks loose because you’ve added new members. The thought of sharing the coop with the newbies leaves your hens distraught. They have no other choice but to attack so here’s 6 steps to help your chooks become best friends…

  1. If you have brought them from a market or have any worries that your hens might be carting diseases quarantine them until you are sure they are fine (search a healthy hen in the blog post to know what a healthy hen looks like). 
  2. It’s always best to add birds that are the same age or the same size as you’re existing flock for instance a 4 week oldchick and a two year old hen might not go down well. 
  3. If you have birds that may be younger or smaller than your original chickens givethem a space only they can access for instance a shelter with a door only they can fit through, here they can relax and you can givethem food and water in this area incase they are scared to come out for the first day.
  4. Create a distraction such as hanging veg, giving them some chicken toys. (To find out more search hentertainment  for a blog on entertaining/distracting chickens).
  5. Add extra drinkers and feeders to the run so if the original chickens guard the food and water The newbies have a supply too.
  6. Some people suggest keeping them separate for a week in a run inside your original chickens run so they get used to each other although I’ve never tried this.

Don’t worry (he says as he checks them every five muinets) a peck and a kick is normal and will establish a pecking order. But if any of the flock are being really bullied spray them with anti pecking spray or use beak bits with the bully. These can be found in most country stores or on good old eBay. I hope this helps as it can be a very stressful time mixing birds. Thanks for reading 😊