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How to Introduce New Chickens to Flock

Published November 29, 2018 in Uncategorized - 0Comments

A flock of chickens is one thing that can change and evolve over time. Nature will take its course, and the permaculture gardener will intervene as nicely – harvesting birds, relocating chicks, and so forth. A gardener holding a flock of chickens will even want to interchange chickens to make sure a continued provide of eggs, as a hen’s laying capability will diminish with age. Or they could resolve that they actually love holding chickens as livestock and look to increase their flock, maybe to allow them to improve egg manufacturing with a purpose to arrange a stall on the native former’s market.

Nonetheless, introducing new birds to an current flock shouldn’t be merely a matter of releasing them into the coop or run, and letting them get on with it. Hen flocks do have a form of society, with hierarchies and territory. New birds might want to study the ‘pecking order’ and set up their place within the hierarchy of the flock. Each hen within the flock has a place within the order of issues in relation to the opposite birds. This order is usually strengthened over meals, with the senior chickens consuming first earlier than permitting the extra lowly birds on the meals. It’s thought that this can be a method that has advanced over the centuries to cease the birds combating over meals, the exercise of which can have attracted predators to the flock. If you want to introduce new chickens, there are a number of issues you are able to do to attenuate the affect of the brand new arrivals on upsetting the pecking order.

Age
It isn’t really useful that you simply introduce birds which are at a distinct stage of their growth than the birds within the flock. So, you’d keep away from including chicks to a flock that’s comprised of mature layers, as an example. Not solely will the youthful birds be liable to harm and even demise from the aggression of the bigger animals, but in addition they are going to be at better danger of contracting infections, as they haven’t had the time to develop immunity.

Dimension
Attempt to introduce birds which are of an identical dimension to these already within the flock. Even chickens of the identical age can vary in dimension from small bantams to giant fowl, and the smaller ones can be much less in a position to arise for themselves within the pecking order.

Numbers
Additionally it is a good suggestion to keep away from introducing a single animal into the flock at one time. This particular person would be the sole focus of the attentions of the established birds and might be marginalized and bullied. So at all times attempt to introduce not less than a pair of birds at anybody time. It’s even higher if the 2 or extra chickens that you’re including to the flock already know one another, maybe having grown up collectively or not less than come from the identical breeding flock.

Separation
Even when including two birds, it’s a good suggestion to make the introductions slowly. One of the best ways to do that is to arrange a brief coop and run subsequent to that of the principle flock and hold your new arrivals in it for something from a number of days to a few weeks. The 2 teams will be capable to see one another and get used to one another’s presence however are saved other than having truly contact to keep away from bullying and accidents. For a pair f birds, you can use an outdated crate as a brief coop and arrange a run with rooster wire subsequent to the principle run. This association permits for the acclimatization of the birds to 1 one other and likewise signifies that the established flock to not really feel threatened that their territory has been invaded in fairly the identical approach as if the brand new birds had been merely positioned in the principle coop from the outset. It additionally serves as a type of quarantine, so to observe the brand new birds for any signal of illness earlier than letting them mingle together with your flock.

Abundance
On condition that a lot of the institution and reinforcement of the flock’s hierarchy occurs round meals, make it possible for there may be an abundance of meals sources for the flock. If meals is scarce, the extra senior chickens can be extra aggressive in asserting their declare to it, which might be dangerous to newer chickens which are decrease down the social scale. The identical goes for consuming water.

Area
Apart from a number of meals and plentiful consuming water, giving the flock as a lot house as attainable may assist stop conflicts with new arrivals. If attainable, permit the chickens to free vary in your permaculture plot. This offers the brand new birds the chance to run away if they’re bullied, but in addition signifies that the established birds have extra issues to occupy them – equivalent to trying to find bugs and scratching at beds – so turning their consideration from the brand new birds.

Distraction
You possibly can help this distraction by including gadgets to the positioning, notably within the coop the place the birds are in nearer proximity to 1 one other. Merely tying up shiny gadgets, equivalent to outdated CDs, offers the birds one thing to work together with, piquing their curiosity, and so occupying their consideration.

Hidingnew chickens to flock
Present a number of locations the place a brand new hen can conceal whether it is getting bullied. In case your flock is free ranging, the coop will usually present this retreat, however including issues like crates or logs to the coop and the positioning as a complete, gives shelter for these birds below assault.

Tip
If a hen has been pecked and has a bleeding wound, take away the hen instantly and hold in a separate run till the wound has healed utterly. Chickens appear to like pecking at crimson wounds and it has been identified for a form of frenzy to return over a flock when one hen shows such a mark, which may even result in the rooster being pecked to demise. (That is way more of an issue in industrial rooster farms, because the birds do not need the house, distractions and hiding alternatives outlined above, however it’s nonetheless vital for the permaculture gardener to maintain a watch out for wounds on their birds.)