How to Add New Chickens to your Flock without Stress
It's Spring (at the time of writing)!! A time of the year that you might be thinking of introducing new birds to your existing flock.
Your question may be "How can I add more chickens without it resulting in a bloodbath?"
This week, in AskPhill Video No 19, Phill gives his top tips to help make the process as painless and stress-free as possible for you and your flock.
Adding and introducing new chickens into an existing group can be a difficult time for your flock and could easily lead to the new birds being bullied and injured.
One of the best ways to introduce new birds is after dark. Once your girls are on their perches, quietly and slowly put the new hens into the chicken coop, placing them onto the perches.
When the sun comes up, all the chickens wake up together and, as they can’t count, they may not realise there are more birds to their flock. They will all exit the pop-hole and go about the important business of finding breakfast. Providing you have a placid flock; this is a simple and effective way to achieve integration.
If you have a particularly bossy hen running the pecking order in your coop, then you might want to try a different tactic. You could acclimatise the chickens by letting them see each other through the run mesh daily.
If you have a separate run, or small hen house, place it next to your existing one so they are all visible. After a few days, late one afternoon, just let them all run together.
Watch for bullying and check that the new birds roost that night with the flock. This is a good way to introduce birds, as the existing flock will be used to seeing the new hens.
PHILL'S FIVE TOP TIPS
- Introduce the new hens after dark so the existing hens don't see them as a threat. Once hens roost at night they become docile and dormant.
- Make sure that there are plenty of refuges for a new hen to hide in should it need to. A few cardboard boxes with an entrance hole cut out of each end make excellent temporary bolt holes which you can then remove and recycle.
- Increase the feeders and drinkers that you have in your run, so that your new hens will have access to food and water regardless of a bullying hen.
- Be sure to let your hens out early to avoid the new hens, and the existing flock, being confined in the house and to stop any sort of tussling that might occur.
- If you have a bully hen remove her from the flock for a few days. She will lose her place in the pecking order and be re-introduced lower down the ranking. The bully hen is the problem, not the hens being bullied, so remove the bully.
Following these few simple hints and tips means that introducing a new hen into your flock can be a simple and peaceful experience for you and your flock of girls.
For a more in-depth guide, visit our Blog - Introducing Chickens to their New Home.