How to Introduce New Chickens to Flock
It’s not recommended that you present birds which are in a different stage of the development compared to birds in the flock. Thus, you would avoid adding chicks to a flock that’s comprised of layers that are mature, as an example. Not only will the younger birds be in danger of harm and even death from the aggression of the larger animals, but also they’ll be at greater risk of contracting infections, as they haven’t had the opportunity to develop immunity.
If a bird was pecked and has a bleeding wound, remove the bird immediately and maintain in a different run until the wound has healed completely. Chickens appear to love pecking at red wounds and it’s been known for a type of frenzy to come past a flock when one bird exhibits such a marker, which may even result in the poultry being pecked to death. (This is significantly more of an issue in commercial poultry farms, as the birds don’t have the space, distractions and concealing opportunities outlined above, but it’s still crucial for the permaculture gardener to keep a look out for wounds in their critters.)
Even if adding two birds, it’s a fantastic idea to make the introductions slowly. The best way to do it is to establish a temporary coop and run alongside that of the primary flock and maintain your new arrivals inside for anything from a few days to a few weeks. The two groups will have the ability to understand each other and get used to each other’s existence but are kept apart from having really contact to prevent bullying and injuries. For a few f birds, you can use an old crate as a temporary coop and put up a run with chicken wire beside the main run. This arrangement allows for the acclimatization of the birds to one another and also suggests that the established flock to not feel threatened that their land was invaded in quite the same way as though the new birds were simply put in the home coop from the beginning. Additionally, it functions as a sort of quarantine, so which it is possible to observe the new birds for any indication of disease before letting them mingle with your own flock.
However, introducing new birds into an current flock isn’t merely a matter of releasing them in the coop or conduct, and letting them get on with it. Chicken flocks do have a type of society, with hierarchies and territory. New birds will have to learn that the ‘pecking order’ and set their place in the hierarchy of their flock. Each bird in the flock has a position in the sequence of things in connection to the other birds. This arrangement is typically reinforced over food, together with the senior hens eating before permitting the more lowly birds in the food. It’s believed that this is a technique which has developed over the centuries to stop the birds fighting over food, the action of which may have brought predators into the flock. When you’re seeking to introduce new hens, there are numerous things you can do to lessen the effect of the new arrivals on bothering the pecking order.
Additionally it is recommended to avoid introducing one monster to the flock at once. This person will be the sole focus of the attentions of those established birds and may be marginalized and bullied. So always try to present at least a pair of birds at any 1 time. It’s even better if the two or more hens which you’re adding to the flock already know one another, possibly having grown up together or at least come from exactly the exact same breeding flock.
It’s possible to aid this diversion by adding things to the website, especially in the coop in which the birds are in closer proximity to one another. Simply tying up shiny objects, such as old CDs, provides the birds something to socialize with, piquing their curiosity, and thus occupying their attention.
Apart from a great deal of food and plentiful drinking water, providing the flock as much distance as possible can also help prevent conflicts with new arrivals. If possible, enable the cows to free range in your permaculture plot. This provides the new birds the chance to run away if they’re bullied, but also suggests that the birds that are established have more things to occupy them — such as searching for insects and scratching at beds — so turning their focus from the new birds.
Attempt to introduce birds which are of a similar size to those already in the flock. Even chickens of the same age can vary in size from little bantams to large fowl, and the smaller ones will be less able to stand up for themselves in the pecking order.
Given that a lot of the establishment and reinforcement of the flock’s hierarchy occurs around food, be certain that there’s plenty of food resources for the flock. If food is scarce, the more senior hens are more aggressive in asserting their claim to it, which is detrimental to newer chickens which are lower down the social scale.
Provide several areas where a new bird could hide if it’s getting bullied. If your flock is free ranging, the coop will frequently offer this escape, but adding things like crates or logs into the coop and the website as a whole, provides shelter for all those birds under attack.
A flock of chickens is something which will evolve and change over time. Nature will take its course, and the permaculture gardener will intervene as well — harvesting birds, relocating chicks, etc. A gardener maintaining a flock of cows will also have to replace chickens to guarantee a continuing supply of eggs, as a bird’s laying capacity will diminish with age. Or they might decide that they really adore keeping cows as cows and look to expand their flock, possibly so that they can increase egg production to be able to set up a booth in the neighborhood former’s market.